A bright idea to protect local wildlife from cats
Bright-coloured collars that could reduce the amount of prey caught by cats will be trialled in a joint Victoria University of Wellington and Wellington City Council project.
The collar covers—a tube of brightly-coloured fabric which slips over a cat's collar— are designed to make hunting cats more visible to birds.
"Many birds have advanced colour vision and see bright colours especially well, even in low light," says Victoria University researcher Dr Heidy Kikillus.
"The collar covers have been tested overseas with promising results, and we would like to investigate if they have the same success in New Zealand."
Domestic cat owners are being invited to take part in the study, which will be conducted over summer.
"Participants will be provided with a collar and attachable cover from United States-based company Birdsbesafe, and are asked to keep a record of the prey caught both with and without the collar over an 8-week period," says Dr Kikillus.
The results from the study will be collated and analysed, and may be used as part of a more comprehensive study of cat behaviour in Wellington.
"Cats have received a lot of attention in the media due to their potential negative impact on native wildlife, and it will be interesting to see if the collar covers have an impact," says Dr Kikillus.
"We've been delighted at the level of interest from cat owners, and we look forward to including them in this study. It's a neat opportunity to partner with the community to learn more about cats together."