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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Keep cats indoors or in outside runs to reduce predation of wild mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects on potential prey mammals of keeping cats indoors or in outside runs. This study was in the UK.



  • Survival (1 study): One replicated study in the UK found that keeping domestic cats indoors at night reduced the number of dead or injured mammals that were brought home.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated study in 1997 in urban and rural areas in the UK (Woods et al. 2003) found that domestic cats Felis catus that were kept indoors at night brought home fewer dead or injured mammals than cats that were allowed outside. The average number of mammals brought home by cats that were kept indoors at night (6.0) was less than the number delivered by those that were allowed outside (8.9). Between April and August, cat owners recorded the number of prey brought home by 90 cats which were kept inside at night and 192 cats which were allowed outside. Only cats living in households with no other cats were included in the study.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.