There are 2.4 billion birds killed each year by outdoor cats, which are now the second largest cause of bird deaths in the U.S. Five hundred and thirty-nine bird species have gone extinct in the last 50 years, and 1,300 species are endangered. There are other causes, to be sure. Loss of habitat, window strikes, but one very preventable significant cause is outdoor cats.

I am a cat lover. I have had 10 in my lifetime and two are current pets. But I do not let them outside. Environmentalists have implored cat owners to keep them inside. Cats are considered an invasive species, not from the U.S., so the harm they cause is tremendous.

I hope I can convince just one cat family in Oak Park or River Forest, who believes they are doing the right thing letting their cat go outside, to get a “catio” or talk to their vet about other ways to stimulate their pet other than letting them outside.

Roberta Jannsen
Master naturalist
Oak Park

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