by Candi Phillips
Yesterday I was horrified to see a cat under the birdfeeder. I immediately sent out the dogs that gave chase and barked as the cat went over the fence, but wondered if the baby cardinals had truly fledged or had fallen victim to this beautiful predator. The winter 2002-2003 newsletter of the Kindness Club in Canada contained good information about protecting wildlife from cats.
“Roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and small mammals such as rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and shrews in North America every year. While one cat may not cause much harm, there are millions of roaming cats that kill not only the plentiful animals, but also rare and endangered species. Some species are so rare that the loss of even one animal or bird is significant.
“If you believe your well-fed cat is not a danger to wildlife, you should know that even well-fed cats will hunt. While they may not eat their prey, they do enjoy hunting and killing! Will putting one or two bells on your cat’s collar scare birds and animals away from your cat? Not always! Wildlife does not necessarily associate bells with danger and your kitty will learn to stalk without the bells jingling! What happens if you interrupt an attack by a cat allowing the prey to escape? Usually the bird of animal is injured and dies later or it dies of shock…The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is promoting their “Cats Indoors!” campaign. The only way to prevent domestic cats from killing wildlife is to keep your cat indoors, or if outdoors, in a pen or on a harness attached to a leash. Let’s all try to keep our cats safe from harm and from harming wildlife…”