Summary: St. Lawrence University Science Study of Birdsbesafe Collar Covers

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Nancy Brennan

Birdsbesafe® cat collar covers were the focus of a field study at St. Lawrence University, as reported in the Global Ecology and Conservation Journal article here.

Methods

The study was conducted in the spring of 2013 and autumn of 2014, for 12-week periods in each season. Cats wore Birdsbesafe collar covers for half of the time of each field study, and for the other half of the time, the cats wore no collars at all. Owners of housecats collected the prey that cats brought home.

The number of prey caught when cats wore Birdsbesafe covers was compared to the number of prey caught when cats did not wear a collar. In our case, we are particularly interested in the discussion of birds caught, when cats wore Birdsbesafe covers and when they did not.

Results

Cats captured and returned home with between 3.4 x (fall portion of the study) and 19 x (spring portion of the study) fewer birds when wearing the Birdsbesafe® cat collar cover.

The Birdsbesafe® cat collar cover is usually used year-round by cat owners. In discussing the results of the St. Lawrence University study (as above), the authors wrote: "Across all cats in our study, the average cat will kill and bring home 0.72 birds per year with a Birdsbesafe®  CC [collar cover] and 5.56 birds per year without a CC,"(from the Discussion Section, first paragraph.)

An 87% Reduction in Birds Caught Expected Annually

Those results equate to an 87% reduction in birds caught when cats wear Birdsbesafe® covers, as opposed to when they do not, over a year's time.

Here is how to calculate percentage reduction in birds caught when cats wear Birdsbesafe covers: 5.56 minus 0.72 equals 4.84, which represents the reduction in the numbers of birds caught. To calculate a percentage, divide 4.84 by 5.56 to equal .87, which is equivalent to 87 percent.

Discussion

In the research paper, the authors remark that their "study clearly demonstrated that the Birdsbesafe®  CC [collar cover] is effective at reducing bird mortality by domestic cats." In addition, the authors called the Birdsbesafe cat collar cover "highly effective" as a conservation tool.

They wrote: "The conservation implications are clear: if owners of outdoor cats choose to use Birdsbesafe® collar covers, a significant factor in the decline of bird populations would drop precipitously."

Feral Cat Use

Although the toll of feral cats on wildlife, and on songbirds, particularly, is significant and lacking easy remedy, we disagree with the study authors' recommendation to use our pet product on feral cats. Our products require some, although minimal, oversight by cat owners, some handling of the cat, and are not really a suitable product for a cat that lives outdoors, un-cared for, full-time.


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