Now that we live in a society whose cultural output is dominated by videos of kittens, people's gut reaction to cats is largely "Aaaawwwww." That makes it easy to forget that every cat on Earth is a nearly perfect machine built for the sole purpose of murdering small animals
. Every now and again, we get a reminder of the fact, and the latest one is an estimate published in the journal Nature Communications this week suggesting that domestic cats in the United States are responsible for the deaths of 3.7 billion birds and more than 20 billion small mammals every year
. Doing that math, it appears that literally every second your beloved pet is not in you lap, it is snuffing out tiny lives with mind-boggling efficiency.