Letters to the Editor

Research tells the truth about cats | Letter to the Editor

Kirk Beeler, in his recent letter to The Beachcomber (“No Need To Keep Cats Indoors”), questions the statements of a previous writer that indoor cats live three times longer than outdoor and/or indoor-outdoor cats and that cats may not eat as many birds as it is claimed — and/or that dogs and people may eat just as many. Mr. Beeler also appreciates the “rat, mice and mole control his cats do.” Mr. Beeler asks for research evidence. Well…

A quick search of relevant research on the Internet, using the search criteria of “life span of outdoor vs. indoor cats research,” “cats killing birds research” and “cats and rats research,” yielded research results from the University of Wisconsin, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine that:

• “Indoor cats have an average life span of 14 years, whereas outdoor-indoor cats have an average life span of only four years.”

• “The University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Stanley Temple estimates that rural cats kill 39 million birds every year in Wisconsin alone.”

• “Here’s is another well-reasoned calculation, by one of Audubon’s senior scientists, where the estimate is over a billion birds (killed by cats) per year.”

• “Many rat problems around homes can be related to the keeping of pets. In fact, rats may live in very close association with cats and dogs. Rats frequently live beneath a doghouse and soon learn they can feed on the dog’s food when he is absent or asleep. Although house cats, some dogs and other predators kill rats, they do not usually provide effective rat control.”

These are all direct quotes from major university research groups. For me, the results of this quick Internet search serve to demonstrate the old maxim that “denial isn’t a river in Egypt.” Small streams of denial flow through all of us — especially those of us with lovable but naturally carnivorous and predatory pets, like cats.


— Charles “Buzz” Blick


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