This is a different post from the usual, but I believe it should chime well within the vegetarian, vegan and animal loving community as it can save animal lives. Many people have cats and love cats. As we well know, cats are not the vegetarian or vegan type. On the contrary they are carnivorous and hunters by instinct. Whilst we all love and adore the pictures of our furry friend lazing about in the sun, there are instances when it wants to prowl and hunt. Even if it well knows that it will have a cat bowl full of food later on in the day.
For those who don’t have a cat bell (and I see many cats locally that don’t carry one), cat collars should have a bell attached to them. The bell on the cat collar serves to warn birds. The Royal Society for Bird Protection (RSPB) has some information on it’s website aimed at reducing the impact of cats on garden birds. In fact according to a a new RSPB research undertaken by cat owners in the UK, a properly fitted collar and bell can reduce bird predation by a third. This also applies to Malta, where gardens can be important providers of food and the only sanctuary birds versus our perilous (and disappearing) countryside.
Cats learn over time not to ring the bell
Studies also claim that over time cats learn to move without ringing the bell. This means you will need to change the bell every so often. Interestingly, cats can learn to reduce the effectiveness of the bell by keeping their heads still as they stalk. So ingenious!
It is important to highlight that for the safety of the cat, the fitted collar should be a quick release collar. This means that it will snap open if it gets caught on a branch. RSPB advise cat owners that the collar ‘needs to be firmly fitted – you should be able to fit two fingers comfortably between your cat’s collar and its neck. If in doubt about collar fitting, ask your vet for advice.‘
To be fair, not all cats are the same and many live a very docile life. Whist some are more proactive towards their predatory instinct others live a pacifist life at best guarding the couch cushion. One should add that there is no evidence to prove that cats are responsible or the overall decline in bird numbers, (yet any reduction in predation can only be positive).