Managing Outdoor Cats PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grant Sizemore   
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 09:25

A newly released study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has attracted media attention for its estimate of cat-caused wildlife mortality. In particular, birds and mammals are among the two hardest hit groups. The median estimate of deaths for birds and mammals combined each year in the United States as a result of outdoor cat predation is 14.7 billion individuals. This new estimate settles any argument as to whether or not outdoor cats impact native wildlife and demands from the public a serious look at how we can protect biodiversity from this introduced predator.

Please consider writing in support of responsibly managing outdoor cats, and urge cat owners to keep their cats indoors.

Key Points:

Outdoor cats kill 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually in the United States

Outdoor cats have been implicated in the extinction of 33 species

Outdoor cats are the #1 source of direct, human-caused bird mortality in the United States

Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs have been shown to be ineffective in reducing outdoor cat populations and do nothing to reduce predation pressure on local wildlife

Feral and free-ranging cats pose a health risk to humans and wildlife for their ability to transmit rabies, toxoplasmosis, and other diseases

Outdoor cats live traumatic and dangerous lives that average 3-5 times less than those of indoor cats; risks include being struck by cars, eaten by predators, and disease.


The only sure way to protect wildlife, cats, and people is for domestic cats to be permanently removed from the environment. TNR is a failed strategy being implemented across the United States without any consideration for environmental, human health, or animal welfare impacts and can no longer be tolerated. Local governments need to act swiftly and decisively to gather the 30-80 million un-owned cats, aggressively seek adoptions, and euthanize those cats that are not adoptable. Furthermore, pet cats should be spayed/neutered and kept indoors. For their own safety, owned cats need to be licensed and microchipped. Only through proper identification can lost cats be consistently returned to their homes, and no owners need worry about accidental adoption or euthanasia of their beloved companion. It is also time to treat cat owners like we treat dog owners by enforcing anti-abandonment laws and requiring leashes or enclosures for cats outdoors. Lastly, society needs to recognize that excellent pets in need of good homes may be found at local animal shelters and rescue organizations.

American Bird Conservancy Press Release:
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