News, Culture and NPR for Central & Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
91.7FM Alpena and WCML-TV Channel 6 Alpena are off the air. Click here to learn more.

Shelters across the state urge pet owners to keep their cats inside

Flickr | Anaa Yoo

Experts say more than 75-thousand feral cats are euthanized in Michigan every year. Now, animal shelters and rescues are calling for new ways to control the feral cat problem and keep domesticated cats safe.

The American Bird Conservancy recently defended a peer-review study reporting that outdoor cats kill approximately two-point-four billion birds every year. The organization also called for cats to become exclusively indoor pets, and for solutions to feral cat overpopulation.

Abby Engel is the manager at Pet Angel Adoption and Rescue in Saginaw County. She agreed with the American Bird Conservancy that cats are best off as indoor pets, citing the dangers domesticated cats face in the wild.

“When they go outside, they can get a multitude of different illnesses or diseases, even if your cat’s vaccinated,” she said, “If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, they’re probably going to be increasing the population, your cat can get hit by a car, there’s just too much danger for cats who haven’t been brought up in the wild to be in the wild.”

Engel said a technique called trap-neuter-release is the most humane way to control the feral cat population.

“T.N.R. is by far the best way to help them live in harmony, there’s lots of great places in Michigan that will do it inexpensively,” she said, “Any cat that has their ear tipped, so the very tip of their ear has been cut off, is a T.N.R.-ed cat, so they’ve already been spayed and neutered and vaccinated and they’re already taken care of.”

Engel said many veterinarians and shelters in Michigan will do feral cat neutering inexpensively or for free.