It is probably not a coincidence that Earth Day comes during spring in North America. This Earth Day, I'm taking a moment to remember two different springtimes, and what led me to start Birdsbesafe.
One spring day, in Vermont, my ten-year-old cat Jasper made it known that she was ready to go outdoors again. In the wintertime, she usually stayed close to the woodstove and indoors. I let her out into the yard, where, in about a minute, she caught a chicadee that was near the house. I was distressed. The poor bird had made it through the challenges of winter only to meet my cat's clutches the first warm day. I wasn't mad at my cat, but I was sorry. It was my pet, and my problem, I thought. And Jasper was, I told myself, going to be my last outdoor-going cat.
And she was... until I met my husband. His indoor-outdoor cat George was a real bird fanatic. He brought birds into the house half-alive, but few could be saved. Cats' claws have a bacteria on them that can often kill a bird eventually, even if you think the bird is okay. In the wooded area, George hunted, he was able to harm some real beauties. George was a terror and honestly, I didn't like him for it, but he was too used to his cat door to keep indoors.
The spring day that I remember with George was the day he dragged in a ruffed grouse, a game bird about as big as a chicken. I was so dumbstruck. How could he...? But he had killed it.
Right then, I said, aloud, as I recall, "I'm going to stop you, George". And, I did stop him.
I remembered that birds see bright colors extremely well. (I was a budding birdwatcher and had read this somewhere.) With nothing to lose, I fashioned a red cloth thing-a-ma-jig to add to a cat collar, and sent George outdoors wearing it. No birds were caught. None. Nada. Zilch.
Instead of spring mayhem, carnage and guilt: Spring Bliss! George was still trying to hunt, but the birds saw him too quickly before he was done stalking them. They flew off. I only saw this once, with a robin, but I knew George had been thwarted because there were no more dead birds.
After being thrilled about the change, I decided that everyone should know about this device. In order to help more cat owners stop their cats from catching birds, Birdsbesafe LLC was born. It's been a challenge, but it's always been great to hear from customers that it really works for them, too.
When I'm shipping you your Birdsbesafe cat collar covers, dear customers, I'm as happy as can be. Thank you for proving that Birdsbesafe works and for helping to save birds all around the world. Happy Earth Day, all.
P.S. I only have an indoor cat again, but she's one great Birdsbesafe model and an excellent indoor mouser.