By now—just about 72 hours after the story broke—it’s probably more difficult to find people who haven’t heard about the Smithsonian study claiming “that free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually”  than it is to find people who’ve heard the news somewhere—the New York Times, the BBC, NPR’s All Things Considered, or any number of other media outlets.
Very few scientific papers receive the kind of press coverage that’s been given “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States,” published in the online journal Nature Communications. Then again, very few studies make the kinds of claims made by the paper’s authors—claims the media has accepted without the slightest bit of scrutiny. Which is, unfortunately, to be expected.
And, I suspect, exactly what these researchers intended. Though they describe their work as a “data-driven systematic review,”  it’s difficult not to see it as part of a concerted effort to undermine TNR. Read more