Ottawa (February 29th, 2016) – Canada’s bird and cat populations are in trouble and Nature Canada and its partners are calling on Canadians to help keep them safe with the launch of its campaign to keep cats from roaming free.
Canada’s birds are in trouble; some species have declined by over 90%. Declines can be attributed to habitat destruction and climate change, and an estimated 270 million birds die each year due to human factors such as collisions with windows and buildings, and hunting by cats. Cats, both pet and feral, cause 75% or approximately 200 million bird deaths a year. We have a responsibility to mitigate loss and protect our birds, as they are a key part of a healthy environment.
We also have a responsibility to keep our cats safe and healthy. The feral cat population is growing rapidly and shelters can’t keep pace. In 2011, more than 50,000 cats were euthanized because homes could not be found. In comparison with dogs, twice as many cats are dumped in shelters and less than 5% of cats are returned home. It is a sad statistic that more than 1,300 dead cats were collected on the streets of Toronto in just one year. Outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases like feline leukemia, parasites, vehicle collisions, malicious humans and fights with wildlife and other cats.
“While cats’ independent natures might lead some people to treat them like something between pet and wildlife, we owe them the same level of care we give our dogs,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada. “Keeping a cat from roaming freely, while providing adequate stimulation is what they deserve. Therefore, we are challenging cat owners to take Nature Canada’s pledge in support of protecting both cats and birds.”
This initiative is just the start of a larger awareness campaign that will include a series of graphic novels to be penned and released starting later this year by Margaret Atwood.
“We are honoured to have the support of Margaret Atwood and all of our partners in this important campaign,” said Eleanor Fast. She added, “We could not do our work to raise awareness of critical conservation and species issues if it were not for the individuals and organizations who give so generously to Nature Canada year after year.”
Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives is a coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the well-being of cats and birds. It is led by Nature Canada and is supported financially by Fuller Landau, LLP, The Crabtree Foundation, The Walrus, Indigo, Environment Canada, Pets Plus Us and Toronto Life. For more information about this campaign or to see a full list of national, regional and local partners please visit catsandbirds.ca or naturecanada.ca
Tips on how to keep cats safe and healthy can be found here. Images for use by media can be found here.
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