Leashes save lives part 1

Cat on a leash on top of some rocks with dead leaves and grass

Those of us with companion animals may love the wildlife we see outdoors but there’s a special place in our hearts for our dogs and cats.  Some simple choices can keep those family members and wildlife safe. 

None other than Margaret Atwood has published a series of books – graphic novels or comic books, in fact – on just this topic.  Angel Catbird is a superhero and the books highlight and celebrate the heroic and the simple things we can all do to keep cats and other animals safe.  In her Introduction to The Complete Angel Catbird, Atwood explains that she was inspired to create the series as she became “more and more immersed in the world of bird conservation.  I now had the burden of guilt from my many years of cat companionship, for my cats had gone in and out of the house, busying themselves with their cat affairs, which included the killing of small animals and birds.”

What It’s Like to Be a Bird by the renowned David Allen Sibley notes that “house cats are serious predators. It is estimated that cats kill more than a billion birds a year in North America (and even more small mammals).  Feral cats living in the wild are responsible for most of those bird deaths, but even well-fed pet cats kill hundreds of millions of birds every year.”

Being outdoors off-leash and unsupervised is also unsafe for cats.  “Outdoor cats live a fraction of the lifespan of indoor cats, as low as a third.  They frequently get hit by cars and are at much higher risk of contracting diseases, getting lost, fighting with wildlife and other cats, poisoning, and parasites,” reports Angel Catbird

Check out www.CatsAndBirds.ca, a project of Nature Canada, that has more tips on keeping both domestic cats and wildlife safe. 

And if you really want your cat to experience the outdoors, consider, keeping them on a leash.  Yes, a leash.  Just look at Tiger here, who gets a long, daily outdoor walk by the lake in West Toronto, where he’s become a local celebrity!


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