According to the Animal Welfare department in an interview with New Mexico PBS, it is illegal to let your cats roam free in the city of Albuquerque.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the Heart Ordinance requests residents to keep their pets from roaming past their property; in fact, people can be fined if their animals are repeatedly found roaming outside someone’s property.
The Audubon Society estimates that a single cat can kill up to 20 birds per year, which they say greatly affects urban environments for migratory birds that use the Rio Grande to travel. Furthermore, with bird sanctuaries such as Valle de Oro in Albuquerque, the city has always been a migratory hub of urban wildlife.
The benefits of birds flocking to the city range from keeping the bug population down, with some bird species eating 20-30 mosquitos per hour, to bringing the bird watching community to New Mexico’s nature tourism offerings and feeding the economy.
Animal Welfare recommends keeping cats indoors so they’re safe. Additionally, their life span can be greatly affected by diseases or poisons, predators, or possibly even being hit by a vehicle. Alternatively, people could train their cats to be walked on a leash, but many people also build “Catios” using simple supplies like chicken wire to give pets an outdoor space without being able to get out.
A link to some Catio ideas can be found here. For more info check out the NM PBS interview, click here.