AAV Resolution on Free-roaming Cats
Whereas: Domestic cats (Felis domesticus) are a nonnative introduced species wherever they occur;
Whereas: Free-roaming (stray and owned) cats have had well-documented significant impacts on local wildlife populations and are an important cause of the decline of neotropical migrants;
Whereas: Free-roaming (stray and owned) cats face a multitude of life-threatening hazards and diseases, present zoonotic risks to humans, and contribute to the growing problem of cat overpopulation and suffering;
Whereas: Managed cat colonies do not solve the problems of cat overpopulation and suffering, wildlife predation, or zoonotic disease transmission;
Whereas: Veterinarians are uniquely positioned to offer recommendations and counseling on indoor living as part of a feline preventative health program, and by offering this service can contribute to the improved welfare of cats;
Whereas: Veterinarians are increasingly concerned with preventative feline health care, yet are poorly trained to counsel cat owners to incorporate indoor living as part of a preventative health program;
Whereas: Promoting veterinary education which emphasizes responsible cat ownership, and supporting local ordinances that include mandatory licensing, vaccination, and neutering, can contribute to a reduction in the number of unwanted free-roaming cats;
Whereas: The Association of Avian Veterinarians seeks to preserve species and their natural habitats, and has adopted the philosophy that veterinarians should take a leading role in preventative care for all the earth;
Be it resolved that the AAV:
- Supports community efforts to develop local ordinances that a) require mandatory spay/neuter of all cats over six months of age unless the owner purchases an annual intact permit and/or breeders permit; b) require all cats to be licensed and vaccinated against rabies; c), discourage cat owners from allowing their cats to roam at large.
- Supports reducing the numbers of stray cats through humane capture (with placement in homes where appropriate) by local health departments, humane societies, and animal control officers.
- Supports actions by governmental wildlife agencies, public health agencies, and public and private organizations to ban or eliminate cat colonies on public lands in a humane manner and discourage feral cat colonies on private lands.
- Will work with veterinary educational institutions and other professional organizations - as well as within the AAV - to promote awareness, education, and research aimed at reducing the number of owned and stray free-roaming cats.