Birds Love Indoor Cats!
Written by Daniel V.
Photographer Jak Wonderly’s photo “Caught by Cats” created quite a stir in 2020. Pictured are 232 dead animals that were all killed by house cats. In the United States, cats kill about 2 billion birds and 12 billion mammals annually. Of all bird deaths across the US, about three-quarters are linked to cats. In Australia, cats kill an estimated 230 million birds, reptiles, and mammals a year. The feral cat population there has posed such a threat to native species that, from 2015 to 2018, 844,000 cats were culled in an effort to protect native wildlife.
Clearly, pet owners—cat guardians in particular—have an important role to play in the environment. Indoor/outdoor and outdoor-only cats kill more animals each year than aircraft and birds flying into windows combined.
Many cat owners have very strong opinions about the indoor versus outdoor debate. We at Town Cats encourage cat guardians everywhere to keep their cats indoors and to harness train as an alternative to free-roaming. Not only will this help preserve our bird populations, but it will also protect the cats themselves. Data show that, on average, indoor-only cats live longer, healthier lives than their free-roaming counterparts.
Reflecting on his startling photo, Wonderly writes, “It was a challenge to envision something somber, dignified, truthful, and not causing revulsion. . . . I hope this photograph will encourage dialog about how our choices impact the animals around us.”
Edited by Rena Henderson