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August 10, 2012

The HSUS Issues Statement Regarding University of Georgia “KittyCam” Study

Katie  Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to the cat predation study recently released by University of Georgia researcher Kerrie Anne Loyd:

"A recent study on cat predation, while well intentioned, does not greatly expand our overall understanding of the dynamics of the issue. Some outdoor cats do prey on wildlife, but their contribution to reductions in wildlife populations is hotly debated and not fully understood. The study tracks only 55 pet cats—of whom only 17 pursued prey, with birds constituting only 12 percent of the prey. We urge caution in the extrapolation of this study’s results to policy responses based on the limited findings, which have not been peer reviewed. This is a problem that requires cat and wildlife advocates to come together to find a solution."

The HSUS advocates for cats and wildlife, and urges pet owners to keep cats indoors. Community cats living outdoors must be managed in a way that effectively and humanely reduces their numbers through trap-neuter-return (TNR), the proven approach of safely removing the cats, spaying or neutering them and returning them to a managed colony. By using TNR responsibly and finding homes for kittens and adoptable cats, this strategy can help reduce reproduction while improving the lives of existing ferals.

Facts:  

•    From 1998 through 2010 the American Pet Products Association showed increases in the number of owned cats kept indoors exclusively or kept indoors for longer periods of time. 
•    Pet cats should be kept indoors for their own safety, and for the safety of wildlife in the area. They should be sterilized by the time they reach reproductive age at 5 months. The HSUS offers more information about making indoor homes stimulating and enriching for cats. 
•    Estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department show that bird mortality is largely caused by habitat loss and destruction (33.3 percent) and collisions with buildings and glass (31.7 percent). While cats do prey on birds, their impact plays a relatively minor role in overall bird mortality.
•    The "KittyCam" study also documented cats engaging in risky behaviors such as crossing roads, entering tight spaces and eating and drinking potential hazardous substances; all are further reasons to keep cats safe inside homes.

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Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras; 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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