Canada’s cats and birds are in trouble, and Nature Canada and its partners are calling on Canadians to help in a new national campaign that launches today.
Canada’s birds are in trouble; some species have declined by over 90%. Declines can be attributed to habitat destruction and climate change, and an estimated 270 million birds die each year due to human factors such as collisions with windows and buildings, and hunting by cats. Cats, both pet and feral, cause 75% or approximately 200 million bird deaths a year. We have a responsibility to mitigate loss and protect our birds, as they are a key part of a healthy environment.
We also have a responsibility to keep our cats safe and healthy. The feral cat population is growing rapidly and shelters can’t keep pace. Twice as many cats are in shelters as dogs, and whereas 30% of dogs are returned home, only 5% of cats are. It is a sad statistic that more than 1,300 dead cats were collected on the streets of Toronto in just one year. Outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases (e.g., feline leukemia), parasites, vehicle collisions, and fights with wildlife and other cats.
“While cats’ independent natures might lead some people to treat them like something between pet and wildlife, we owe them the same level of care we give our dogs,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada. “Keeping a cat from roaming freely, while providing adequate stimulation for them is what they deserve. Therefore, we are challenging cat owners to take a pledge in support of protecting both cats and birds.”
This initiative is just the start of a larger campaign that will include a series of graphic novels to be penned and released starting later this year by Margaret Atwood.
“We are honoured to have the support of Margaret Atwood and all of our partners in this important campaign,” said Eleanor Fast. She added, “We could not do our work to raise awareness of critical conservation and species issues if it were not for the individuals and organizations who give so generously to Nature Canada year after year.”
Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives is a coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the well-being of cats and birds. It is led by Nature Canada, in partnership with the Stewardship Centre of BC, Nature Alberta, Nature Saskatchewan, Ontario Nature, Québec Oiseaux, Ecology Action Centre and Bird Studies Canada.
Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives is grateful for the financial support of Pets + Us, Fuller Landau, LLP, The Crabtree Foundation, The Walrus, Indigo, Environment Canada and Toronto Life. We couldn’t do it without you!
Please explore these pages and find out what you can do to Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives!