There’s a colony of cats outside my building. Neighbours want them culled. I’m against this. It’s not their fault. An unneutered male got an unspayed female pregnant. Now there are four little black kittens and a black mother, about six months old. Black cats are the hardest to place.
Letting indoor cats out has consequences, many unknown to those who let their cats roam. In Guelph, hundreds sit on stoops, wander streets, cross streets. Some without name tags, some declawed so they can’t defend themselves against other cats, dogs or predatory wildlife, some without inoculation against fatal diseases (feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, rabies, distemper).
Outdoor cats get hit by cars, suffer severe weather conditions, get lost, stolen, trapped, poisoned dehydrate or starve. Those who aren’t spayed or neutered contribute to overpopulation.
Many stray and feral cats will never find homes, ending their days on death row or dying in some other disastrous way. Think of it, the average cat can give birth twice annually with litters of up to six; kittens as young as six months can get pregnant. No wonder there’s overpopulation.
Preventing overpopulation isn’t the only reason to keep domestic cats indoors. Outdoor domestic and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds every year. A report by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI-Canada) found one million birds are killed daily by outdoor cats.
Scientific studies indicate that Canada’s 5 to 6 million house cats kill 300 million small mammals annually; the average outdoor cat can kill up to 50 every year. According to Nature Canada, declawing and bells on collars will not prevent them from killing.
It’s reasonable to ask people to keep their cats in doors. It’s the kindest and most responsible thing to do.