LETTER: Responsible owners don’t let cats roam

You can’t defend letting cats roam

READ MORE: LETTER: Humans the real threat to bird populations

The recent letter writer cites humans as the main source of bird mortality. Domestic cats only exist because of humans. If you want to prevent humans from killing birds then you should, by extension, be against roaming cats. Humans provide conservation areas for birds, only to see them decimated by roaming cats.

The writer mentions “toxic lawn and garden chemicals” as bird killers. A 2013 study by Environment Canada scientists lists domestic cats as the number one killer of birds in Canada. In a 2016 study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, birds reduced insect pests on crops by over 33 per cent. Put these two studies together, and you can conclude that roaming cats increase the use of pesticides.

READ MORE: Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

Googling “cats roam risk” provides thousands of hits with advice, statistics and studies making it clear that roaming cats are at high risk of injury, illness or death. The average lifespan of a roaming cat is two to five years. The average lifespan of a non-roaming cat is 15 to 17 years.

Cats don’t control rat populations, according to a 2017 Fordham University study. Cats know rats fight back, risking injury.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island is home to some of the ‘rattiest’ cities in B.C.

Letting cats roam is bad for wildlife, the environment, puts cats at risk, and contaminates neighbouring gardens with excrement. Cats scent mark (urinate) directly on produce and property (which I have witnessed). This discourages the 100-mile diet intended to combat global warming. Responsible cat owners don’t let their pets roam.

Sheryl St. Gelais

Saanich

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