A Review of the American Bird Conservancy's video Cats Indoors: A Conservation Movement
by Hernando Audubon Member Chris Cock
As part of the Happy Cat, Healthy Environment Campaign, Grant Sizemore of the American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoors Program, narrates a new film that is well worth watching. We've all heard the statistics. But here's more, and it's data-driven fact.
I suggest, whatever your stance on the cat issue, that you watch the new, approximately 30 minute video, called Cats Indoors: A Conservation Movement, available to anyone who goes to the ABC Cats Indoors website.
There are some facts that you've heard , such as in the U.S. cats are responsible for over 2.4 billion deaths a year, and then there are the new statistics that show the links that extend from cats to 26% of all extinct species.
Sizemore includes extensive fact sheets, as if you are watching a scientific paper being presented. They include information on the science of the ecology of the domestic cat, their role in the spread of disease, (over 20 diseases of which many humans are susceptible), to their role in the environment now. Also there is information on policy solutions, the myth of Trap Neuter Release (actually it has increased problems), and state and federal regulations.
He explains how effective policies (such as treating cats like dogs and keeping them indoors, on leashes, sterilized, etc.) help keep cats healthy and safe. We all know this, but at the same time, for those who are resistant, we now know that in Florida alone, cats are responsible for the greatest majority of rabies cases in this state. In Hawaii, they are clearly responsible for the endangered monk seal contracting taxoplasmosis.
ABC lays out solutions, such as better funding for local animal control facilities and educating the public. They know this issue is a thorny one, but must be addressed. We know this will be hard because many people love felines and find it hard to accept the fact that cats are an invasive species and far more dangerous in our state than pythons or iguanas, etc. The numbers are staggering, the science is data-driven, the responsibility is ours. Use this video as a tool. Let's love our pets, use good biology to deal with invasive species, learn laws, encourage better state and federal regulations, and remind all cat enthusiasts that happy cats make healthy environments.