A new study provides additional conclusive, and perhaps more compelling, evidence that cats must be kept indoors.
What many of us have suspected is now confirmed: outdoor cats kill billions of animals each year. Free-ranging domestic cats kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and between 7 and 20 billion mammals each year.
Free-ranging cats includes owned domesticated animals, allowed to come and go as they please, and feral animals.
People who sincerely care about their cats, make every effort to keep them inside. True, cats retain a lot more of their wild instincts than dogs, but the outside world is not safe for cats.
Cats allowed to roam freely outside have shorter lifespans and are exposed to all kinds of dangers from car accidents, to feline leukemia, ticks, fleas, and injury from fighting other cats. Outdoor cats have neither a good life nor a long life.
This new study indicates that free-ranging cats cause surprisingly more wildlife deaths that anyone realized. According to this research, they are the “single greatest source of anthropogenic [associated with human activity] mortality for US birds and mammals.”
A radical New Zealand environmental advocate, Gareth Morgan, has launched an anti-feline campaign banning cats to preserve that country’s wildlife, particularly birds, which flourished for thousands of years without predators until humans introduced predators such as cats, dogs, and rats.
Morgan’s strategy is short-sighted, unpopular, and unwise. “While we are sympathetic to the emotions that may motivate some individuals to eradicate one species in order to protect another, we feel that this approach is a hasty one, and that it may result in unforeseen negative effects on the ecosystem that people with good intentions are trying to protect,” confirmed Bruce Kornreich, the Feline Health Center, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Of the nearly 90 million domesticated cats living in American homes, nearly 40 million spend some or all of their entire time outdoors, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Because cats are extremely prolific, no one knows how many unowned cats live in America.
Free-ranging, feral or not, cats are domesticated animals, and people are responsible for them. People are morally obligated to do what’s best for cats and for the environment in which they live.
The best place for cats is indoors. Indoors is best for the cats, best for the humans with whom they live, and best for the birds and small mammals in their neighborhoods.
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