Two cats peer out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

Two cats peer out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

Outdoor cats one of the biggest causes of wildlife injuries

Spring a vulnerable time for fledglings, small mammals says wildlife centre

Helping out nature’s spring babies might be as easy as ignoring your cat’s meows to get outside.

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) says springtime means newborn and migratory birds often become the victims of predatory free-roaming cats, who puncture the flesh of little birds and mammals with bacteria-ridden teeth, causing infections and internal injuries.

RELATED: Leash your cat or face a $150 fine in Victoria

RELATED: Victoria Natural History Society asks district to keep cats under control

“Often times its fledgling birds or young mammals that are being caught, so they don’t have a great immune system yet, just like people,” said assistant manager Meghan Hatch. “Cats have a ton of bacteria in their mouth and when they bite down on an animal, their fangs act as an injector, injecting that bacteria directly into the tissue…”

Hatch said that with species diversity declining already, cats preying on vulnerable critters can be a real problem.

“The statistics show a crazy amount of birds caught by cats every year just in North America,” she said. “It’s in the millions.”

A cat peers out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

RELATED: LETTER: Protecting birds should be a priority

RELATED: Wild ARC seeking donations for creature comforts

“[Cats are] not a natural predator for these birds,” she added. “It’s an introduced predatory species that is having a huge impact on all kinds of populations of a variety of different species of birds – from little hummingbirds to larger birds like robins – they don’t discriminate.”

But Hatch emphasized that it doesn’t mean cats can’t enjoy the outdoors.

She recommends training your feline friend to walk on a harness or investing in a “catio” – an enclosed outdoor area that lets your cat enjoy nature without harming wildlife, themselves, and your wallet.

In Victoria, city bylaws mandate that cats need to be in the owner’s control in public spaces, and violations come with a $150 fine.

For those who choose to ignore city bylaws, Wild ARC also sells cat bibs – Neoprene, Velcro-attached bibs that fly up into the cats face when they pounce on prey – rendering them unable to find their victim and giving the bird or critter time to escape. Bells don’t always do the trick, she adds, since the sound doesn’t mean much to birds, and cats can learn how to move quietly anyways.

Hatch said cat victims are included in the 80 per cent of cases caused by human interference seen at Wild ARC.

“It’s humans who are letting them out there – they wouldn’t normally be out in the wild.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Wild ARC

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

The City of Victoria is hoping to ring in the summer by celebrating local art and offering some distanced, live music to surprise people in parks, plazas and other public spaces. (Photo courtesy of the City of Victoria)
Live, pop-up concerts and local art being showcased in Victoria this summer

People will see surprise serenades at 16 locations throughout the summer

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Jada Benwell and Connor Larkey are the valedictorians of the 2021 graduating class at Parkland Secondary School. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Pandemic taught lessons in perseverance for North Saanich high schoolers

Parkland Secondary School to release 2021 grad ceremony video on June 25

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read