Modern problems require modern solutions, and while cats harassing wild animals and birds is nothing new, the CatBib is making waves along the Eurobodalla Shire.
CatBibs – an apron made from neoprene – is helping save local wildlife in the shire by hindering a cat’s efforts to hunt, interfering with their coordination.
The bib acts as a barrier between the cat and its prey and gets in the way when the cat pounces, which allows the split second needed for its prey to escape.
It also serves as a brightly coloured visual warning to hinder the cat’s ability to creep up on its prey.
More than 80 per cent of cats were stopped from catching birds, while small-animal predation was cut in half according to some studies, Eurobodalla Council’s natural resource officer Courtney Fink-Downes said.
“Contrary to popular belief, cats hunt even when they are not hungry and roaming domestic cats are a significant conservation issue in Eurobodalla, with birds, lizards, frogs and native mammals like bandicoots and gliders at risk,” Ms Fink-Downes said.
“Made from wetsuit-like material, the removable bibs interfere with the coordination needed for successful hunting.
“Initially some people thought the cats looked a bit silly in their bibs but the response from the owners using them has been overwhelmingly positive – they no longer have to deal with possum entrails or piles of feathers on the kitchen floor!”
However, the bibs still allow cats the freedom to run, jump, groom and sleep, and it only comes between the cat and the bird at the last moment.
The Eurobodalla Shire Council has started an Australia-first program to distribute the bibs after a trial at Congo on the South Coast in 2013-14 showed they helped protect the local greater glider population.
The CatBibs are available for free to owners of microchipped and registered cats, and can be collected from local vets or mailed out.
For more information about Council’s CatBib program or to request a free CatBib, visit Eurobodalla Shire Council.
You can also contact the Council’s natural resource officer Courtney Fink-Downes on 4474 1310 or [email protected].