Scrunchies May Save Birds From Nature's Fiercest Predator - Your Cat!

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Did you know that nature's deadliest predator is probably lurking in your neighborhood? Odds are, you may be even harboring it in your home. Confused? We are talking about your pet cat. Though they may appear cuddly and innocent, they are known to wreak havoc on their local ecology, killing birds, small mammals, and reptiles at an alarming rate.

In addition to being beloved companions, cats have been a preferred method of pest control for humans for thousands of years. However, as the human population has increased, so has the number of these relentless hunters.

In the United States alone, about 80 million homes house at least one cat, while another 80 million wander as strays. Combined, these felines kill about 2.4 billion birds, and 20.7 billion small mammals like mice, moles, and chipmunks, annually! A 2013 study printed in the journal Nature Communications suggests that the domestic cat species is responsible for the extinction of up to 33 species across the globe. It calls cats "likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for U.S birds and mammals!"

While cat owners don't have an issue with the felines taking care of pesky mice and rats, they certainly have no desire to lose the innocent birds that are chirping in their yards. In order to prevent that cats are often collared with tiny bells that signal their presence to the critters they are trying to snare. However, the clever hunters have been known to silence the noisy bells by either pulling them off or getting rid of the collar altogether. Some cats are even smart enough to keep the bells from ringing by taking stealthier steps.

Dr. Michael Calver of Australia's Murdoch University, is so concerned about the plight of the birds that he has published several research papers trying to solve the issue. Hence when he and Ph.D. student Catherine Hall stumbled upon a website that claimed their brightly colored collar scrunchies could reduce the number of bird deaths by 87%, they decided to investigate it.

Hall teamed up with 114 cat owners and asked them to "freeze" everything their pets killed for two years, with and without them wearing the brightly colored scrunchies. Sure enough, the number of birds, reptiles, and amphibians killed when the cats were wearing the bright collars reduced by 54%. Though not as high as the 87% claimed by the website, it is substantial enough to make a difference. Hall, who published her findings in the scientific journal Applied Animal Behavior Science in January 2015, believes that the simple solution works because it enables songbirds to see the cats approaching from a distance. This allows them to make a quick escape.

Interestingly, the number of mice and other small mammals the cats captured was not reduced when the scrunchie was implemented. This is likely because their color vision isn't as developed as that of birds. Hence, the colorful scrunchie is a win-win for both humans and birds! A similar study done in the US around the same time confirmed these findings.

But before you rush to place a normal scrunchie onto your cat's neck, be careful for it may be too tight and result in constricting his/her neck. Instead, seek out ones specially created for this very purpose and save those poor birds!

Resources: IFLscience.com,uproxx.com

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990 Comments
  • cutefurrygamer
    cutefurrygamerFriday, May 22, 2020 at 6:42 pm
    DON'T SCRUNCHIE THE CATS! 😠
    • cutefurrygamer
      cutefurrygamerFriday, May 22, 2020 at 2:49 pm
      NO. Killing birds and other small animals to bring to their owners isn't mean. It's instinct. Plus if you lost your cat it would need to hunt to survive. It isn't smart or good. It's wrong because you are TORTURING your cute cat! Anti -cat ppl may think it's weird or gross, but your cats are just showing love and affection. It's also just mean and it could choke them.
      • animereina2020
        animereina2020Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 7:45 pm
        Why put a scrunchie on a cat!? Doesn't that seem wrong? It's like torturing your cute feline! I understand how this article explains about the birds, and protecting them from cats... but don't you know that a cat has their own instincts? They are doing all of this to make their owner happy, by giving them a little present💕 I understand that the innocent birds are getting killed by kittens, but you don't just torture a cat with scrunchies! Cats have hearts, let them express their feelings to their owners👍
        • bangarangwolf
          bangarangwolfMonday, May 4, 2020 at 8:54 am
          I agree with you, I have my own cat, she stays indoors though. but recently there have been birds making a nest outside the bedroom window, and my cat has been all up against it watching the birds gather twigs and leaves. once she got so excited that she fell off the windowsill.
          • animereina2020
            animereina2020Friday, May 22, 2020 at 4:36 pm
            Awww! I bet your cat is very cute! I love cats, but I don't have one.
            • cutefurrygamer
              cutefurrygamerFriday, May 22, 2020 at 6:40 pm
              Same my dad is " allergic"
              • sikowitz
                sikowitzFriday, May 22, 2020 at 9:54 pm
                Same but my mom is "allergic
            • effie302
              effie302Friday, May 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm
              omg is ur cat ok!?
          • pinkwolfbrose
            pinkwolfbroseThursday, April 9, 2020 at 8:21 am
            so true
            • chumbinha
              chumbinhaTuesday, March 24, 2020 at 1:34 pm
              Yesterday the neighborhood cat left us a stinky bird. Cats do that! They are just little innocent fur babies!!!
              • cutefurrygamer
                cutefurrygamerMonday, March 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm
                It's just what cats do you can't stop that
                • kittykatoof
                  kittykatoofFriday, February 7, 2020 at 5:10 am
                  I'm so mad these peeps don't care that when cats bring dead animals, IT MEANS THEY LOVE YOU AND ARE GIVING YOU GIFTS!!!!!!!!!!
                  • catman2
                    catman2Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 7:02 am
                    NOOOO😭😭😭 i love cats
                    • kittykatoof
                      kittykatoofFriday, February 7, 2020 at 5:08 am
                      omg i agree poor cats THEY ARE INNOCENT, THEY ARE JUST FOLLOWING INSTINCT!!!!!!
                    • lilchickens
                      lilchickensMonday, December 16, 2019 at 7:00 am
                      my cat is a outdoor cat. he kills a lot of birds.
                      • kittyperson
                        kittypersonTuesday, December 10, 2019 at 12:08 pm
                        Da kittens are so cute!