PR Newswire - A recent study and corresponding media reports have cast a negative light on cats by suggesting that they may be responsible for killing millions of birds and mammals.
Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, and a feline practitioner in Maryland has expressed concerns that the study and corresponding articles may hamper the ability of shelters to place cats in adoptive homes.
"We regret the fact that the articles written about the study have maligned cats as a whole, when in fact, the vast majority of the estimated destruction to wildlife was reportedly by feral or stray cats," she said. "This works to discourage prospective cat owners from adopting one of the hundreds of thousands of healthy, enjoyable cats that are held in shelters across this nation."
In response to the disparaging articles, the CATalyst Council offers the following observations:
Responsible cat ownership is best supported by keeping your cat indoors. This is not only for the protection of wild birds and mammals, but also for your cat's own good. Cars, dogs and people pose a threat to your cat while it roams, as do parasites, fleas, ticks and chemicals.
Support your local Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program and the development of non-surgical ways to sterilize large numbers of animals. Whether you're a pet owner or an animal lover, by ensuring feral sterilization programs have the needed local funding, you will be helping to reduce the number of future feral cats in your community.
Remember that some of the killed mammals cited in the study are pests, including mice and rats, which reproduce quickly and pose a public health concern when their numbers are allowed to grow unchecked. By helping to reduce the number of rodents, the cats are performing a valuable service.
"I think this study presents an opportunity for discussion about what responsible cat ownership entails and what people can do to help all the animals in their community, including feral cats," said Dr. Brunt. "But what we don't want to see is inflammatory media coverage that discourages cat ownership and portrays cats in a negative light."
"Because of the millions of cats sent to shelters each year, CATalyst Council has worked hard to enhance community relationships between shelters and veterinarians to solve problems in individual communities, and cat population is a significant one. Commentary in response to the report does nothing to help our shelter population or the people who work so hard to place these wonderful pets in forever homes."
The CATalyst Council is a national organization which includes a wide variety of animal health and welfare organizations as well as corporate members of the animal health industry that are working together to improve the health and welfare of America's favorite pet. It was founded in response to troubling statistics released by the American Veterinary Medical Association that indicate an increase in our nation's pet cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary care for those cats.
More information about the CATalyst Council is available at www.catalystcouncil.org.