CATalyst Concerned about Consequences of Media Commentary
February 1, 2013
CATalyst Council Concerned about Consequences of Media Commentary
National coalition of animal health and welfare organizations responds to recent article highlighting cats’ predatory prowess
A recent study and corresponding media reports have cast a negative light on cats by suggesting that they may be responsible for killing perhaps billions of birds and mammals. Dr. 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 today 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 these disparaging articles the CATalyst Council offers the following observations:
1. 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 and ticks, and chemicals. Part of being a responsible cat owner is keeping your cat safe from harm.
2. Support your local Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program and the development of other non-surgical ways to sterilize large numbers of animals. Unfortunately, articles written about the study are unclear about the study’s report that feral cats and not pets were responsible for the majority of the estimated deaths. 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.
3. 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,” Dr. Brunt continued. “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.”