New Studies Confirm Cats a Major Threat to Wildlife – Federal Action Urgently Needed to Stem the Carnage

Recently published studies by the government of Canada and the Smithsonian Institution and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirm that outdoor cats, and particularly feral cats, take a tremendous toll on wildlife, including migratory songbirds, many of which are experiencing dramatic population declines. Another study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that outdoor cats pose a human health threat due to the spread of dangerous diseases such as rabies. Alert: Sign On Letter to Protect Wildlife and Public Lands Given the proven degree of environmental harm and human health risks, it is time for the federal and state agencies responsible for managing wildlife and public lands to take action to protect birds and other wildlife from cat predation. American Bird Conservancy has drafted a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell asking the Department to develop a clear management policy to protect wildlife and to address the impacts of feral cat colonies on public lands. To view the letter and sign on, please see: Report from Gov't of Canada Echoes U.S. Finding: Outdoor Cats are Leading Human-Caused Source of Bird Mortality A new study from the government of Canada that looked at more than 25 human-caused sources of bird mortality has found that domestic cats, both feral and owned, are the two leading lethal threats to birds in the country. The study found that the median estimate of cat-caused mortality—almost 200 million bird deaths per year—was about six times greater than the next leading mortality estimate of about 32 million attributed to car collisions. For more details see Domestic cats are a non-native species in North America and are efficient, instinctive predators. Research by scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently estimated that 114–164 million feral and owned outdoor cats in the U.S. are responsible for the deaths of 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals every year. Even the mere presence of cats in the environment has been shown to reduce bird reproductive output and survivorship. Journal Article Finds Feral Cat Colony Programs Ineffective, Create Rabies and Disease Risks A new study finds programs that trap, neuter, vaccinate, and release feral cats to the areas where they were captured provide no public health benefits. Feral cats are estimated to number 60 to 100 million in the United States. Specifically, the article said that: “feral cat colonies are not innocuous… cause considerable mortality to local wildlife, act as reservoirs for feline-specific diseases, and transmit … diseases to humans. Additionally, claims by cat colony advocates that managed colonies can reduce feral cat populations and control rodents are contradicted by research. … . Instead, responsible pet ownership, universal rabies vaccination of pets, and removal of strays remain integral components to control rabies and other diseases.” According to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cats are consistently the number-one carrier of rabies among domestic animals and pose a “disproportionate risk for potential human exposure.” Domestic cats are also the necessary host for the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis to complete its life cycle; each infected cat may shed hundreds of millions of the infectious parasite in its feces. In people, toxoplasmosis has been linked to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other neurodegenerative diseases. It can also cause sudden abortion and fetal abnormalities in pregnant mothers. The article, “Rabies Prevention and Management of Cats in the Context of Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release Programmes,” was published online in the scientific journal Zoonoses and Public Health. Authors include experts from American Bird Conservancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more details see ABC Asks Albuquerque Mayor to Drop "Inhumane" Cat Program American Bird Conservancy has sent a letter ( to Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry asking that the city follow the advice offered in a recent letter by the state’s Department of Game and Fish and discontinue supporting a feral cat management program that the group describes as inhumane to cats and wildlife and a threat to the health of city residents. The feral cat management program used by the city is called Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR), which calls for trapping, then neutering and releasing (or re-abandoning) feral cats back to the locations where they were trapped. “In addition to maintaining cats in an inhumane lifestyle, sacrificing local wildlife, and endangering the health and welfare of Albuquerque’s citizens, TNR simply does not work," says the letter from Grant Sizemore, Cats Indoors Program Manager for ABC. See for more details. To be removed from the list, send any message to: [email protected] Steve Holmer Senior Policy Advisor American Bird Conservancy & Director, Bird Conservation Alliance 202-234-7181 ext. 216 [email protected] Skype: sholmerabc,, ABC on Facebook, ABC Videos letterhead ____________________________________________________________
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Ron Klataske Executive Director Audubon of Kansas 210 Southwind Place Manhattan KS 66503 785-537-4385 [email protected]