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Birdsbesafe's bright colors simply, but effectively, give most songbirds enough time to notice the cat and fly away. Songbirds have unique eye anatomy that makes bright colors appear extra-bright, even in low light such as at dawn. Birds may see the cat wearing Birdsbesafe's colors from a distance, and gain enough time to fly to safety.
A recent United States-based, independent scientific study has predicted that Birdsbesafe® cat collar covers will reduce the number of birds caught by 87% annually.
This figure matches with over seven years of customer feedback from the U.S., Canada, and Europe!
This level of effectiveness means that almost all, but not quite all, birds will be protected from your cat's hunting. See below for some detail on common exceptions. If you are in New Zealand or Australia, see details below for your region's birds and cats.
For more information on the U.S.-led scientific study, see this page in Cats and Birds section.
There are three components for success for Birdsbesafe cat collar covers.
Fledglings just out of the nest may, for instance, not be able to fly away successfully for a few days when they are learning to fly and spend more than the usual amount of time on the ground. Such birds may not be adequately protected. During times of the year when you notice fledglings in your yard, please contain your cat indoors if possible.
Songbirds, also called Passiformes, are an "order" of birds. (Passiformes is from the Latin for "perching birds.") These birds include many common backyard birds in North America, such as chickadees, robins, finches, and warblers.
Songbirds' vision has been studied and these species have a fourth cone for color vision, as well as extra rods that help the birds perceive bright colors extremely well--even in low light conditions like at dawn.
Birds that are not songbirds, such as ducks, hawks, gulls, owls, woodpeckers, grouse, pigeons and doves do not, as far as we know, have this fourth cone type nor do they see bright colors with the same acuity. So non-songbirds do not seem to be protected when cats wear Birdsbesafe collar covers. Of course, many of these non-songbirds are not common prey of cats!
Hummingbirds: The patterns and colors that we choose seem to be nearly problem-free for hummingbirds.
If you have a bird-feeding station and birds feed on the ground, these birds may be extra-vulnerable -- especially if there are shrubs or other vegetation to conceal the presence of a hunting cat. Try to keep areas around bird-feeders clear for about 10' around.
As a result of almost eight years of customer feedback about how well Birdsbesafe covers work for cats across North America and beyond, we have developed exclusive guidelines for fabric patterns and colors.
We currently have an exclusive understanding of which colors and patterns work best to protect birds. We have tested more than 100 fabric designs. We have eliminated trial and error, and we use important principles to guide our choices of fabric design.
Our principles of design have been tested well across all of North America and a strong sample of European locations, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Our knowledge in this area is unique. It's crucial to how well the product works.
The patterns and colors of our products seem to be nearly problem-free for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds can see bright colors well and use special color vision to find flowers and other food sources. The birds will see Birdsbesafe® fabric's bright colors, but then also see the shape of the cat's head and body at the same time. The cat is a predator, and it will usually be avoided if noticed.
The Birdsbesafe fabric tube about 20" long and 2" across (if laid flat). You insert a breakaway cat collar inside of it and then buckle both parts onto the cat, leaving room for it to fit comfortably.
Both parts release and fall off when snagged or under pressure. Use only with a breakaway cat collar cover to maintain this level of safety. We've offer for sale several well-designed cat collars that pair well with our product. You can also read our blog post about cat collars.
Cats can eat, drink, and sleep comfortably while wearing Birdsbesafe cat collar covers. Because of how it flares out away from the cat's neck, it's not bulky or heavy or in the cat's way.
The cat can wear it all the time (many do!) or only when the cat goes outdoors.
How comfortable is it? We know it's hard to believe that fussy cats will wear this neckwear, but the fabric collar cover pads the buckle hardwear very nicely. Cats that previously rejected wearing a cat collar often easily adjust to wearing a Birdsbesafe cover. We provide tips on getting your cat comfortable wearing it, when you order.
It's possible that a Birdsbesafe cover will get lost because the breakaway buckle might release in outdoor activity. Some cats will lose a cat collar cover quickly, the first time, then not again for months and months. Other cats have no problems keeping the collar cover on. It depends on the cat's activities and the collar buckle design.
Some cats will keep a stretchy breakaway cat collar on longer than they will keep others on, so try that style if your cat is prone to losing collars. We sell a nice selection!
The best fit is a fairly snug, yet comfortable fit, leaving a fingertip's width, but not enough for the cat to pry the collar off with a paw. More tips are included on product packaging, including how to make the best start to get your cat used to the collar cover.
For the most part, cats behave about the same, with respect to hunting behaviors, when wearing the Birdsbesafe cat collar cover--especially at first. Expect your cat's hunting instincts to still be working.
One study, in Australia, showed that cats did not roam farther when wearing it. Some cats did spend shorter amounts of time away from home, perhaps returning home earlier because of being hungry.
After a cat wears Birdsbesafe covers for a number of months, some cat owners report to us that cats seem to get less interested in hunting. Our own cat, George, started to stay indoors, after a year or so, and neglected his dawn hunting hours. His new routine was to sleep in! Other cat owners have reported the same change over time.
Cats generally do not like to waste energy and so they may decide that their hunting activity is not worth the energy.
Additionally, it is logical that local birds in your yard or vicinity may become very adept at spotting Birdsbesafe-wearing cats. The birds may raise alarm calls that warn other birds. We often hear about cats that have been unsuccessful in hunting birds for years and years, consistently.
Cats wearing Birdsbesafe collar covers can hunt mammals "normally." Rodents don't have the same eye features that the songbirds do. Expect the usual number of mice and other mammals to be caught.
This expectation is backed up by customer experience and the two science studies.
A scientific study in Australia showed some protection for lizards when cats wore Birdsbesafe cat collar covers. You can see more information here. It is postulated that the lizards have color vision abilities that draw their attention to the cat's Birdsbesafe collar cover.
We are not aware of any potential predators of cats that would be attracted by the bright colors of our products. Scientists note the specific eye anatomy for enhanced color vision is present only in songbirds, lizards, and possibly some deep ocean creatures.
Dogs are commonly called "colorblind", which is not strictly true, but we are conscientious in our choice of colors so that canines, wild and domestic, do not see our product's colors or patterns well. Dogs also do not see with great clarity from a distance. They rely more on their remarkable sense of smell and excellent hearing.
Owls hunt by sound and motion detection, and do not see bright colors well. Similarly, eagles, hawks, and other birds of prey are adept at detecting motion from a distance, rather than spotting colors.
As always, your outdoor-going cat may be at rick of predation by wild animals in your area regardless of wearing bright colors. If you have concern about your pet's safety outdoors, you may want to discuss local wildlife risks with your veterinarian, wildlife specialists, or neighbors. Predation risk from coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, fischers, or other animals may be present in your region. In some regions, keeping your cat indoors is the only safe option.
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