Why CatBib?

The Catbib stop cats from killing.

The CatBib was invented by a bird-feeding, cat-loving gardener in Springfield, Oregon, after collars with bells and other deterrents didn’t work. This unique, patented product protects all wild birds (including songbirds) and other wildlife whenever your cat is outdoors.

The CatBib is estimated to have saved over 1.8 million birds since it’s introduction. That’s a lot of birds!


How CatBib came to Australia

A story from retired Vet, David Wood BVSc.MRCVS.

In early 2007 I was working at a clinic in the Perth Hills where the principal vet was an expert on birds and wildlife. The Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre was a regular client, and June Butcher would bring in a procession of injured birds, bobtails and bandicoots for us to deal with – June later received an OAM for her contribution to wildlife care. Injuries from cat bites were very commonly presented. Often, we could successfully treat the marsupials like possums and bandicoots, but injured birds were more challenging. Aside from broken bones and crush injuries, the sharp canine teeth of cats would often penetrate the birds' air sacs resulting in infections and pneumonia – both tough to treat. The mortality rate in birds from cat bites was high.

Around this time, I read an article in a Vet journal about a trial by Murdoch University of a device from the USA called the CatBib. The results were very positive, with a reduction in predation of birds of over 80% and 50% for small mammals – far better than the traditional bell. The CatBib was invented by a lady in Oregon who loved cats and birds too. Originally fashioned from an old leather boot, it soon morphed into a lightweight, brightly coloured neoprene bib which was then patented. Sounded like a good idea to me.

I contacted Sue, the inventor and said I thought we should have this in Australia and offered to distribute it for her here and in New Zealand. The first parcel of bibs arrived shortly after, and we were off!

It took 2 ½ years to break even and achieve a modest profit. Still, since then, thousands of bibs have been sold to cat owners in Australia and New Zealand. I would estimate the lives of well over a million birds and countless small wildlife saved as a result. That was the original aim and remains so - I have no plans to retire on the proceeds from the CatBib, but the ongoing feedback from cat people delighted with the results always far exceeded my hopes.

The money-back guarantee which comes with every bib sold has only been requested three times in sixteen years, and one of those was from a lady whose cat sadly passed away before the bib arrived in the post. The product has been improved over the years, responding to research on the visual spectrum of birds with a rainbow design now using eye mimicry – a universal warning sign in nature, to enhance the effect.
With increasing concern around the effect of pet cats on Australian birds and wildlife, often threatened by habitat loss and other pressures, the CatBib remains the most effective and cat-friendly device on the market to reduce the impact of our furry companions on this unique environment.

- David Wood BVSc.MRCVS. Retired Vet from the Perth Hills.

Origin of CatBib

In 1998, I was so disgusted with my 3 cats catching birds, that I locked them inside. I made a promise to the birds I would not let them outdoors ever again. After 3 weeks of lockdown, we were all miserable. Cats and humans were very stressed and the house reeked of cat urine (from fights and spraying). I had to come up with a solution to the problem.

I was desperate. I thought if I could put a wall between the cat and the bird it was stalking that would stop the killing. My first prototype was a piece of my husband’s old leather boot. I attached it to the cat’s collar and let that one cat out. It worked! No birds killed for a week.

The poor cat was so uncomfortable with this stiff piece of leather on her collar that I began to search for a softer material that still worked. I ended up with neoprene as it is water proof, flexible, but has enough structure to act as a “wall” coming between the cat and the bird. 

- CatBib Inventor, a bird-feeding, cat-loving gardener from Oregon, USA.

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