The Unwanted Gift

Meagan Breems, Assistant Education Instructor

Central Lake Ontario Conservation

Have you ever been surprised by a lifeless feathered friend left for you on your doorstep? A thoughtful (though perhaps repulsive) gift provided by your favourite feline? What you probably don’t realize is that each 'gift' your cat drags in represents only about 50 per cent of its triumphs; 196,000,000 is the annual estimate for the number of cat-caused bird deaths in Canada.

Right behind habitat loss, the largest issue for wild birds is our pet cats. Birds’ survival is literally in their paws (or your hands).

Not only will keeping your cat indoors save the birds, it may also save your cat. Disease and cars ensure that indoor cats live more than twice as long as their free-ranging counterparts.

Keeping your cat inside, but still hear a raspy “meow” from the bushes? Perhaps it’s the Gray Catbird, named for it’s feline-like call, sending along a thank you!

For the love of birds, please consider containing your kittens.


1. FAQ: Outdoor Cats and Their Effects On Birds (2016) Cornell Lab of Ornithology

2. Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives Nature Canada

3. Pet or Predator; The Choice is up to You Birds of the Wild

4. The Moral Cost of Cats by Rachel Gross (2016)

Healthy watersheds for today and tomorrow.
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