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Pet owners encouraged to put specially-made cat scrunchies on their pets to save wildlife

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 6:02 PM - It looks like scrunchies are making a comeback -- and that has conservationists (and wildlife) heaving a sigh of relief.

The popular 90s hair accessory has been repurposed and re-branded by a company called Birdbesafe, and it appears to be having positive effects.

While the bright collars won't curb a cat's desire to hunt, it makes them more obvious to wildlife and provides birds, squirrels and the like with a larger window of opportunity to escape.

Australian researchers looked into the effectiveness of the Birdbesafe anti-predation collar and found it reduced the death rate of wildlife by 54 percent. 

Bright colours appear to be the most effective.

"Because it's based on colour and vision, cats won't be able to learn to make it stop working," PhD student Catherine Hall told the Mirror.

"Unlike what people say about bells. [They say] that cats can learn to make them less effective over time."

Some people have started using hair scrunchies on their cats. That may be fine for some cats, but it's important to ensure the scrunchie is no tighter than a collar would be.

The new trend could have major implications for local ecosystems.

A 2013 study by Environment Canada suggested feral and domestic cats are the top cause of bird deaths across the country, claiming more than 133 million lives annually.

The paper concludes that approximately 269 million of the country's 10 billion birds are destroyed by human activity each year.

Sources: Birdbesafe | Science Direct | The Mirror


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