I love our cats, I love our neighborhood birds, and our kitties apparently love our feathered friends as well. Over the last few years, we have tried many things to discourage our cats from stalking birds. We have put bells on their collars, but then the cats learn how to walk toward the birds without making the bells jingle. We've considered removing the bird feeders from our yard, but the cats can then be found stalking birds next door at the neighbors. And we have attempted to keep the cats as inside pets, but then we were all driven crazy by their meowing and between-the-legs attempts to get outside whenever the door was opened. About a year and a half ago, we hit a peak of bird catching by one of our cats. So I did a little research to see what new thing we could try to discourage the cats or to alert the birds.
I stumbled across an article on the Audobon Society website titled "How to Stop Cats from Killing Birds" and of course had to click and read it. This article led me to a product called the Birds be Safe Collar that was designed by a woman determined to keep her cat from hunting birds. Her theory is that since songbirds can see bright colors, then a brightly colored fabric collar on a cat would alert the birds to a cat's approach. I had plenty of vibrant colored fabric in my stash of quilting fabrics, and so I thought I would attempt to make my own cat collar for our two kitties.
I simply cut a piece of fabric 7 inches wide and twice the length of their regular collar. Then I hemmed the two short ends of this strip of fabric. And the last step was to fold the strip of fabric in half lengthwise and sew the fabric into a tube (sew with fabric right sides together as above). Then turn your tube right side out. That is really all it takes. Ten minutes tops.
You can now feed your cat's regular collar through your newly made fabric collar. It almost looks like a scrunchy when it's all fed through. By keeping the tube open, you are still allowing the break-away feature on your cat's collar to function. And trust me, our cat Lollipop has tested this, and our neighbors have returned her two collars to us a few times.
So, yes, the cat does look utterly ridiculous. By the look on her face, she knows she looks silly as well. But I swear the collar works! Our cats have been wearing their brightly colored fabric collars for over a year now, and we have only had two birds in all that time brought to our door. Before wearing the collars, a bird at the door had unfortunately become a weekly occurrence.
If you feel handy and have some fabric and a sewing machine, you can whip up a collar for your feline friend. Maybe a nice yellow print with some spring tulips on it? Or, you can purchase one from the Birds be Safe website. I believe they sell their product on Amazon as well. Consider these collars not only a way to keep your neighborhood songbirds safe, but as something that will also provide you with a little chuckle. Because I promise, you will giggle a bit when you put this on your cat.