Cats Protection Inverurie
Cats and Birds

"Results show that cats equipped with a bell returned 41 per cent fewer birds and 34 per cent fewer mammals than those with a plain collar.
Cats Protection has issued advice to cat owners about collars in light of the RSPB’s recently released findings concerning reducing cat predation.

The RSPB has found that cats equipped with a correctly-fitted collar and bell can reduce predation by a third.

But, to put it in context, Helen Ralston, Chief Executive of Cats Protection stressed that many cats do not kill birds or small mammals. “Not all cats hunt and, those that do, usually reduce their predation activity after their first three years of life. Many felines lead sedentary lifestyles, spending much of the day sleeping.”


She continued: “Whilst some cats do catch birds, major factors in the decline of some species are environmentally based and include mismanagement and loss of traditional wildlife habitat, global warming and climate change and the increased use of pesticides and fertilisers in modern farming practices.”

However, Cats Protection recognises that correctly-fitted quick-release collars with bells are an effective way of reducing predatory activity and has issued the following advice to minimise the risk of injury to the cat:

  • Choose a “quick release” collar in preference to other types. However, bear in mind that “quick release” collars do not always live up to their name.

  • Check your cat’s collar regularly for fit. Ideally, you should be able to get two fingers vertically underneath the collar.

  • Cats can grow and put on weight. Collars fitted on kittens can quickly become too tight as the animal grows. Weight gain on an adult cat can also cause a collar to get too tight.

  • If the collar is too loose, the cat is in increased danger of getting ensnared on a branch or other object – or even through grooming itself.

  • If the collar is too tight, the cat may try to get it off and also risks strangulation. Additionally, tight collars can rub away fur from around the neck, causing collar burns and a bald ring.

  • Name barrels in addition to microchipping can help to increase the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with its owner.

  • A cat can develop an allergic reaction to collar material. Should a cat start to scratch or show any signs of skin irritation after a new collar is fitted, it should be removed immediately. Veterinary treatment may be required.

Ms Ralston added that that there are other effective ways of protecting wildlife.“Although equipping a cat with a bell can help protect birds and mammals, keeping your cat in at night and in the early morning will also help reduce predation as well as reducing the chances of traffic accidents.”


Other links

RSPB - Are cats causing bird declines?

RSPB - Bird friendly gardens

RSPB - Cats and the law