Abby Powell wants to conduct a study on outdoor cats’ effect on their environment, and if wearing a colorful, scrunchie-like collar around their neck will impact it.
In an effort to protect the birds, reptiles, and small mammals that usually fall prey to cats, Powell has also allowed us to see cats in cute, rainbow collars roaming around our neighbourhoods.
The debate of keeping your cat indoors is quite polarizing, and the issue of what to do with unwanted cats roaming around the area is also heavily debated. Some argue that it’s good for cats to let them hunt, but others highlight that they are a danger to the environment. According to Peter Marra, a researcher at the Smithsonian, cats are responsible for the death of tens of millions of prey animals in the United States, either by hunting or spread of dangerous diseases like Toxoplasmosis. He advocates for bringing cats indoors, but the issue of free-roaming unowned cats is a more delicate problem to deal with.
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This is Angel Kitty and she was on her way to lesser nickname for hunting too many birds. Since wearing Birdsbesafe, she has not caught a bird nor brought one in the house, say her owners. And they think she looks regal. I would have to agree! #birdsbesafe #catsofinstagram
Powell’s study is an extension of research done in New York and Australia in previous years. They found that 3.4 times more birds were killed when the collars were not in use, and it was even greater in the spring. Powell wants to find out if a similar collar system will work in the South, where the birds have longer breeding seasons. She needs 50 cats to test the effectiveness of the Birdsbesafe collar, and the experiment will be run for eight weeks.
Cats’ prey, especially birds, are cued by bright colors. In theory, the collars should help alert surrounding animals that a predator is around. The cats are either fed by their owners or (usually) fed by the community, so there’s no need for them to hunt to eat; their playtime just hurts the environment. If the study is successful, just like its previous versions, then the collar could be a good solution to the debate of keeping cats outdoors.
With the collars, prey animals can see any incoming danger, and we can see adorable cats wearing colorful accessories roaming around the neighborhood. In all, it seems like the Birdbesafe collars are a good sight to see, whether you’re the prey or a cat-loving human.