Cats & Birds commissioned Nanos Research to do a poll of Canadian cat owners, and the results are fascinating. In Peter Blancher’s paper, “Estimated Number of Birds Killed by House Cats in Canada,” he used a variety of research to determine that 40 to 70% of Canadian house cats are allowed to free-roam outdoors. Those results line up pretty well with our survey, which revealed that among Canadians who own cats, just under three fifths (59%) keep those cats indoors, or supervised while outdoors (i.e. on a leash or in an enclosure), while 41% are allowed to free-roam unsupervised.
There are interesting demographic and regional variations. More cats in Quebec and Ontario are kept from free-roam (64 and 66 percent respectively) than those in British Columbia (only 43%), the Prairies (59.3%) or the Atlantic (49.2%).
Cat owners aged 18 to 29 were most likely to keep their cats safe from free-roam (70%) and those aged 30 to 39 were least likely to keep their cats safe (49%). Above age 40, 56-60% of people either keep their cats indoors, or supervise them while they are outdoors.
The margin of error for our random survey of Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Update: the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies’ Cats in Canada 2017 showed that 72% of Canadians now keep their cats safe from roaming unsupervised. It’s working!