IFAW marks International Cat Day

IFAW marks International Cat Day
Tuesday, 8 August, 2017
Yarmouth Port, MA

IFAW is marking International Cat Day with a reminder to everyone with a lovable feline in your life: your furry friend might be a coldblooded killer! Many of us love cats and enjoy having them in our lives. They are a source of companionship, comfort, and joy. But in many places around the world, domestic cats can pose a nuisance or real danger to wildlife.

Of course, we don’t hold it against them. Just like their much larger cousins, house cats’ hunting skills are the result of untold years of evolution, making them some of the most efficient and deadly hunters on earth. Unfortunately for our furry friends, their stellar hunting skills can cause real conflict in communities, and that often spells bad news for the cats themselves. On this International Cat Day, we celebrate our love of these incredible animals with some tips for keeping them, and our wildlife, safe:

Sterilization, vaccination, and veterinary care

By sterilizing our cats, we can keep kittens out of shelters, and prevent the cycle of breeding and abandonment that leads to unwanted cat colonies. Vaccination and other preventative veterinary care also keeps cats healthy, and stops the spread of disease and parasites to other animals.

Collaring and identification

If your cat goes outdoors, be sure to keep a collar with identification on him or her at all times. You can also diminish their hunting prowess by adding a colorful flare to your cat’s collar. Researchers have demonstrated a remarkable decrease in the number of birds killed by cats wearing large and colorful collars. This is because birds are highly attuned to see colors, and the collars disarm the cat’s natural stealth and camouflage. You can purchase safe versions of these collars through Birdsbesafe.

Cat-Proof Fencing

Cats obviously love to be outside, but unsupervised, they can face many dangers and pose a threat to local birds. A great compromise solution is cat-proof fencing, or “catios,” which allows your cat to roam about in your yard without negatively impacting the wildlife outside. It can also keep your cat safe from roads and predators.

Indoor Cats

If you live in an area where the dangers to cats, or the dangers to wildlife, can’t be mitigated, it might be best to keep your cat indoors, where there are plenty of ways to keep your cat stimulated and happy while keeping him or her safe. For instance, you can put Fluffy’s favorite cushion on a ledge near the window so she can keep an eye on the neighborhood. And if you don’t have a suitable place for your cat to perch, consider a cinematic solution: many cats love watching online videos of birds and other wildlife.

Both indoor cats, and those fortunate enough to enjoy a “catio,” require a lot of play and attention to keep their senses sharp and their minds and bodies happy. This means providing cat trees to climb and perch on, ropes to swat at, posts to scratch, and toys to play with. Take some time to play with your cat each day – and if you haven’t tried it yet, your cat might even enjoy walking outdoors on a leash!

On this International Cat Day, we at IFAW hope that cat lovers around the world will celebrate the cats we love, while doing our part to keep cats safe and protect wildlife species from our ferocious feline friends.

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. Follow us on social @action4IFAW and Facebook/IFAW.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters