Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ENV: Lions, Tigers and Feral Cats Oh My

Birds and Cats - The Cats Indoors! Campaign

The Problem
There are more than 90 million pet cats in the U.S., the majority of which roam outside at least part of the time. In addition, millions of stray and feral cats roam our cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Scientists estimate that free-roaming cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians each year. Cat predation is an added stress to wildlife populations already struggling to survive habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and other human impacts (see: Domestic Cat Predation On Birds And Other Wildlife). Free-roaming cats are also exposed to injury, disease, parasites, getting hit by cars, or becoming lost, stolen, or poisoned. Millions of domestic cats are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes for them. Cats can also transmit diseases and parasites such as rabies, cat-scratch fever, and toxoplasmosis to other cats, wildlife or people.

The Solution
In 1997, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) launched the Cats Indoors! Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats to educate cat owners, decision makers, and the general public that cats, wildlife and people all benefit when cats are kept indoors, in an outdoor enclosure, or trained to go outside on a harness and leash. ABC developed many education materials, including fact sheets, posters, the popular brochure, Keeping Cats Indoors Isn’t Just For The Birds, an Educator’s Guide for Grades K-6, print and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs), and more. Visit our download page for the complete list of materials.

What You Can Do
Join thousands of supporters and conduct a Cats Indoors! education campaign in your community using the materials ABC has developed. Involve conservation groups, humane societies, veterinarians, animal control agencies, county and state parks and wildlife agencies in the effort (see: Conducting A Cats Indoors! Campaign In Your Community).

For information on converting your outdoor cats to indoor cats, see the fact sheet: How to Make Your Outdoor Cat a Happy Indoor Cat. Also spay or neuter your cats before they can produce an un-wanted litter, and never abandon cats you cannot care for. Instead, find them a new home or take them to an animal shelter where they can be adopted. For a directory of humane societies and animal shelters near you, see the National Shelter Directory.

Contact your local media and ask them to run the print and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
Sponsor a children’s poster competition for National Keep Your Cat Indoors Day held every year on the second Saturday in May in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day. For a sample announcement and guidelines, click here.
Work for cat control ordinances in your city or county. See Get the Facts About Cat Laws and City of Aurora, Colorado Cat Restraint Law)
Link your organization’s web site to ours
Run an article on the issue in your organization’s newsletter.
Ask your state wildlife agency to adopt the Campaign and distribute materials.

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