6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Should Cats be Kept Indoors? New Videos Promote Controversial Message

Support Provided By
indooor-cat-1-17-14-thumb-600x401-67197
Safer for everyone concerned | Photo: Rachel Ford James/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Two bird-protection groups are reaffirming their stand on one of the most polarizing contemporary wildlife issues: outdoor domestic cats. And they're doing so with video public service announcements that are about as unpolarizing as possible.

The Washington D.C.-based American Bird Conservancy (ABC) released a set of four PSAs this week in cooperation with the Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation to encourage cat caretakers to keep their charges indoors, calling the practice "better for cats, better for birds, and better for people."

The groups recognize that tempers can run high when the topic of outdoor cats comes up. "The issue of cat management elicits strong emotional responses everywhere it is talked about," said Don Thompson, Executive Director of Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation. "However, these PSAs present a friendly, non-confrontational approach that I think will be well received by all interested in animal well-being. After all, there really is no credible debate against the many benefits of keeping cats indoors."

The predation pressure cats can put on native wildlife is well-documented, with new studies suggesting that outdoor cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals in the U.S. each year. Feral cats account for about 69 percent of those deaths. That's a significant majority, but the figures still add up to pet cats allowed outdoors being responsible for between 434 million and 1.145 billion birds deaths a year in the U.S.

And few argue with the impact of an outdoor lifestyle on cat longevity, with indoor cats enjoying lifespans three to five times longer than their outdoor pals.

But you don't hear as much about the public health impact of outdoor cats, and ABC and Hillsborough hope to change that with PSAs like this one, which talks about the link between outdoor cats and toxoplasmosis infection:


Toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by contact with cat feces, can cause miscarriage, birth defects, and memory loss in the elderly. Immune-compromised people can die from toxoplasmosis infections. While the pathogen responsible, Toxoplasma gondii, rarely causes ill effects in the cats it infects, those cats can easily pass the disease on to human household members. And keeping your cat indoors can reduce her chance of Toxoplasma infection by 75 percent.

Toxoplasmosis has also been implicated in die-offs of other wildlife, including California sea otters.

The three other videos in the series cover safety for wildlife and for the cats themselves.

"Reducing your cat's exposure to outside safety and disease threats, and reducing cat-inflicted mortality on wildlife, are things that I think everyone will agree are positive steps," said ABC President Dr. George Fenwick. "We hope these PSAs create greater awareness of the benefits that cat owners realize when they keep their pet indoors."

Support Provided By
Read More
Students at Manchester Ave. Elementary School have virtual meet and greet with teacher

State Deal Encourages School Reopening by April; but Local Resistance Looms

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced a multibillion-dollar deal today aimed at enticing schools to resume in-person instruction for young students by April 1, but it's unlikely L.A. Unified will meet that date.
(LEFT) ER nurse Adwoa Blankson-Wood pictured near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, wearing scrubs and a surgical mask; By October, Blankson-Wood was required to don an N-95 mask, protective goggles, a head covering and full PPE to interact with patients.

As A Black Nurse at The Pandemic's Frontlines, I've Had A Close Look at America's Racial Divisions

Most of the time, I was able to frame conversations within the context of the virus and not race, telling patients that we were doing our best, trying to be the heroes they kept calling us. But I was dying inside .... It was easier to find solace in my job, easier to be just a nurse, than to be a Black nurse.
The City of L.A. is staging a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic in Chinatown for senior citizens, in an attempt to improve access to the vaccine among vulnerable populations.

Long-Awaited COVID-19 Vaccine Access Expanding in L.A. County Monday

Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 vaccination effort will expand vastly Monday, but health officials said today those workers will have to be patient as vaccine supplies remain limited and staff are trained to ensure only eligible people receive shots.