Kauai News

Help protect Kaua‘i’s birds by keeping cats inside

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Kaua‘i is home to many endemic and endangered birds, and they face many threats. However, one of the easiest ways to help protect them and their native ecosystems is by keeping feline friends inside.

Moli (Laysan albatross) mombrella. Courtesy of Hob Osterlund.

In an effort to cultivate the importance of cats belonging indoors, the Kaua‘i Humane Society is partnering with Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture to offer a variety of incentives and educational opportunities to the community.

“The Kaua‘i Humane Society focuses on dogs and cats, but we share the land and environment with lots of animals, from yellow-faced bees to Laysan albatrosses to green sea turtles,” Kaua‘i Humane Society Executive Director Nicole Schafer Crane said in a press release. “It is important to the Kaua‘i Humane Society to find ways to support the protection of our island … and all the animals that reside on it, and these partnerships help us accomplish that goal.”

Having an indoor cat not only helps protect native wildlife, but keeping your feline inside eliminates the risks of it being hit by cars, going missing, being attacked by dogs or by people, picking up diseases or becoming injured or trapped, ensuring your pet cat lives longer.

As a part of their educational campaign, the Kaua‘i Humane Society and Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture offered two workshops in 2022. All information from these workshops, including how to keep indoor cats healthy, happy and enriched, can be found here.


Additionally, the Kaua‘i Humane Society encourages every adopter and current cat owner to sign the Pono Cat Parent Pledge. The pledge promoting indoor cats was created by a working group with members from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hawaiian Humane Society, Kaua‘i Humane Society, Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture and multiple other agencies.

Cat trees and scratchers help indoor cats meet basic needs and enjoy living an indoor life. Photo courtesy of Kauaʻi Humane Society.

The Kaua‘i Humane Society will put every pledge into a raffle drawing, with a winner to be selected at the end of February. The prize package will include a vertical cat scratcher, cozy cat bed, organic catnip and a crinkle play mat.

Cat owners can sign the pledge at the Kaua‘i Humane Society location in Līhuʻe or online.

Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture Hawaiʻi Conservation Coordinator Helen Raine said Kauaʻi is home to some of the rarest seabirds and water birds in the world.


“We have five threatened and endangered water birds on Kauaʻi; both the ʻalaeʻula (Hawaiian common gallinule) and the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck) populations are estimated to number less than 1,000 individual birds worldwide, with most of them on Kauaʻi,” Raine said. “The ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian coot) and the aeʻo (Hawaiian stilt) have around 2,000 individuals across the state. And there are just over 3,000 nēnē (Hawaiian goose).”

Because these birds evolved on the isolated islands of Hawaiʻi without mammalian predators, they never had to develop anti-predator strategies. That means they are quite literally sitting ducks when it comes to depredation by cats.

“Cats aren’t the only pressure these birds face … but at least we can more easily do something about keeping cats indoors,” Raine said in the press release, adding the birds also are threatened by vehicle strikes, powerline collisions, disease and habitat loss.

The partnership included commissioning Kauaʻi muralist Trysen Kaneshige to create eye-catching art around the Kaua‘i Humane Society location in Līhuʻe. The Līhuʻe Petco is also participating and will soon place Kaua‘i Humane Society-approved indoor enrichment signs in the store by products the organization recommends offering indoor cats.


Crane said creating an indoor cat environment and spaying and neutering are the best ways cat owners can do their part in protecting wildlife.

“Pets that are not neutered or spayed are more likely to roam, which not only puts pets in danger but can also bring pets and wildlife close together, leading to the potential injury or death of wildlife,” Crane said in the press release. “By spaying and neutering, we can also reduce unwanted litters that may become free-roaming dogs and cats. These free-roaming dogs and cats also have the potential to hurt wildlife, like native birds.”

For more information about the Kauaʻi Humane Society, click here and follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also find the humane society on TikTok with the handle @kauaihumane and check out the organization’s YouTube channel.

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