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Cats on the loose top list for animal shelter injuries

One of the most threatening culprits taking a bite out of local wildlife hides behind a cute disguise and cuddly disposition.

“Free-roaming kitties,” said Mike Pratt, director of wildlife services for the West Sound Wildlife Shelter.

“They are good little hunters.”

Cats are to blame for the majority of animal patients brought in to the wildlife shelter, according to the shelter’s annual report. Felines in a frenzy accounted for more than the 150 admissions to the wildlife shelter during 2011-12.

“It’s a natural thing for them to do,” Pratt said. “A lot of kitties will bring critters inside. Their instinct tells them they have to catch things.”

It’s a considerable gap between the second highest cause for admissions — animals separated from parents. Those cases number just under 100.

But between ferrel cats and housebroken felines, cats pose a considerable threat to island wildlife, shelter officials said.

“Cats that roam free out there are catching birds, chipmunks, squirrels,” Pratt said.

He also noted that house cats should remain in the house, despite owners desire to let them roam free. Not only because of the harm they pose to wildlife, but also because of the dangers posed to them.

“Eagles are taking kitties left and right,” Pratt said.

There are other dangers as well, he said.

“They also are coming across poisons like poison left out for rats; cats get into that.”

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