Published: Jul 06, 2008 12:27 PM
Modified: Jul 06, 2008 12:27 PM
My wife and I play a game of cat and mouse.
I believe our two cats belong inside the house. She thinks it's only natural for them to go outside, and she lets them out wearing neoprene collar-attached shields. Such reduce, but don't eliminate, cat predation.
Cats are natural hunters. They kill an estimated 1 million songbirds and several million small mammals per day in the U.S. Studies show that the average cat kills between 35 and 50 birds and mammals a year even when it's fed a complete diet by human housemates.
At the same time, cats are not really "natural" predators in the United States because they are not native to North America, and their population doesn't decline even when the prey population becomes extinct. That's not natural.
I am okay with our cats eradicating the mice within our house -- even the squirrels in our attic -- but hunting outside is not acceptable. It puts our kitties at risk of injury from cars, dogs, other cats, fox, coyotes and from diseases like rabies, heartworm, tick diseases, west Nile virus and parasites. They may also return pregnant if they haven't been neutered. At the same time it reduces the numbers of wildlife in our back yard.
Piedmont Wildlife Center spends more than 20 percent of its time and human resources on injured animals directly injured by cats. Those are the ones "lucky" enough to survive a cat attack. Most die before getting to a rehabilitator.
It's your choice to let your cat out or keep it in and if you need encouragement, feel free to call Piedmont Wildlife Center for support in keeping your cats in.
And if you do decide to let them out, feel free to call Piedmont Wildlife Center when your cat brings you an injured wild animal. Call (919) 572-9453.
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