Living Lightly: Make your next pet kitten an indoor one

Living Lightly: Make your next pet kitten an indoor one

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A Column Promoting a More Earth-Friendly Lifestyle

By John L. Turner

John Turner

Make your next pet kitten an indoor one…

According to the American Bird Conservancy and other researchers, the number one cause for wild bird mortality  is by free ranging outdoor cats each year. Experts estimate that upwards of 2.5 billion (yes billion with a “b”!) wild birds are killed annually by cats including many species that frequent bird feeders such as cardinals, chickadees, and woodpeckers. Additionally, several billion small mammals— such as voles and mice— which form the base of natural food chains and webs, are also killed, reducing the availability of these animals for predators such as hawks and owls which depend upon them.  

While it can be very difficult to turn a current outdoor pet cat into an indoor pet cat, this is not the case with a new pet that has no expectation or habit to go outside. Being an indoor cat has other obvious benefits to both the cat and cat owner — no worry about being hit by a car, getting into a fight with another cat or animal, or picking up a disease. 

A significant majority of dog owners don’t let their dogs run free because of the havoc they can cause. If cat owners embrace the same belief and responsibility not only will their pet benefit but many types of wildlife will be much better protected, allowed to live out their wild lives free from the risk of pet cat predation.  

A resident of Setauket, author John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.

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