Keeping Cats Indoors

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?

Free range cat with dead bird

Lunch with the Birds webinar series: Keeping Cats Indoors

Presented by:
Grant Sizemore
Director of Invasive Species Programs for American Bird Conservancy
21 October, 2015

Domestic cats (Felis catus) can make great pets. When permitted outdoors, however, these animals are a well-known predator of birds and other wildlife and are an extension of the human footprint on natural systems. Join Grant Sizemore, Director of Invasive Species Programs for American Bird Conservancy, as he discusses the science of outdoor domestic cats, their impacts on birds and people, and the need for effective management.

This webinar was sponsored by: Rebecca Rose

Cat Wars book cover

Utah State University Ecology Center lecture series: Cat Wars

Presented by:
Peter Marra
Director of the Georgetown University Institute for the Environment and Sustainability
24 March, 2021

The Utah State University Ecology Center holds a monthly seminar series, which is livestreamed for anyone to attend. In March of 2021, they hosted Peter Marra, Director of the Earth Commons—Georgetown’s Institute for the Environment and Sustainability—and Laudato Si’ Professor of Biology and the Environment. Marra uses birds to help us define and understand broad environmental issues, tackling contemporary conservation challenges by addressing fundamental knowledge gaps at the intersection of ornithology, ecology and conservation biology. His work explores the interaction between humans and our environment and poses critical questions to humanity about the environmental costs of urbanization and globalization. The subject of this webinar was on his work on the impact of feral and free-range domestic cats on birds.

Note: This was not an OBCI-hosted program, but it is indexed here for educational purposes.