March 16th 2013 from National Audubon:

You might have heard about an op-ed that was published in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday by long-time Audubon Magazine contributor Ted Williams. His central point was about the ineffectiveness of trap-neuter-return programs and the effects of feral cats on bird populations. In the course of the original piece, which has since been edited by the Orlando Sentinel, Ted also mentioned what some construed to be a do-it-yourself recipe for eliminating feral cats. And because of Ted's stated affiliation with Audubon in the original piece, some of those same readers assumed that we were endorsing this approach. We don't.

The National Audubon Society is unequivocal on the important issue of cat and bird safety: We reject the idea of people taking matters into their own hands in ways that can harm neighbors’ pets – or any cats. 

Audubon strongly believes that cats belong indoors. That’s safer for them and for the birds. Feral and free-roaming cats are subject to injury, disease, and predation. We urge communities around the country to adopt effective measures to counter problems suffered and caused by cats and to vigorously enforce existing rules and procedures.

Ted is not an Audubon employee. He is a freelance writer and a committed conservationist who has written for Audubon Magazine for 33 years. He writes personal opinion pieces for numerous publications, including the Orlando Sentinel.  

We all understand the threats cats present to birds. Cats – particularly feral cats – are a leading cause of bird deaths. A recent report by Smithsonian scientists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion a year, underscoring the need for effective solutions to protect wild birds and cats alike.

Audubon has long supported a “Cats Indoors” campaign urging pet owners to keep their cats indoors for the safety of both their pets and birds. We have guidelines on how to keep both birds and cats safe at We've had this guidance on our web site for years and we think it’s good, common sense.

In the past day, feral cat activist groups have circulated online petitions rallying supporters to contact Audubon. You may receive inquiries as well. Chapter Leaders are the front lines in communities across the country. I'd urge you to rally your communities to enforce local regulations to the full extent of the law.


David Yarnold

President & CEO

National Audubon Society

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