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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