For many people, cats are the perfect pet. Yet among cat owners there is also a great debate – should my cat be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? For anyone interested in protecting wildlife, HOUSE domestic cats indoors.
An outdoor pet cat is an invasive species. It may seem weird to think about it that way, but essentially a domestic cat is not native to the environment in which you live. Anytime a nonnative species is introduced to an ecosystem, there is the potential for disruption to the native environment. In the United States, domestic cats kill 2.4 billion birds every year. You did not read that number wrong: they kill BILLIONS of birds. Studies have shown that outdoor cats are the number one cause of bird deaths by humans. Cats threaten and kill other wildlife as well. In addition, they disrupt ecosystems and spread disease.
The American Bird Conservancy’s Cats Indoors program is a science-based movement to “build a future that is better for cats, better for birds, and better for people.” It also has information for cat owners about creating spaces indoors that are stimulating and fun for the cat. For those transitioning outdoor cats to indoors, try putting a bell on a cat’s collar so wildlife is alerted to their presence. If you have an outdoor cat, bring it in. And if you have friend with an outdoor cat, help them to understand the effects to wildlife and ecosystems because it’s #YourPlanetToo.