Larry the cat chases a pigeon in Downing Street on August 06, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
If you love your cats but want to keep them from being bird-killing machines, you may want to get them a special collar. More specifically, a clown collar. Yes, it looks just as ridiculous as it sounds, but there’s a good, eco-friendly reason to do this.
Experts say that accessorizing your feisty feline with a big, bright, colorful collar rather than a bell can give birds a heads-up that a cat is nearby. University of Northern British Columbia biologist Ken Otter told the Times Colonist that birds have a vivid sense of color. Putting a bright, ruffly clown collar on your cat can give foraging birds like robins and sparrows a warning that danger is near and to go look for food elsewhere.
Why is this an issue? As far as the birds in Canada are concerned, domestic and feral cats are public enemy number one. A 2013 study found that cats snatched between 100 million and 350 million birds per year. It’s even worse in the U.S., where 1.4 billion birds are killed by cats each year, according to the American Bird Conservancy. And in Australia, many municipalities have actually instituted curfews for cats in order to protect birds and other animals.
I get it. We had a cat when I was growing up and he was an active hunter. That cat took down more prey than all of my dogs combined. And that’s probably why my dog now is so cautious around cats.