With a mission to protect all animals, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) stands on common ground with those who care about both cats and wildlife. With determination, innovation and collaboration, we can implement and sustain effective programs to humanely resolve human-cat-wildlife conflicts.
Our ultimate goal is to dramatically and humanely reduce the number of cats outdoors, leading to much less risk and harm to the cats, no predation of birds and wildlife and the elimination of potential public health concerns and nuisance-related issues.
The benefits of collaboration
Most people care about both cats and wildlife and want to protect all animals. As The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy demonstrated with its 2012 conference, The Outdoor Cat: Science and Policy from a Global Perspective, there is value in working together. The conference brought together diverse stakeholders to discuss science and policy related to outdoor cats and wildlife. In the same vein, the Audubon Society of Portland and the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, whose annual catio (outdoor cat enclosure) tour draws over 1,000 people, have demonstrated that collaboration can do more to protect wildlife than conflict. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and efforts limited to removing cats from the landscape are bound to fall short as economically and logistically impractical and publicly unacceptable in light of the mass euthanasia that would likely result.
We are collaborating with partners to build and support coalitions in a number of states to find innovative and humane solutions that work at the local level. These efforts will lay a foundation for greater progress in the protection of cats and wildlife.
The value of Trap-Neuter-Return
Robust trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs and related strategies are part of the solution, not the problem and should be more widely practiced with broader support from animal welfare organizations, conservationists, policy makers and individual residents. Properly managed, TNR programs can work, are squarely in line with public opinion and can tap into a willing volunteer workforce that represents hundreds of thousands if not millions of dedicated people.
Keep cats inside, keep cats safe, keep cats in homes
The HSUS asks pet owners to protect their cats by keeping them indoors (or transitioning an indoor/outdoor cat inside), having them spayed or neutered and maintaining collars and visible identification on them at all times. These three simple actions directly protect wildlife by reducing the number of cats outdoors, lowering the overall population of cats in need of homes and allowing lost cats to be quickly reunited with their families. Cats can live exciting and stimulating lives indoors and can experience nature safely within a catio, screened porch or other secure outdoor enclosure.
Our programs focus on keeping cats in homes by breaking down housing barriers and solving behavior issues that can contribute to abandonment and relinquishment, reaching underserved communities and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations expand adoptions and their capacity to care for more cats in their community.