Keeping Cats & Birds Safe
Being a responsible cat owner is an important part of being a good neighbor. It keeps your cat safe, helps reduce the number of unowned cats in our community, and it’s better for the environment. Responsible cat ownership involves giving your cat the food, water, shelter and veterinary care your cat needs, as well as:
• permanent identification (microchip or tattoo)
• spaying or neutering your cat
• keeping your cat from roaming unsupervised
• never abandoning a cat
Some cat owners let their cat outdoors to roam on their own. But outside is a very dangerous place! Just like dogs, cats need supervision to be protected from traffic, other cats and animals, toxins and poisons, and the many diseases and parasites they can catch, not to mention getting lost. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and other cat-care organizations urge cat-owners to keep their cats from roaming unsupervised. Diseases affecting outdoor cats include feline leukemia, FIV and distemper, among others. Parasites include fleas, ticks, earmites and intestinal worms. Many toxins, such as antifreeze and rat poison, taste good to cats, and they can be poisoned if they simply drink from a puddle. Add the threats of stray dogs, raccoons, coyotes and cars, and the outdoors can be a recipe for kitty disaster! When you allow your cat to roam off your property, you also risk creating conflict with your neighbours, who may not appreciate having their garden used as a litter box! There is a large population of unowned cats in Canada, and pet cats can contribute to that population, either through getting lost, or sexual interaction. As a community, we need to stop creating more unowned cats: please make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, and keep it from roaming unsupervised and getting lost. Yet another reason to keep your cats from roaming is to stop them from hunting birds and wildlife. Canada’s bird populations are already under enormous stress from the impacts of climate change and habitat loss, and it’s important that we do everything we can to help them, including protecting them from our beloved pets.
Some people insist that it’s important to let their cat roam outdoors because it’s natural for the cat. The problem with that argument is that cats are pets, not wildlife. What’s natural for the cats needs to be balanced with the needs of the rest of nature. Domestic cats are fed and cared for, giving them an enormous advantage over birds and wildlife.
The good news is that with a little effort on your part, your cat can have everything they needs to be safe, happy and fulfilled, without having to face the dangers of the outdoors alone.
Here are some links to resources on how to Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives:
Safe Outdoor Options
(How to provide safe outdoor access for your cat)
Safe, Happy Cat
(How to provide a sufficiently stimulating indoor environment)
Tips for Transitioning
(How to retrain an outdoor cat to be a happy indoor cat)
Dealing with Escape Artists
(Help for cat-owners whose cats constantly try to escape)
Learn other ways you can help cats here:
Learn other ways you can help birds here: http://birdscanada.org/education/tophelp.jsp