- Pets and Animals
Save a Bird with a Cat Bib
How to Save the Native Birds in your Garden
Do you ever wonder how cats can catch birds when birds can fly and we can't?
It's been a while since I brought down a bird. These days I have a little trouble jumping onto a kitchen chair but a few years back I was one of the best hunters around. That's because I'm a predator. It's part of my nature. I'm hard wired for stealth and slaughter.
I spent years with bells around my neck but I picked up the trick of slithering on my belly with the bells tucked under my chin and the last sound a sparrow would hear was the wild jingle as I pounced.
The woman who feeds me always kept me in at night, and stopped me being outside at dawn and dusk too. But did it work? The curfews, the possum shields on the trees and the bell collections didn't save every bird I came across.
If this bib were available in my youth the bird population would have been a lot safer.
Make it hard to catch birds
Cats are, on the whole, generous creatures. We often bring our catches home as presents for our loved ones. We know you never learned how to hunt properly and would appreciate the opportunity to practice your skills, so why you make such an almighty fuss is beyond our understanding.
I must confess I once brought home choice prizes to demonstrate my incredible talents. I quickly learned it was a waste of time.
There's no point in punishing a cat for killing birds. You just have to make it harder for us.
The Cat Bib
Cuts back on Stealth
The bib hangs from your collar and stops you from catching birds.
It works by disrupting our sense of timing and coordination, so we can't be so stealthy any more. It doesn't interfere with any other activities.
Don't worry, it's safe. A cat can still climb trees, scratch up some kitty litter, scratch up your couch and all the other cat goodness you've come to expect.
To put it simply, the bib gets in the way just as a cat strikes out. Additionally, it also functions as a colourful visual warning.
Have a look at the video of a Cat Bib in action on Cat Goods, the originator of the bib.
Get the Cat Bib in Australia
There's an authorised Australian Distributor
Domestic cats kill millions of birds and small marsupials every year in Australia. CatBib can help reduce the carnage and restore the natural balance in yours and your neighbour's back yard..
CatBib Australia has the bib for under $17 AUD
Tips for your Garden - Save some birds!
- Put a bell on the collars of cats. It must be correctly fitted and have a quick-release mechanism for the cat to free itself should it become snagged.
- Cats should always be well-fed and cared for. This encourages us to stay at home.
- Avoid putting food on the ground, but use a bird table where cats can't reach it.
- Place feeders high off the ground but away from surfaces from which a cat could jump.
- Place spiny plants or an uncomfortable surface around the base of the feeding station to prevent a cat sitting underneath.
- Put chicken wire around birdbaths.
- Plant wildlife-friendly vegetation, like prickly bushes and thick climbers in the garden? These should be close enough to where birds feed to provide cover, but not so close that cats can use it to stalk birds
- Put nest boxes where cats can't reach them and can't sit close to them (sitting near them stops the parent birds from getting to the box).
The Classic Cat Stalk
All Cats Kill Birds
People don't know most of the time
Your cat may be killing more birds than you think.
An ordinary cat, even one without my former glorious hunting skills, can catch about ten birds a year. If that doesn't sound like very many, consider that there are 2.5 million cats in Australia and a conservative estimate puts this at 160,000 birds killed by cats every day.
The UK figures show that cats catch up to 255 million annually. In USA the number of birds killed is over one billion each year..
These are the numbers of prey items known to have been caught. It will never be known how many more were caught by cats but weren't brought home or how many escaped but subsequently died.
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What do you make of these cat bibs? I've never worn one and certainly don't intend to start. Nowadays I don't stalk birds, but watch them and dream of times long ago.