Help Wildlife AND Domestic
This page updated frequently - please visit often!
Those of us who appreciate & care about wildlife and/or domestic
cats can help both ...by keeping cats inside or in enclosures.
Cats -- whether "owned" & well fed, free-roaming (living outside but fed by people; i.e., strays and cat colonies) or truly feral (unsupported by people) -- create a risk not only to birds, but other native species including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects .
Veterinarians and wildlife biologists dispel the myth that a well fed cat will not hunt...something that many of us have understandably believed at one time or another. For cats, hunting and eating are separate behaviors. In fact, well fed cats generally make better hunters, as they are in better condition and therefore are better athletes. Many of us have witnessed a cat turning away from a food dish to chase a critter.
Besides the real threat to wildlife, cats are themselves at risk from wildlife - including but not limited to raccoons, coyotes, mountain lions, skunks and dogs. Outdoor cats are also at risk from fleas, rabies, feline leukemia, animal abuse, being hit by vehicles and starvation. Many people build enclosures attached to the outside of their houses with a cat door so their cats can be in or out, but still safely confined.
Strays and cat colonies are also a serious problem. Cat colonies are groups of cats living outside, all too often on public lands, and fed at so-called "feeding stations " by well meaning but misguided people. These feeding stations also attract aggressive native species, including raccoons, skunks and corvids (jays, ravens, crows, magpies). The congregation of these aggressive and adaptable natives in turn puts undue pressure on less aggressive native species, which can result in local extirpation of some bird and other species. Further, animals such as raccoons and skunks are subject to density-dependent diseases including rabies - which also threatens humans, domestic pets and other native wildlife.
In addition to the already stated risks, these cats can create an additional threat to coyotes and mountain lions who are drawn to their colonies. Because feeding stations are usually near areas occupied or frequented by humans for ease of access, this can bring predators who are often perceived as a threat to humans into harm's way.
Wildlife are at increasing risk due to habitat loss - of which the presence of non native species (both flora and fauna) is one component.
Last but definitely not least ... is the moral aspect of how we treat and care for cats. Cats are genetically altered domestic animals who need and deserve our care & protection. We urge people to either keep their cats indoors or in outside structures that protect both them and native species. For more science-based information about cats & wildlife please visit the links below by clicking on the underlined text . (Above written by Georgia Stigall, Native Habitats)
For more information:
American Bird Conservancy & Cats Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats, was initiated by ABC to end the unnecessary suffering and death of birds and other wildlife caused by free-roaming domestic cats. Cats Indoors! seeks to educate cat owners, decision makers and the general public that free-roaming cats pose a significant risk to birds and other wildlife, suffer themselves, and pose a threat to human health.
U.S. Faces Growing Feral Cat Problem
Literature: The Most Comprehensive List of Studies concerning the Effect of Domestic Cats on Wildlife is a compilation of studies by biologist Ron Jurek. Please check with your local university library to obtain a copy. The study is "Jurek, R.M. 1994. A bibliography of feral, stray and free-ranging domestic cats in relation to wildlife conservation. California Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Management Division. 24p. "
And more references to be added soon - so please check here again!
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17287 Skyline Blvd #102, Woodside,
CA 94062-3780, U.S.A.
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