Cat owners whose feline friends venture outdoors know the grim feeling they experience when little Sylvester proudly presents a bird it's just killed. Never a fun moment, if you're a fan of birds.
A recent study, though, may offer hope for fewer queasy moments for such owners. Catherine Hall, a Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences PhD student, led a study that examined the possibility that placing colorful collar covers on cats might help alert wildlife to their presence.
For the study, Hall and her team used three different collar cover colors (rainbow, red, and yellow) from the company Birdsbesafe. The idea behind the collars is that animals with good color vision -- such as birds, reptiles and amphibians -- will catch sight of the encroaching colors and have a chance to escape capture.
With help from owners, who reported on the types of prey their pets killed, the research team studied 114 pet cats, across two years' worth of their outdoor hunting in suburban Australia. The scientists looked at all three collar colors and found a 54% overall reduction in the successful capture of prey, with rainbow and red being the most effective warning colors.