Birdsbesafe vs CatBib - Which is better in Aus & NZ?

Cat with Bird in mouth. AI generated.

A number of collar-mounted devices have been used to reduce predation of birds and wildlife by pet cats. The most common include:

  • Bells 
  • BirdsbeSafe
  • CatBib

All these have been subject to research by respected academics in the US, UK, and Australia to determine their effectiveness, measured by assessing the reduction in the number of birds, small animals and herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibia) observed to have been killed or injured by the cat owners. 

Bells – results vary, but overall, a reduction in predation of around 40% is widely reported. A problem with bells is that cats, being pretty smart, learn to move slowly and stealthily when hunting their prey and thus prevent their bell from ringing, which reduces effectiveness.

BirdsbeSafe is a collar cover consisting of a ruffle made of brightly coloured material, which makes the approaching cat more highly visible to its intended prey, providing a visual warning of its approach. This works better on birds (with good colour vision) than mammals with less developed colour vision.

Trial results showed a reduction in predation of birds by 61% in the US (69% in New York, 47% in Florida), 78% in England, but only 50% in Australia, where no effect was observed for small mammals.

Rocky wearing a CatBib

CatBib is a brightly coloured bib made of neoprene which attaches to the collar with a Velcro fastening. In addition to a visual warning, the bib gets in the way when the cat pounces, providing the split second needed for prey to escape. This dual mode of action may account for its effectiveness.

The Australian trial showed that CatBib stopped 81% of cats from catching birds, 45% for mammals and 33% for herpetofauna (frogs and reptiles)These research findings indicate that the CatBib, at least under Australian conditions, has the edge in terms of effectiveness, though the different options offer all cat owners a choice of ways to help stop the harm caused to our birds and wildlife by roaming pet cats.

Finally, it should be noted that only 23% of prey killed by cats is brought home, so for every bird found on the doorstep, there are three more in the bush. 

Related references from scientific literature can be found here.

 

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