BC SPCA urges people to keep cats indoor amid spring wildlife baby boom

BC SPCA urges people to keep cats indoor amid spring wildlife baby boom

The BC SPCA is asking residents to keep their cats indoors this spring, since the season is when many wildlife species have their children, making them particularly vulnerable to cats.

On Wednesday, the SPCA cautioned British Columbians against letting their cats roam, since the pets are natural predators.

“A recent analysis of wild animal intake and health data from across Canada revealed that cat predation is a top-ranking issue for songbirds, hummingbirds and aerial insectivores such as swallows,” said the SPCA in a release.

Cats can also target bats, rabbits and hares, says the SPCA.

The organization adds that while cats may go after easier prey like baby animals during the spring, any attacks on adults can also ripple out to their offspring, since orphaned wildlife have a low chance of survival.

The SPCA also notes that cats carry a bacteria in their saliva which can cause fatal infections from minor wounds, such as a small bite or scratch.

“While not every cat has the same motivation to hunt, the fact remains that, collectively, outdoor cats pose a threat to wild animal welfare and survival — babies in particular,” said the SPCA.

The concern isn’t new one to Vancouver Island. In 2021, the City of Nanaimo passed a bylaw restricting cat owners from letting their cats “running at large” in a public place, or someone else’s property.

How to keep cats entertained indoors

The SPCA says the easiest way to make sure your cat doesn’t attack wildlife, particularly when they’re vulnerable around the spring baby season, is to keep them indoors.

Owners can help keep their cats entertained by carving time out each day to play, or by building them an indoor or outdoor ‘catio,’ an enclosed space that lets cats jump and explore.

If you are interested in letting your cat outdoors, the SPCA says you can still supervise them while they’re in a backyard, or take them on a short walk with a leash and harness.

The SPCA adds that keeping cats indoors also keeps the family felines safe.

Free-roaming cats can be targeted by larger predators, like coyotes or eagles, or can fall victim to other dangers – like traffic, fights with other cats, or secondhand poisoning if they ingest rats or mice that have eaten rodenticides.


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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