Tired of looking at what the cat dragged in? Cat owners across the shire no longer have to deal with possum entrails or feather piles thanks to a simple but effective pet accessory.
The CatBib has been scientifically proven to stop more than 80 per cent of cats from catching birds and reduces small-animal hunting by almost half. Wildlife carer Sandy Collins said the CatBib could be an effective conservation tool if more owners embraced the technology.
“Cats and wildlife don’t mix,” said Ms Collins, who also fosters cats for the RSPCA.
“The bib doesn’t otherwise impact the cat. I would love to see cat residents of veterinary surgeries model them – a great way to start a conversation and show people how effective they are.”
Ms Collins said the shorter days of autumn and winter brought seasonal risks to wildlife.
“Now it gets dark earlier, the possums and gliders are coming out before cats get locked in for the night, putting the smaller species like gliders and ring-tail possums at risk,” she said.
“Preventing attacks is key. Carers take all wildlife injured by cats to the vet for antibiotics, but 95 per cent of those will still die.”
Eurobodalla Council’s natural resources officer Courtney Fink-Downes said CatBibs were free for owners of microchipped cats.
“The bibs attach to the cat’s collar and interfere with the timing and coordination needed to hunt successfully,” Ms Fink-Downes said.
“It doesn’t interfere with any of the cat’s other activities – they can still run, jump, eat and drink, climb stairs and trees.
“Although the cat can wear the bib all the time, it’s better to take it off when you bring the cat in at night. That way you can check the collar for wear and ensure the fit remains comfortable.”
Ms Fink-Downes said, contrary to popular belief, cats will hunt wildlife even when they are not hungry.
“Birds are an obvious target, but cats also hunt lizards, frogs, gliders and bandicoots,” she said.
“Hundreds of cat owners across the shire have already bibbed their cats, but we’re keen to get more onboard – it’s such a simple way to help protect our wildlife.”
CatBibs are available through all Eurobodalla vets, the Eurobodalla Animal Welfare League, and WIRES Mid South Coast branch, or by phoning Council on 4474 1000.
For more information on the CatBib program, visit the cat ownership page on Council’s website at www.esc.nsw.gov.au/pets, or contact Courtney Fink-Downes on 4474 7493.
Above: Wildlife carer Sandy Collins says 95 per cent of wildlife injured by cats, like this ringtail possum, will die. Cat owners are encouraged to help protect local wildlife by putting a free CatBib on their feline. Photo Sandy Collins.