SWILD and the Swiss Ornithological Institute are looking for cat owners who want to participate in a scientific study for spring and summer 2020. The velvet paws are by far the most common predators in Switzerland and, as clever hunters, they capture numerous wild animals. The study examines measures that are both cat-friendly and help to protect the wild animals.
Around 1.6 million domestic cats live in Switzerland. The number of cats per area is particularly high in settlement areas. In the city of Zurich there are around 430 free-range cats per square kilometer. This density is many times higher than that of other predators. The foxes common in Zurich reach a maximum density of 10 animals per square kilometer.
As pets, cats have undeniable qualities. But they are also highly specialized hunters who often do not lose their hunting instinct even with sufficient feeding. There is little well-founded data available on whether the many cats actually have a negative impact on wild animal populations. Nevertheless, projections on the number of wild animals captured give cause for concern: in Switzerland, cats capture several million mammals and hundreds of thousands of birds per month during the spring.
Efficacy study of colored ruff and bell jar
In view of this high number of captured wild animals, measures should be examined that reduce the hunting success of the cats. The “Katzenglöggli” is a well-known but little-researched remedy. A newer product is the colored ruffle Birdsbesafe®, which makes cats more visible to birds and is supposed to reduce the success of the catch. Studies from abroad have shown that cats with frills catch significantly fewer birds. However, the efficacy was lower in small mammals such as mice.
In a project supported by the Swiss Ornithological Institute, the SWILD research community, urban ecology, wildlife research and communication want to check whether the ruff and glöggli can effectively protect our native wildlife – birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles – from cats. You and your cats are needed for this!
Hunting cats wanted!
For spring and summer 2020, cat owners are sought who would like to participate in the study. Requirements for participation and the tasks are:
- A cat that prey home regularly brings (usually at least 1 prey per week).
- The willingness of your free-range cat during 4 – 6 weeks to put on a safety collar with frills and bells according to a predetermined schedule.
- Willingness to log any prey your cat brings home during this time.
- Willingness to fill out a questionnaire at the end of the study.
Participants in the study will receive a Birdsbesafe® neck brace, a cat-life® safety collar, protocol sheets and detailed instructions. You will also be informed about the results first hand. (Of course, the officially prescribed health and hygiene standards and safety precautions are complied with during shipping and the delivery is made contactless).
If you are interested, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
SWILD project cat track
Ornithological station: cats and birds