The number of songbirds killed by cats each year is significant. This problem will worsen if left unchecked. Even well fed domestic house cats when left outside will kill birds. Cats hunt out of instinct even when not hungry. Even de-clawed cats are effective hunters and it is widely know that a bell on a cat's collar is no deterrent.
Consider this: it is typical for a domestic female cat which is kept indoors to become sexual mature at five to nine months of age. A free roaming cat can become sexually active much sooner than that. Cats from the same litter can mate and female cats, especially in milder climates, can become pregnant any time of year. The average gestation period of a cat is under 70 days and the litter size ranges from three to six (or more) kittens. It is not uncommon for cats to go back into heat one to two months after giving birth - some sooner. Cats can have up to five litters per year. This would give just one female cat the potential to have 15 to 30 kittens (or more) per year. The cycle starts over again when these kittens become sexually mature in five to nine months. You do the math...
There are an estimated 60 million or more pet cats in the United States (this does not include the millions of strays and feral cats). Studies show the percentage of cat owners that allow their cat outside to be conservatively 25% or more. Cats allowed outdoors are not only a threat to birds but also at risk themselves (example: car vs. cat = car winning nearly every time). Neither of these losses is necessary.
The American Bird Conservatory's citizen education and action program Cat's Indoors! encourages responsible cat ownership. You can find recommendations on how you can help on their website. The National Audubon Society has passed a Resolution on Cats supporting the need for action.
Please do your part - keep your cat indoors!
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