Cat owners in the Eurobodalla are being encouraged to use a ‘CatBib’ as part of the region’s push to protect native wildlife.
Council says CatBibs are scientifically proven to stop more than 80 percent of cats from catching birds and have been found to cut the hunting of small-animals by almost half.
Local wildlife carer Sandy Collins says the CatBib could be an effective conservation tool if more owners embraced the technology.
“Cats and wildlife don’t mix,” she says.
“The bib doesn’t otherwise impact the cat.”
Ms Collins says the shorter days of autumn and winter increase the 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 explains.
“Preventing attacks is key. Carers take all wildlife injured by cats to the vet for antibiotics, but 95 percent of those will still die.”
Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Natural Resources Officer Courtney Fink-Downes says CatBibs are 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,” she says.
“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 says, 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 says.
“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. More info is available on Council’s website.