Feral and free-ranging domestic cats pose a significant threat to Ohio’s biodiversity, as well as to human health and the welfare of other domestic animals.
Because domestic cats are not a natural part of Ohio’s ecosystems, their impact on native wildlife, including birds, is dramatic. Studies show that cats are one of the greatest sources of human-caused mortality for birds and mammals in the country. Free-ranging cats also act as sources of dangerous diseases that have serious implications for human health, including rabies, tularemia, hook worms, and toxoplasmosis. A recent study in Northeastern Ohio found more than half of sampled free-roaming cats were infected with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
In addition to the numerous negative impacts on Ohio’s ecosystems and public health, allowing cats to range freely outdoors is dangerous and inhumane for the cats as well. During their time outside the home, cats are at risk for vehicle trauma, predation, disease, and severe weather.
OBCI supports efforts to encourage pet owners to keep domestic cats indoors, opposes the establishment of feral cat colonies, and encourages additional research into solutions to mitigate the effects that feral and outdoor, unattended domestic cats have on native wildlife populations and human health.
Learn more about the risks of free-ranging, outdoor cats in our White Paper on Feral and Unattended Domestic Cats Outdoors
What can your organization do?
- Encourage your organization to adopt our White Paper on Feral and Free-ranging Domestic Cats by adapting this template.
- Share our recording of a webinar on Keeping Cats Indoors by Grant Sizemore, Director of Invasive Species Programs for American Bird Conservancy. More information here.
- Download our Talking Points on Keeping Cats Indoors, which can be easily adapted into Facebook posts.