The cat is out of the bag – Eurobodalla Council’s CatBib program has been a success – and more cats are needed to take part in the world-first initiative.
Free CatBibs are now available through all Eurobodalla vets, as well as from the Eurobodalla Animal Welfare League, through Eurobodalla WIRES and Council’s animal management facility.
Council distributes free CatBibs to owners of microchipped and registered cats in an effort to reduce domestic cats hunting native animals and birds. They attach to cats’ collars, acting as a barrier between cats and their prey and interfere with the timing and coordination needed for successful hunting.
Council’s CatBib program was developed with input from universities and local animal welfare groups and residents who take part contribute to scientific research.
Council’s Natural Resource Supervisor Courtney Fink-Downes said the response to the program had been fantastic over the past year.
“The people who have participated have been overwhelmingly positive. We just want to get more bibs on more cats because we know they work,” she said.
“Murdoch University research has scientifically proven that CatBibs work to stop over 80 per cent of cats from catching birds and reduce small animal hunting by almost half.
“Wearing CatBibs also decreases cat fighting and cats are less likely to wander long distances and therefore less likely to get hit by a vehicle.”
Broulee’s Terie Edwards’ eight-year-old cat Socks regularly brought home hunted animals and birds – including protected gliders – before she saw an article about the CatBib program.
“I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to have to keep him inside all day,” she said.
“As soon as we got the CatBib he stopped bringing the animals home straight away. It doesn’t stop him from doing anything he enjoys – other than eat birds and gliders – and he’s still able to go outside.”
Terie encouraged other cat owners – particularly those who live in areas with high numbers of wildlife - to contact Council or go to their local vet and get a free CatBib.
“It’s not nice to know that your cat is killing local wildlife, especially protected gliders,” she said.
“As soon as anyone gets a cat or a kitten they should get a CatBib.”
If you are interested in receiving a free CatBib visit Council’s website www.esc.nsw.gov.au, contact Courtney Fink-Downes at Eurobodalla Council on 4474 7493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact your local vet.
Above: Broulee Cat owner Terie Edwards, Council’s Natural Resource Supervisor Courtney Fink-Downes and Socks, who has stopped killing local wildlife since he began wearing a CatBib last year.