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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Save birds, play with your cat!

We all know that house cats allowed to roam outside kill hundreds of millions, and perhaps even billions, of birds in North America each year. The solution to this is to keep your cats inside. But what do you do with an energetic cat that is used to running around in the woods chasing birds?

Cat aficionado Elissa Wolfson has written the perfect book to help your cat make the transition to healthy indoor living. In 101 Cool Games for Cool Cats, she specifically addresses the issue of keeping cats indoors for their health, and the survival of local wildlife. She discusses outdoor cat enclosures, and a host of ways to help your cat make the transition to indoor living. But this book isn't preachy. It's about how to have fun with your cat, indoors!

Most of the book consists of the promised 101 cool games to play with your cat--each one with a very fun drawing by Stephanie Piro. Some of the games even sounded like fun for me to use with my kids! It was great to see how much joy and fun could be crammed into each of the 143 short pages.

So if you own a cat, or have friends who own a cat, this book is a quick must read. Since it is originally published in the UK, you can get a copy directly from the author (see website here). Save birds. Have fun. Play with your cat!

Here's a little teaser to get you started!

11 comments:

Maya said...

Great post! I highly encourage people to keep cats indoors - they not only live longer, but have many fewer health problems - it saves a fortune on vet bills.

Recently I've been hearing that by far the biggest problem for birds is window hits. Now that we are (hopefully) learning to keep cats in, I would love to hear practical solutions to this problem.

Keeping the window dirty, placing birdfeeders **close*** to the window and streamers are the solutions I've heard (the old decal trick is supposed to be less effective).

;)

birdchaser said...

Maya, don't worry. I'll get back to the birds and windows topic soon!

And it really depends how you measure it, but based on the studies so far, I suspect that windows and cats are about equal in the magnitude of bird deaths they cause.

Anonymous said...

Keeping cats indoors creates more health problems for cats than it solves. If you are worried about roads or anything near where you live then you should just get pet insurance. Most cats are clever enough to not run in front of cars and most deaths are due to the cat beig scared into the roads.
As for saving birds, cats aren't out just to kill them and it's natural.
Do play games with your cats on a regular basis but do not assume this is the only exercise your cat will need. No sized house is big enough for your cat to run around in. I have two cats and of all the cats ive seen, mine are the healthiest. We live in a good area in the country where they can roam, hunt and exercise as well as defend their large territory (which there is lots of competition for). They are aged 10 and 11 and I'm not exaggerating when I say they still act like healthy 2 year olds. You cannot keep a cat indoors for the simple reason that you can't create the outdoors, indoors.
Birds are wonderful but it's the circle of life.
Just a quick list of problems caused by keepig your cat indoors: obesity, unsocialised, possibly violent towards other animals or humans, problems with joints and muscles, they do get lonely and depressed sometimes, boredom from seeing the same things over and over, lack of variety in diet, injuries from the games that we make up for them.
YOU CANNOT WRAP A CAT UP IN COTTON WOOL JUST AS YOU CANNOT DO SO WITH YOUR CHILDREN. THEY ARE INDIVIDUALS AND ARE POSSIBLY ONE OF THE MOST CLEVER SPECIES I HAVE COME ACCROSS.

HealthyCat said...

If you live somewhere unsafe for a cat to be then don't have a cat. Simple.

birdchaser said...

I'm sorry anonymous, but your comment is entirely ecologically ill-informed. It may be natural for cats to kill birds--but not in America. Cats are an exotic species that should not be allowed to roam free. Sorry if you don't like that, but it isn't "natural" for us to bring new species over here and allow them to wreck havoc on birds and other animals that haven't evolved with them in natural predator-prey relationships.

If you let your pet kill birds, you are potentially breaking federal and state laws that prohibit killing birds.

You are not allowed to kill animals just because you want to, nor can your neighbor. It is logically inconsistent to then allow your cats, dogs, or any other animal to go out and do the same. It isn't natural. They are pets, and need to be controlled.

I know that goes against your tradition, but hey, its time to realize the ecological cost of what we are doing. Maybe 100 years ago when there were fewer people, cats, and more birds it wasn't a problem. Now it is. Welcome to the 21st Century. We gave up slavery and child labor. Now its time to give up another of our harmful traditions--free range cats.

Anonymous said...

I also understand that it's a "tradition" in that wonderful land called america to abuse animals, for example keeping large dogs in the smallest possible cage. If you can't treat an animal properly then don't keep it. If you don't want it in your landscape, then don't have it. It's cruel to keep a cat in those conditions. If you don't want cats in america then don't buy one.

Kim B said...

The problem is that people who let their cats run free hunt birds in the yards of the people who don't. I try to provide as much nesting habitat and natural food sources for songbirds as I can, but my neighbor's cat coming hunting in my yard all the same. When I politely asked them to keep their cat in at nite, they basically shrugged and said it was my problem. If my dog started killing animals in their yard everyday, then you bet I'd hear about it. A 100 years ago it would have seemed silly to keep dogs on leashes. Why can't we move forward and actually take some ecological responsibility for our environment. Put your cat on a leash. And guess what, you have to train a dog to like walking on a leash too. I think that too many people get cats because they think they are "easy" and they don't have to take responsibility for their pet's actions by just letting them roam free. Which is against city and town bylaws anyway.

Kim B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gilda said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alena

http://largepet.info

MistyBean said...

MY CAT HAS TO BE A OUTSIDE CAT... I'M ALLERGIC TO HIM BUT I DON'T WANT TO GIVE HIM AWAY EITHER I HAVE HAD HIM SINCE HE WAS ABANDONED AS A RUNT BY HIS MOTHER... LUCKILY I CAME ACROSS HIS PATH BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE... AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM I DON'T WANT TO BE PUFFY EYED ALL DAY JUST TO HAVE HIM IN THE HOUSE AND I HAVE TRIED ALL ALLERGY MEDICINES AND NONE SEEM TO WORK SO DON'T TELL ME TO BUY MEDS... IT DON'T WORK!

MistyBean said...

My cat has only seen the vet when it needs shots... but other than that he is healthy and 14 yrs old.. walking and playing like he is still 1 year old. STILL STAYING OUTSIDE THOUGH...

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