Research from the University of Georgia:
Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens [Georgia] (44%) hunt wildlife and that reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. Carolina anoles (small lizards) were the most common prey species followed by Woodland Voles (small mammals). Only one of the vertebrates captured was a non-native species (a House Mouse). Eighty-five percent of wildlife captures were witnessed during the warm season (March-November in the southern US). Cats roaming during warmer seasons were more likely to exhibit hunting behavior and the number of captures per hunting cat is expected to decrease with increasing cat age. Cat age, sex, and time spent outside did not significantly influence hunting behavior.Patrick Burns has some comments.
If you have decided that your cat is entitled to behave like a wild animal, don't be surprised if your cat's life ends like that of a wild animal -- dead from vehicle impact, bullet, trap, poison, or a mauling from a dog or coyote.Somehow the cat issue ends up connected to the whole "free-range kid" movement too.
Um, there may be some differences between cats and children, at least with time.