Charity Says Cats Should Stay Indoors to Protect Wildlife

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In England, animal charity the South Essex Wildlife Hospital is causing quite a stir. On Facebook, the organization urged cat owners to keep their pets indoors to end the “daily slaughter” and “ecological disaster” caused by cats.

The post came after 37 birds died in one day, all apparently the victims of cat attacks.  South Essex Wildlife Hospital said it is treating up to 60 animals a day, mostly birds, which have been attacked by cats, of which about half die.  The charity says cat owners need to “take responsibility” for the suffering their pets cause to wildlife.

The charity’s founder, Sue Schwar told BBC News: “Cats are lovely animals.  They’re very graceful, intelligent and comforting to us but, out in the wild, they think they’re tigers.  Our native wildlife hasn’t evolved with them so they do a lot of damage by climbing trees and raiding nests. I’m not saying they necessarily have to be shut indoors. A lot of people are turning to building enclosures for their cats or training them on harnesses.”


The post has attracted hundreds of comments from many cat owners saying it is cruel to stop cats from going outdoors.

In a response on Facebook, Chrystal Weatherley posted, “Find it very strange that an organization who loves animals is advising cat owners to go against nature and keep our cats in. How cruel would that be?”

“How would you like to be kept in all day? It’s nature pure and simple,” was another comment by Jan Payne.

According to animal psychologist Dr. Roger Mugford, cat owners should restrict the time they are allowed outside.

“They’re committed predators. They’re hunters but they don’t have to be – they can play and be entertained by their owners instead.  And it’s quite unnecessary to let cats out to do this hunting during this first three months of the spring.”

The RSPCA advises cat owners to “restrict outdoor access at dusk and dawn when wildlife is most active – and to attach a bell to a quick-release safety collar.”



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3 thoughts on “Charity Says Cats Should Stay Indoors to Protect Wildlife”

  1. Native wildlife hasn’t evolved with cats? I would think the last Scottish wildcats might disagree-they should have been more widespread before people became so numerous.

  2. …’Cruel’ to keep them inside? Seriously? There’s no question that housecats can be hugely detrimental to native wildlife populations but, more than that, the dangers of allowing them outside unsupervised are just too much. I don’t know what magical, predator-free place they live but here we have- eagles, hawks, coyotes, foxes, and potentially bobcats. Scariest of all, of course, are the speeding cars and humans. This is just a simple, suburban neighborhood, too. I’ve always been taught to keep cats inside, especially since my parents lost multiple cats to the dangers of outside. If my cats wanna go out, they go out on leashes and harnesses. But most of my cats over the years have had zero interest in going outside, even if I tried to get them comfortable going out (again, on a harness).

    Now, I do understand that there are feral cats, and I firmly believe in TNR for them. That helps reduce the population humanely and allows the individual cats the best possible life. But a housecat should not be let outdoors unsupervised for their own safety.

  3. United Kingdom, probably England specifically. Whole lot fewer predators there, and culturally Europeans are believers in the indoor-outdoor lifestyle for cats. Cars and nasty humans are still a danger, but the smaller towns often have twisty streets that really discourage careless speeders, and the people in general take a much dimmer view on nasty humans and animal abuse than Americans do.

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