Full Disclosure: I have had both an indoor cat and an outdoor cat.
While vacationing in British Columbia this fall, I read a good letter to the editor about cat owners who let their cats run free, thinking it’s good for the cat. A statistic jumped out at me, which I checked out.
More than 20 percent — so 1 of every 5 songbird death – is due to cats running free. American Wildlife Foundation scientists have been studying the drop in songbird population. Habitat destruction is a big reason but obviously cats are another. You read about the statistic of millions of bird deaths yearly due to cats (a 2010 U of Nebraska report estimated 480 million birds in the U.S. annually!) but I think the above factoid is easier to understand. There’s also the baby ducks, squirrels and rabbits they catch.
Reasons why to keep your cat indoors:
- Injury and getting nabbed by a predator (coyotes as well as cars).
- Friendly inside cats revert to its hereditary, predatory nature once they go out the door. And while that may seem ‘natural’ remember that, cats are not part of the natural predatory cycle. In more wild areas, bobcats nab an occasional bird but nothing like the damage cats do.
- To repeat, more than 20 percent — so 1 of every 5 songbird death – is due to cats running free
If you’re a cat owner, look at the resources below & consider the following:
- Cats not introduced to the outdoors don’t miss it. Keep them indoors from the start.
- Also, cats do fine on leashes, especially if started young. People who have leash-trained their cats, including my husband, report they go happily for walks just like a dog.
- If you really can’t make the decision to keep your current feline in, make a vow that any future cats you have will be indoor-only cats.
- More and more cities have laws where cats running free that can be traced to owners result in a fine. Do it on your own and regulation won’t be necessary.
- “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