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Monday, April 30, 2012

If it’s spring, keep your cat indoors

Letter to the Editor

Do you have a cat that you let outside?

Now is the time to keep that cute kitty in the house.

House cats are not natural predators in this hemisphere (they were brought by Europeans) and wild birds have no natural defenses against them.

Every year, cats kill hundreds of millions of songbirds, according to audubon.org. Read that statistic again and think about it – hundreds of millions of songbirds just in the United States.

A cat’s saliva and its claws contain bacteria that is deadly to birds, so a bird that escapes a cat attack will only die a miserable death later.

And don’t think that just because you feed your kitty that it’s safe to let it outside. Cats are among nature’s best hunters, and the hunting instinct is so strong that even a cat with a full stomach will stalk and kill prey.

Bells on collars don’t work because cats easily learn to stalk with such stealth that the bell remains silent.

Audubon and the American Bird Conservancy are promoting a “cats indoors” program to urge cat owners to keep kitty inside, particularly during spring when ground nesters like the wood thrush are most vulnerable.

You can find more information on how to keep your cat happy indoors at www.abcbirds.org.

So, be a responsible pet owner. Keep your feline friend indoors so the birds can have the chance nature intended.

Your kitty will thank you, and when you walk outside, you’ll hear the birds thank you, too.

Julia Schappals

Bedford