Two cats peer out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

Two cats peer out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

Outdoor cats one of the biggest causes of wildlife injuries

Spring a vulnerable time for fledlings, small mammals says wildlife centre

Helping out nature’s spring babies might be as easy as ignoring your cat’s meows to get outside.

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) says springtime means newborn and migratory birds often become the victims of predatory free-roaming cats, who puncture the flesh of little birds and mammals with bacteria-ridden teeth, causing infections and internal injuries.

RELATED: Leash your cat or face a $150 fine in Victoria

RELATED: Victoria Natural History Society asks district to keep cats under control

“Often times its fledgling birds or young mammals that are being caught, so they don’t have a great immune system yet, just like people,” said assistant manager Meghan Hatch. “Cats have a ton of bacteria in their mouth and when they bite down on an animal, their fangs act as an injector, injecting that bacteria directly into the tissue…”

Hatch said that with species diversity declining already, cats preying on vulnerable critters can be a real problem.

“The statistics show a crazy amount of birds caught by cats every year just in North America,” she said. “It’s in the millions.”

A cat peers out from inside a “catio” created by Beautiful World Living Environments. Wild ARC says huge numbers of birds and other small creatures are injured or killed by outdoor cats. (Facebook/Beautiful World Living Environments)

“[Cats are] not a natural predator for these birds,” she added. “It’s an introduced predatory species that is having a huge impact on all kinds of populations of a variety of different species of birds – from little hummingbirds to larger birds like robins – they don’t discriminate.” 

But Hatch emphasized that it doesn’t mean cats can’t enjoy the outdoors.

She recommends training your feline friend to walk on a harness or investing in a “catio” – an enclosed outdoor area that lets your cat enjoy nature without harming wildlife, themselves, and your wallet.

In Victoria, city bylaws mandate that cats need to be in the owner’s control in public spaces, and violations come with a $150 fine.

For those who choose to ignore city bylaws, Wild ARC also sells cat bibs – Neoprene, Velcro-attached bibs that fly up into the cats face when they pounce on prey – rendering them unable to find their victim and giving the bird or critter time to escape. Bells don’t always do the trick, she adds, since the sound doesn’t mean much to birds, and cats can learn how to move quietly anyways.

Hatch said cat victims are included in the 80 per cent of cases caused by human interference seen at Wild ARC.

“It’s humans who are letting them out there – they wouldn’t normally be out in the wild.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
Case of COVID-19 confirmed in School District 69 (Qualicum)

Individual was at PASS/Woodwinds, with a last date of attendance of Jan. 22

The Qualicum Beach Cafe team: from left, host owner Eli Brennan, general manager Amy Turner, host owner/chef Alan Tse, chef de cuisine Todd Bright, sous chef Jack Mitchell and pastry chef/baker Noemie Girard. (Submitted photo)
Fresh start: Qualicum Beach Cafe set to offer West Coast dining

New operators bring wealth of culinary, hospitality experience

Professional hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach goalie Connor LaCouvee joins AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners

Backstop returns to North America after stint in Slovakia

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Most Read