To the editor: Congratulations on your
timely front page article April 3, “Cats vs. Birds.” Protecting cats — and thereby other creatures — by keeping cats leashed or in cat-proof outdoor areas is becoming accepted in many areas just as keeping dogs leashed/con- trolled became accepted by the 1960s.
I do, however, think that this is not Cats vs. Birds so much as a mutual protection effort. The average lifespan of an indoor/protected cat is between 12 and 20 years; the average lifespan of a cat who roams freely is 2 to 3 years (www.paws.org/happy-indoor -cat.html). Dangers include
disease, cat fights, predation (from coyotes, dogs, owls, etc.), poison and accidents (including cars — I watched an Island County deputy sher- iff removing a dead cat from Highway 525 two days ago and often see dead cats in roadside ditches). How can cats who are frightened or injured be “happy” outside?
Cats also invade neighbors’ yards; as Whidbey becomes more crowded, this becomes more of an issue as it has in populated areas around the country.
I hope that Island County will soon mandate the same restrictions for cats as for dogs to protect cats and our native birds, chipmunks, squirrels, lizards, etc. It was in 1949 that the first law (in Illinois) was passed to “...provide Protection to Insectivorous Birds by Restraining Cats.” Although that law was vetoed by the governor at the time, many places have since
passed laws. Linda Bainbridge was spot
on about the fact that cats are not a native species and that billions of our birds are killed every year by cats (and that means a lot more insects). I look forward to hearing more about Bainbridge’s organiza- tion Cats Indoors — sounds great!
MARIAN BLUE Clinton