Outdoor cats threaten birds and other wildlife and disrupt ecosystems, according to the American Bird Conservancy, the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist. Outdoor domestic cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 species of birds, mammals and reptiles in the wild. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UCN) lists domestic cats as one of the world’s primary and worst non-native invasive species.
According to a National Audubon Society article, a new study estimates that 3.7 billion birds are killed by outdoor cats in the U.S. every year. Studies show that even well-fed cats will hunt and kill outdoors. The mere presence of a cat in an outdoor area will even reduce successful bird nesting and chick health.
Trap, Neuter, and Release programs, according to the American Bird Conservancy, are not an effective tool to reduce feral cat populations because it’s impossible to spay and neuter all the cats, and releasing the cats back into their wild environment perpetuates wildlife predation, disease transmission and property destruction. Outdoor cats suffer a higher incidence of injury, parasites, and disease than indoor cats, some which can be spread to people.
Those who think cats must run loose should consider the damage done by outdoor cats. As well as killing birds and other wildlife, outdoor cats can become pests as they spray and defecate around the neighborhood to mark territory, jump on neighbors’ porch furniture, and irritate indoor animals behind the windows of their homes as the roaming cat wanders by.
Cat owners, please do your cat a favor and keep them indoors and away from predators, diseases, cars, hostile outdoor animals, and neighbor's property. Make your indoors a stimulating and rewarding environment that will satiate your cat’s hunting urge. Urge your local animal control to update covenants by requiring cats to be kept indoors.