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Cats Kill Birds - Should We Keep Cats Indoors?
It is estimated cats kill hundreds of millions of birds each year in the
U.S. If you love your cat and you love your backyard birds,
then don't mix the two. Keep your cats indoors or supervise their outings. They will live longer, healthier
lives and so will the birds!
Make sure to install feeders where cats don't have easy access
to them. Because even if you keep your cats inside, there's always the
neighbors & other strays looking to play predator-prey.
I have the photo of my cat below sitting in a planter of grass inside, but I
do allow her to go outside too. We plant the grass
during the winter to let her graze on when she wants and during the summer
months, I let her out to graze on the backyard lawn, but only when supervised. She
sitting out in the sun, eating her grass and I do not want to deny her this - but she's never out of my sight.
She also wears a harness with bells. My neighbor's are on their
third cat now. Why? Because the other two were free to roam wherever and
whenever they like. One came home injured and later died, the other disappeared.
We highly recommend
visiting The American Bird Conservancy page about the
Cats Indoors! Campaign to
increase awareness of the problem.
commonly have a life expectancy of fewer than 5 years, while indoor cats is up
to 17 years.
Your outdoor cat is
more susceptible to life-threatening diseases from other cats and animals, ticks and other parasites. They
can become lost or get hit by a car (over 1 million cats are killed by autos
annually), become injured in fights or poisoned.
Indoor cats don't
have this kind of stress on their health. Indoor cats can be happier, healthier and
longer-lived which should make cat-owners happier too! Just remember to give
your indoor cat plenty of exercise with toys. We play "chase- the-string"
everyday...that's good for both of us!
Why Cats Should Be Allowed To Roam Free As Quoted By Cat Lovers
Attention all cat lovers and all defenders of wild and free cats that have
contacted me after reading this page. I have heard
your arguments. Some valid, some not so valid. But to be fair, I am
posting your arguments for why cats should be left to roam free and wild outside
here. This way you know that I know what you know. :) I have left them
anonymous, but if you want your name posted, just let me know. Just FYI, the
data on this page is from the Cats Indoors Campaign, not from my personal
insights or guesstimates.
People Kill More Birds Than Cats
"Your recommendations to put bells on outside cats is dangerous and
cruel. An outdoor cat with a bell cannot evade predators such as coyotes. The
fact is that people kill far more birds than cats ever could, with pollution and
destroying their habitat, so let's put the blame where it belongs." //So since
everyone else is killing birds, it really doesn't matter that our cats do too.//
Keeping Cats Indoors is Cruel - Comparable to Jail!
"This article you write recommending that cats are kept indoors, actually
made me angry. First. I put my hummingbird feeders where my cats cannot reach
them. That is just common sense." //Common sense is not so common, that's why
cat's do kill birds at bird feeders.//
"Life expectancy info for outdoor cats is WRONG.
I have had indoor/outdoor cats for more then 30 years. They have lived anywhere
from 19 years up to 23 years.
Outdoor cats are much happier then indoor cats. It is against their innate
nature to be kept indoors 24/7. It is comparable to jail... do you not know
anything about the mental, emotional, physical needs of cats?
I live in
the country, and have NEVER had one of my cats hit by a car. I see that they
receive good veterinary care; I have a cat door, and they come and go as they
please. My sister lives in a condo in city, and aside from brief visits on
porch, they are kept indoors and her cats are sick off and on (one of her
beloved cats just died from urinary problems.)"
Cars Kill More Birds Than Cats
"Highly disagree with your cat indoor policy. Heck, if we all went to
jail, (even a really nice jail) no more murder...in fact, no more crime, no more
traffic fatalities, industrial accidents, or natural caused fatalities! well,
you get my drift.
I am an avid bird watcher and photographer of all sorts of wildlife, and I also
have 4 cats and a dog which I love as much as the wild animals I spend so much
time around. My domestic animals will never be locked inside! And by the way
they will live and have ALWAYS lived more than 5 years.
What do you mean by
outside cat? A city feral cat might live 5 years but you do an injustice to
yourself and your readers to even hint that a spayed and vaccinated cat that is
non feral will only live 5 years if let outside. I have had at least one cat of
one type or another for 40 years and I have never had a cat live less than 14
years and ALL HAVE BEEN LET OUTSIDE DAILY!
This type of obvious untruth Makes
everything else you say suspicious and lacking in credibility." //The data I
quoted on life expectancy is from the Cats Indoors program, not just a
guesstimate. You are a sample size of 1 - not statistically significant// "My daughter
tried an 'indoor cat' and by the time it was 4 years old it was crazy as a loon
and after $1,500 had to be put down with the vet saying that 'some cats were not
meant to be inside all the time.'" //You can't just leave a cat indoors and give
it no attention.//
By the way, got any statistics on how many birds are killed by cars every year?
Add that to the 50,000 human deaths and 250,000 serious injuries caused by
automobiles every year and maybe you should be trying to get us all to be
"indoor only Humans!
Well, there is my rant. Got here looking for bird feeder plans but your Cat
drive got me all riled up."
If Cats Should Be Kept Indoors, So Should Children
"Children bring home diseases from other kids at school. Children get hit by cars, are attacked by animals and insects, get poison oak/ivy, fall down, break bones, are abducted, etc. All children should be kept indoors at
all times and never let outside, for their own safety. If let outside, they should be leashed 100% of the time. This will also cut down on vandalism, bullying, murder and other nasties perpetrated by children."
I Feel the Same as an Indoor Cat Because My Hubby Has Our Car All Day and
I'm Locked Up
"I adopted my cat from PetSmart. When I first got him he was starving and
skinny seriously to the point he was just bones and fur but since he's been with
me I've been monitoring his health and he has everything he could ever
want. Since I live in an apartment I made him an indoor kitty, he hasn't been
out once since I got him except for our patio and he just has that longing look
all the time to get out.
Honestly I don't believe a cat should EVER be declawed. For one it really hurts
them. Two even if they're indoor cats they do still have an instinct and can
choose to escape anytime and his claws are his weapons. Three cats are natural
hunters they should be able to hunt it's not fair of us to suppress those urges
There's nothing wrong with outdoor cats."//=It's okay if they kill wild birds.//
"I'm a stay at home mom and my hubby has the car for his work and I seriously
feel like I'm locked up until he comes home then I get the car and have my
freedom and I can only imagine that those
cats feel the same way." - Arie
Cat Owners, Defender of Keeping Cats Indoors or Restricted
"I'm sorry- but I live with 5 feral, spayed cats in the area. If I let my
house cats out, there would be fur flying! Also, two of those outside cats sit
under the bird feeder or the birdbath and just wait for the birds to land. Yes,
I have often seen them take birds. We haven't seen a Northern Flicker or a
Towhee in months- both are ground feeding birds. We used to have them, but not
since the cats showed up!
Cats will hunt, even if well fed. They're great around barns and storage
areas where mice are a problem, but I don't need them hunting the birds and
using my mulch as a bathroom."
Maybe - Personal Choice for Cats Indoors/Cats Outdoors
"It's a personal choice...all of my cats over the years have been strictly
indoors and lived long happy lives...they are spoiled with all the attention
they could have ever wanted and places to sit in the sun ...my cats whenever
they have "escaped" have panicked and come right back inside...it's all they
have ever known.
Feral cats, stray dogs, raccoons, coyotes etc. are all a grave danger to pets
(including dogs) and quite frankly I would never put a beloved pet in that kind
Feral cats are part of the ecosystem meaning that as much as we might not like
it...predators of mice, rats, and birds...
Domesticated cats are NOT part of the ecosystem and only hunt because of the
innate instinct built in to their evolutionary past...you can take the cat out
of the hunt but not the hunt out of the cat.
I grew up on a farm...our farm cats were indoor outdoor and kept the rodent
population in check very well...we did however have a couple that were indoor
only...they were the ones that lived the longest healthiest lives...the
indoor/outdoor cats were constantly @ the vets for one ailment/injury or another
and generally died at much younger ages and sometime rather brutally at the
hands of other wild critters or cars.
Some of the folks who have posted rebuttals to your articles are just plain rude
and based on their reactions have taken what you posted as personal attacks on
their way of doing things...again it goes back to personal choice for your
mine stay indoors...safe and happy. my choice, period.
I also have dogs who are NEVER outdoors without my wife or i present. They are
my responsibility much in the same way a child would be. That's all i got !
-Steve (Fayetteville, NC)
Cats Indoors or Outdoors: It Depends on Where You Live
"I use to live at the Grand Canyon Village and had two cats of which I never let
outside. That was just because I lived in a location where outside cats became
part of the food chain. If you had an outside cat for more than 5 years you were
lucky and that cat was smart.
My indoor cats were leashed trained and walked daily, they were allowed to have
monitored playtime outside. I would bring in outside things like snow, and pine
needles for them to play with. They loved this and one cat looked forward to the
snow in the tub.
The argument for cats being in door, or outdoor, depends on the location of the
cat. We (humans) can affect the environment in which we live in. Cats cannot and
just adapt to their environment.
I now live in a location where they will be let our during the day for a few
hours, but made to come inside as dusk approaches. This is to reduce their
likelihood of disturbing the wildlife feeding time, and to keep them from
joining the food chain. (Not as many mountain lions here as the Canyon)." -
Keep Cats Indoors or Restricted
"I not only dislike having my bird feeders turned into a buffet for the
neighborhood cats, I also have to protect my dog from them. I've had a very nice
Doberman blinded by a cat who had no business in our yard where the dog
belonged. I also hate having my black car covered with cat foot prints which
will etch the paint in time.
Cats should be just as restricted as dogs, my dogs are only allowed outdoors on
my property or on a leash as all times, so why should cats be different?"
Allow Cats & Dogs Outdoors, But Only When Supervised or
"I think you were very reasonable and fair to let the "cat defenders" post
their comments. But I have to add my two cents in as this is an issue I care
very much about.
There is no logic in the statements from the "cat defenders". I have very
happy and healthy cats AND dogs AND I love to observe wild birds. I never leave
my pets out unsupervised. If they don't come when called, and are therefore not
under my control, then they get put on leash or in a run.
Why would anyone want their animals bothering neighbors by pooping in their
garden, walking on their cars, fighting with their animals, barking or killing
wildlife? And why would anyone want to put their beloved pets in danger of being
hit by a car, poisoned by the neighborhoods bully, mauled and eaten by a
cougar...It's simply not responsible. And to argue that there are other human
caused factors affecting bird populations is not a reasonable excuse to then
create another issue by letting cats add to the challenges facing wild bird
Training Cats Not to Catch Birds
"Hello, I just came across this website and would like to share my
experience. I have 2 kitties who are allowed both indoors and outdoors. Prior to
me and one of my cats moving to our current location, this particular kitty was
an avid catcher of birds; almost every day.
Being an animal lover of all animals, I surely felt sad for the birds, and
also wanted my kitty to be able to go outdoors as well.
I have trained various animals ever since I was a kid; I grew up with all kinds
of animals and trained the 2 kitties we had then to get along with my Dad's pet
mice! Later on, I trained 2 different cats to get along with a baby bird I
I then decided to create a program to teach my kitty "Lucy" to not catch birds.
I created my own program for her, and worked with her over a span of about 6
months. After that I kept reinforcing her new behavior. The next several months
she caught 2 birds, then none. My kitty did indeed learn through consistent
kind training to LEAVE BIRDS ALONE! She has had an amazing "BIRD-FREE" for
several years now.
When we moved to our current location, I worked with Lucy to make sure that she
continued to not catch or bother birds in our new location; (we are in the
country now, plenty of birds around!) She has maintained her excellent record of
not catching any birds for several years now!
At the time I was teaching her, several people told me: "Oh you can't teach a
cat to not catch birds...it's just their nature to do so." I did not, and do not
believe this, and Lucy is proof that it can be done! A cat CAN be taught to not
Recently we adopted another kitty, Andrew, and he too went through bird
training, and has successfully learned to leave birds alone.
Both Lucy and Andrew go outside during the day, and stay in at night, and I am
so grateful that the birds can share and feel safe in our yard.
Thank you for letting me share my experience." -Ann
You Think Your Cats are "Bird Free"?
"No offence, Ann...but unless you are with your cats every minute they are
outdoors, I think you are probably mistaken about their never killing birds; YOU
just aren't there when it happens.
If, on the other hand, you ARE with your cats every second they are
outdoors...you've got too much time on your hands.
Your cats may be behaving while in your backyard....but do you honestly follow
them everywhere else? You must be good a jumping fences!" - Michael
If you got something to say about keeping cats indoors or not, use our
contact form below and we'll put it up. Just keep it clean for our family