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Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Cats – Cuddly Pets Indoors, a Threat to Birds, Wildlife, Health Outdoors

Nov 7, 2017 (All day)

View Presentation Here


Cat lovers in the U.S. own about 90 million cats, bringing much joy to tens of millions of families.  There are also, however, an estimated 60-90 million unowned free-ranging cats in the U.S., cats which may be hit by vehicles, preyed upon by other animals, and can contract – and spread – a variety of diseases.  Global impacts of cat predation are documented: a minimum of 33 extinctions and a decline of at least 142 species of birds, reptiles, and mammals; mortality of an estimated average of 2.4 billion birds (~69% from unowned cats), 12.3 billion mammals, and hundreds of millions of reptiles and amphibians. Cats can also pose a threat to public health from potential transmission of diseases, most significantly Toxoplasmosis.  Attend this EPN breakfast program to learn more about these issues and perhaps more importantly, what people can do to ensure cats are well cared for and what can be done to reduce wildlife and health impacts of unowned and outdoor cats. (Data from Princeton University Press.)


Peter Marra

Peter Marra , PhD, Director, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C. 

Co-author (with Chris Santella) of Cat Wars – The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer, 2016

Peter P. Marra has written more than 175 scientific publications, is the coeditor of Birds of Two Worlds, and directs the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Chris Santella is the author of many books, including the Fifty Places travel and outdoor series and The Tug Is the Drug. His writing has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and Trout.

Learn more about Dr. Marra 

Cat Wars

Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Deadly Killer (2016, Princeton University Press) paints a revealing picture of a complex global problem—and proposes solutions that foresee a time when wildlife and humans are no longer vulnerable to the impacts of free-ranging cats.