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Bells on Cat Collars

Gordon JK, Matthaei C, van Heezik Y: Belled collars reduce catch of domestic cats in New Zealand by half, Wildlife Research 37:372, 2010.

Domestic cats, both feral and pet, can be significant predators of small wildlife in urban and suburban settings. In many countries, outdoor access for owned cats is common. While belled collars are a simple and inexpensive way to mitigate predatory behavior, public perception is often that they do not work. Researchers in New Zealand investigated the effectiveness of belled collars to reduce prey catches. Thirty households with a total of 45 cats participated in the study, as owners of these cats reported at least one prey catch per cat per week. Cats were assessed for successful predation for 6 weeks with a collar, and 6 weeks without a collar. Cats were divided into two groups with equal proportions of males and females. One group wore the belled collar the first six weeks, the second group wore the collar the second six weeks. Predation of birds was reduced 50%, and of rodents, 61%. Numbers of rats, lizards and insects were not affected. Gender, age, and season did not affect the results. The researchers concluded that belled collars were effective at reducing successful predation. [MK]

Related articles:
Lord LK: Attitudes toward and perceptions of free-roaming cats among individuals living in Ohio, J Am Vet Med Assoc 232:1159, 2008.