July 3, 2013
Cats and Wildlife: Keeping Everyone Safe
If we collaborate, we can take on the problem of outdoor cats preying on wildlife
The Humane Society of the United States values both cats and wildlife. Predation on birds and other wildlife by cats is a legitimate concern, and we are committed to developing and promoting humane management practices and public education programs that will reduce the number of free-roaming cats and mitigate their effect on birds and other wildlife.
Cats are Americans’ most popular pet, and The HSUS recommends owners keep their cats inside—for their own safety as well as that of wildlife. In addition, we recommend that owners spay or neuter their cats. Finally, we consider the adoption of homeless cats to be the best means of reducing their impact on wildlife.
Resources on pet cats
- Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors
- Home, Sweet Home: Bringing an Outdoor Cat In
- Collars, Tags: Your Cat’s Safety Net
Feral and stray cats
For community cats, both feral (unsocialized) and stray, it is unworkable and inhumane to suggest mass capture and killing programs. The most effective strategy—thanks to the good will of millions of cat lovers—is to implement comprehensive community cat programs that combine public outreach and education, low-cost spay and neuter programs, and colony management programs such as Trap-Neuter-and-Return (TNR). These programs reduce reproduction, stabilize or reduce populations over time, and honor our commitment to care for cats.
Resources on feral and stray cats
- Organizations That Help Feral and Outdoor Cats
- Frequently Asked Questions about Feral Cats
- “Can You Help This Cat?” brochure (PDF in English and Spanish)
- "Taking a Broader View of Cats in the Community"
- "Talking TNR: Promoting a Better Approach to Feral Cats to Your Local Officials"
- Results of the Outdoor Cat Conference
A collaborative effort
Working collaboratively in our communities will not be easy, nor will it happen overnight. However, collaboration and a willingness to move forward on shared goals is the only strategy that will move us ahead and beyond the debate over numbers. Municipalities, pet owners, wildlife conservationists, shelters, cat advocates, law enforcement, veterinarians, and other stakeholders all must play a part in implementing humane solutions for both cats and wildlife.
Resources on free-roaming cats and wildlife
- "Peaceable Backyard Kingdom: Protecting Pets and Wildlife"
- Found an Injured or Orphaned Animal?
- "Prowling the Divide"
- "Cats and Wildlife: An HSUS Perspective"
- "Finding Common Ground—Outdoor Cats and Wildlife"
- The Humane Society of the United States Responds to Free-Roaming Cat Study
- Find trained help for an injured wild animal