Keeping Cats Indoors

Domestic cat eating a bird. Image credit: dr_relling https://flic.kr/p/6jhn99
Domestic cat eating a bird. Image credit: dr_relling https://flic.kr/p/6jhn99

Please, keep cats indoors! A recently published article, Cat owners underestimate ecological damage done by pets, finds that many cat owners are unaware of the negative effects their domesticated pets can have on the environment.  Outdoor cats (pets, strays, and ferals) are decimating our wildlife populations worldwide: Cats Kill Billions of Small Critters Each Year.

Allowing our cats to remain and roam outdoors is one of the leading human-caused factors of wildlife declines and mortalities worldwide, right up there with habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and window/vehicular collisions. Free-roaming cats have also contributed to the extinction of several native wildlife species on islands: One of the World’s Biggest Extinction Crises is Being Caused by Cats, The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States. Just as we have a responsibility to properly care for and manage our domestic animals, we also have a responsibility to protect, conserve, and manage our wildlife species.

Birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, whether endangered, threatened, or of least concern, are commonly captured, toyed with, and killed or left to die by our domestic cats, which are a non-native, invasive predatory species found globally. The native predators can also suffer when competing with cats for their natural prey resources.  Cats are efficient predators and hunting is a natural instinct, whether or not they are killing for food. Even well-fed cats will hunt. Unfortunately, outdoor cats are also subjected to many dangers, predation by other species being one of them: NC State study finds coyotes help limit carnage from cats.

Bottom line: Cats need to be kept indoors- it’s safer for them, for wildlife, for the environment, and for people!

Resources for a happy and healthy indoor cat:

  1. American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoors Campaign  
  2. Learn How to Build a Catio for keeping your cats safe while still allowing them to enjoy the outdoors
  3. Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash, yes it can be done!
  4. 9 Secrets to Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy
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