Keep your cats inside!

So cute. So shnuggly. So lethal.: Jax, the mighty hunter, eyes some tasty birdies from his window perch.
So cute. So shnuggly. So lethal.: Jax, the mighty hunter, eyes some tasty birdies from his window perch.Courtesy Gene

As spring approaches (no, really, it is coming! You've got to believe!), house cats everywhere are sniffing at the fresh air coming in under the door, and are just itching to get outside. However, a politician in Boulder, Colorado is trying to pass a law that would require pet owners to keep their cats inside. It may sound funny – or like an unnecessary government intrusion into citizens’ lives—but outdoor cats are a big problem for wildlife. According to the American Bird Conservancy There are some 77 million house cats in America, and a similar number of feral cats. Each year, they kill hundreds of millions of birds, and perhaps a billion small mammals. Many of the prey species are threatened or endangered.

If you own a cat, keep it inside! Or invest in an enclosure so it can enjoy the outdoors without menacing the local wildlife.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Shirley Braverman's picture

Cats aren't killing the birds, we are. Cats can only kill birds that are frail and not going to make it to the next breeding season in a Darwinian fashion. They've been doing it for millions of years. We are killing the birds with our tall glass buildings, our electronic phone towers and our poisons to kill rats and loss of habitat. Do a bit of research and you'll discover the facts.

posted on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:36pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

While the things you mention are indeed bird hazards, the fact remains that cats kill perhaps 100 million birds a year. By no means are these only the sick and frail birds.

House cats are not native to North America. Introducing this predator into our ecosystem has had a devestating effect on our native songbirds.


(proud owner of two beautiful cats who, after "the robin incident," are only allowed outdoors in an enclosure)

posted on Tue, 04/01/2008 - 10:49am
nelson.robin's picture
nelson.robin says:

i have a cat and it is a house cat we dont force our cat to say in side thats what she wants to do. I dont think its right to make your cats stay in the house i mean its alot of animals that eat eachother and i dont see you trying to keep those animals pinned in the house all day so let cats be cats if they eat a bird oh well it was low enough to get caught lol......

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:52am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

People are responsible for their pets. If your dog digs up your neighbor's yard, or leaves "presents" on the lawn, or even bites somebody, it's your fault for not controlling them. Same with cats.

House pets are not part of the natural ecosystem. They are fed and cared for by humans. These cats are not killing birds and squirrels to survive; they are doing it out of instinct. It is up to the owners to manage the animals under their care so their pets do not damage the environment.

And what damage can cats do? Plenty! Birds and squirrels provide many important ecological services, such as spreading seeds and eating bugs. They also provide natural beauty and enjoyment.

So, if you own a pet, care for it responsibly so that we may all enjoy the great outdoors.

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 10:41am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I don't know about squirrels...
I mean, sure, I get some enjoyment out of watching anything eat from a trash can, but I don't know I'd go so far as to ascribe "natural beauty" to them.

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 10:58am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Come to Lansing and check out the black squirrels.

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 11:01am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I don't know. They kind of frighten me. Seriously.

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 11:49am
trevor brugman's picture
trevor brugman says:

my dads dog likes to chases squirrels in our yard at my house

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 12:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Who are we to boss the cats around? Go FREE cats, you are liberated from the bondage and slavery of your evil cat masters!!!!!

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 2:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Any cat owner can tell you who the REAL master of the cat-human relationship is! ;-) Actually, there is a theory that humans didn't domesticate cats; rather, cats domesticated themselves. Some even go so far as to say that cats domesticated us! With dogs, horses, cattle and a host of other creatures, humans saw that the animal could do us good, and so we tamed it. In the case of cats, it appears it was the other way around -- cats saw that these human creatures were a good source of food, and they trained us to take care of them.

That's certainly the case in my house...

posted on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 3:53pm
diamond2008's picture
diamond2008 says:

I agree I hate cats

posted on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 9:04am
jtaylor991's picture
jtaylor991 says:

i think that's just weird

and cats are my favorite animal for that reason

posted on Sat, 05/24/2008 - 10:07am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think this is good advice but let me tell you something...

Okay so cats are all meant to be wild any way. But people are taking them in as pets every day. God made cats wild. So it was meant for cats to kill these animals for food. My theory is that birds are becoming more and more so more are dying and thats okay.
I have a cat but the only reason i dont let him outside is because i dont want it to get lost.

posted on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 1:33pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Actually, the populations of many song birds are shrinking rapidly. Keeping cats indoors help protect these vulnerable species.

posted on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 2:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is very cute mmmmmmmmm

posted on Fri, 03/06/2009 - 4:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Shirley Braverman is exactly right. The bird species that are in decline are declining due overwhelmingly to habitat fragmentation and destruction. Predation is an issue, but it's a minor one compared to the issue of these birds not having anywhere either to nest or to find food. That's how the passenger pigeon was wiped out.

The bird conservancy groups have become fixated on cats as a PR strategy because the image of a cat with a bird in its mouth is one that stirs emotions, while the concept of habitat destruction is often too abstract to be comprehended by the general public. They will continue to insist that all this bird-killing is a "fact," even though at a recent conference of grad students in Fish & Wildlife at NCSU, the students all agreed that there were NO studies on this issue based on credible data.

In any event, focusing on cats without doing anything about habitat destruction is like trying to put a fresh coat of paint on a house that's in the process of burning down. It may feel productive, but it's ultimately pointless.

posted on Sun, 05/15/2011 - 4:05pm

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