This morning my husband came inside after throwing seed on the ground for the wild birds and said it was a good thing I didn’t go down first…. A baby rabbit that we had been watching as it grew up in the cover of our slope was dead on the ground, uneaten, its head severed (sorry for the graphic description – but that’s what cats do.) It would be one thing if cats ate what the kill, but often they do not.
I like cats, and have had two cats who went outside, and yes, one brought back dead ‘presents.’ I now feel strongly that cats should be kept inside. I wrote on this back earlier (Save a Songbird: Keep Cats Inside), but here’s a quick review why:
- More than 20 percent — so 1 of every 5 songbird death – is due to cats running free. A 2010 U of Nebraska report estimated 480 million birds in the U.S. annually. There’s also the other prey, like the baby rabbits.
- While it may seem ‘natural’ to let cats outdoor, cats are not part of the natural predatory cycle.
- Keeping them inside also helps them avoid getting nabbed by foxes, coyotes as well as cars.
On a lighter side, here are some wildcam photos from the last few nights of our nighttime and early morning visitors. We know it was a cat because our wildcam from last nite shows 2 cats visiting the area, and we saw one stalking on the slope the last couple days. (Probably a good thing that I don’t have a photo of the kill.)
- “Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors” (Humane Society)
- How to Make Your Outdoor Cat an Indoor Cat (San Diego Natural History Museum)
- “Get the Facts about Cat Law” (American Bird Conservancy) – PDF
- Cats Indoors! Educator’s Guide K-6 (American Bird Conservancy) – PDF
- University of Nebraska Report (480 million birds killed anually) -PDF