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Assessing the effectiveness of the Birdsbesafe® anti-predation collar cover in reducing predation on wildlife by pet cats in Western Australia

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Many pet cats hunt and, irrespective of whether or not this threatens wildlife populations, distressed owners may wish to curtail hunting while allowing their pets to roam. Therefore we evaluated the effectiveness of three patterned designs (simple descriptions being rainbow, red and yellow) of the anti-predation collar cover, the Birdsbesafe® (BBS), in reducing prey captures by 114 pet cats over 2 years in a suburban Australian context. The BBS offers a colourful indicator of a cat's presence and should therefore alert prey with good colour vision (birds and herpetofauna), but not most mammals with limited colour vision. We also interviewed the 82 owners of cats in the study about their experience using the BBS and their assessment of the behavioural responses of their cats. In the first year of the study, which focused on the effectiveness of different BBS colours, captures of prey with good colour vision were reduced by 54% (95% CL 43% - 64%) when cats were wearing a BBS of any colour, with the rainbow and red BBS more effective than the yellow when birds were prey. Captures of mammals were not reduced significantly. The second year assessed the rainbow BBS alone, and those data combined with rainbow data in the first year found a significant reduction of 47% (95% CL 43% - 57%) in capture of prey with good colour vision, with no effect of differences across years. We found no evidence that cats maintained a lower predation rate once the BBS was removed. Seventy-nine per cent of owners reported that their cats had no problems with the BBS and another 17% reported that their cats adjusted within 2 days. Fourteen owners reported that their cats spent more time at home and ate more while wearing the BBS. Two owners reported their cats stayed away from home more while wearing it. Sixty-four per cent of owners using the red collar, 48% using rainbow and 46% using yellow believed that it worked. Overall, 77% of owners planned to continue using the BBS after the study had finished. The BBS is an option for owners wishing to reduce captures of birds and herpetofauna by free-ranging cats, especially where mammalian prey are introduced pests. To date, the BBS is the only predation deterrent that reduces significantly the number of herpetofauna brought home. It is unsuitable where endangered mammalian prey or large invertebrates are vulnerable to predation by pet cats.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
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available
at
ScienceDirect
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
jou
rn
al
hom
epage
:
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ww.elsevier.com/locate/applanim
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®
anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia
Catherine
M.
Hall,
Joseph
B.
Fontaine,
Kate
A.
Bryant,
Michael
C.
Calver
School
of
Veterinary
and
Life
Sciences,
Murdoch
University,
Murdoch,
Western
Australia
6150,
Australia
a
r
t
i
c
l
e
i
n
f
o
Article
history:
Accepted
19
January
2015
Available
online
xxx
Keywords:
Pet
cat
Birdsbesafe
Predation
Urban
wildlife
Felis
catus
Predation
deterrent
a
b
s
t
r
a
c
t
Many
pet
cats
hunt
and,
irrespective
of
whether
or
not
this
threatens
wildlife
populations,
distressed
owners
may
wish
to
curtail
hunting
while
allowing
their
pets
to
roam.
Therefore
we
evaluated
the
effectiveness
of
three
patterned
designs
(simple
descriptions
being
rain-
bow,
red
and
yellow)
of
the
anti-predation
collar
cover,
the
Birdsbesafe®(BBS),
in
reducing
prey
captures
by
114
pet
cats
over
2
years
in
a
suburban
Australian
context.
The
BBS
offers
a
colourful
indicator
of
a
cat’s
presence
and
should
therefore
alert
prey
with
good
colour
vision
(birds
and
herpetofauna),
but
not
most
mammals
with
limited
colour
vision.
We
also
interviewed
the
82
owners
of
cats
in
the
study
about
their
experience
using
the
BBS
and
their
assessment
of
the
behavioural
responses
of
their
cats.
In
the
first
year
of
the
study,
which
focused
on
the
effectiveness
of
different
BBS
colours,
captures
of
prey
with
good
colour
vision
were
reduced
by
54%
(95%
CL
43–64%)
when
cats
were
wearing
a
BBS
of
any
colour,
with
the
rainbow
and
red
BBS
more
effective
than
the
yellow
when
birds
were
prey.
Captures
of
mammals
were
not
reduced
significantly.
The
second
year
assessed
the
rainbow
BBS
alone,
and
those
data
combined
with
rainbow
data
in
the
first
year
found
a
significant
reduction
of
47%
(95%
CL
43–57%)
in
capture
of
prey
with
good
colour
vision,
with
no
effect
of
differences
across
years.
We
found
no
evidence
that
cats
maintained
a
lower
predation
rate
once
the
BBS
was
removed.
Seventy-nine
per
cent
of
owners
reported
that
their
cats
had
no
problems
with
the
BBS
and
another
17%
reported
that
their
cats
adjusted
within
2
days.
Fourteen
owners
reported
that
their
cats
spent
more
time
at
home
and
ate
more
while
wearing
the
BBS.
Two
owners
reported
their
cats
stayed
away
from
home
more
while
wearing
it.
Sixty-four
per
cent
of
owners
using
the
red
collar,
48%
using
rainbow
and
46%
using
yellow
believed
that
it
worked.
Overall,
77%
of
owners
planned
to
continue
using
the
BBS
after
the
study
had
finished.
The
BBS
is
an
option
for
owners
wishing
to
reduce
cap-
tures
of
birds
and
herpetofauna
by
free-ranging
cats,
especially
where
mammalian
prey
are
introduced
pests.
To
date,
the
BBS
is
the
only
predation
deterrent
that
reduces
significantly
the
number
of
herpetofauna
brought
home.
It
is
unsuitable
where
endangered
mammalian
prey
or
large
invertebrates
are
vulnerable
to
predation
by
pet
cats.
Crown
Copyright
©
2015
Published
by
Elsevier
B.V.
All
rights
reserved.
Corresponding
author.
Tel.:
+61
8
9360
2277;
fax:
+61
9360
6303.
E-mail
addresses:
catherine.hall@live.com.au
(C.M.
Hall),
j.fontaine@murdoch.edu.au
(J.B.
Fontaine),
k.bryant@murdoch.edu.au
(K.A.
Bryant),
m.calver@murdoch.edu.au
(M.C.
Calver).
1.
Introduction
Pet
cats
Felis
catus
are
recognised
globally
as
wildlife
predators
(Baker
et
al.,
2005;
Gordon
et
al.,
2010;
Barratt,
1997,
1998).
Woods
et
al.
(2003)
extrapolated
from
their
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
0168-1591/Crown
Copyright
©
2015
Published
by
Elsevier
B.V.
All
rights
reserved.
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
2
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
data
that
pet
cats
in
Great
Britain
brought
home
92
million
prey
over
5
months.
Loss
et
al.
(2013)
estimated
the
median
wildlife
mortality
by
pet
cats
in
the
USA
at
684
million
birds
and
1249
million
mammals
annually.
In
Canada,
Blancher
(2013)
estimated
that
urban
pet
cats
take
approximately
one-sixth
of
100–350
million
birds
(95%
of
estimates
in
this
range)
killed
annually
by
all
cats,
owned
and
feral.
In
South
Australia,
Paton
(1991)
argued
that
pet
cats
take
50%
of
the
urban
bird
population
each
year
and
may
indirectly
impact
other
species
in
nearby
remnant
bushland.
Nevertheless,
debate
exists
regarding
whether
wildlife
populations
are
endangered
by
this
predation.
In
Bristol,
UK,
predation
rates
of
house
sparrows
Passer
domesticus,
robins
Erithacus
rubecula
and
dunnocks
Prunella
modularis
were
high
compared
to
their
annual
productivity,
implying
that
cat
predation
regulated
their
populations
(Baker
et
al.,
2005).
In
Dunedin,
New
Zealand,
population
modelling
of
six
bird
species
with
different
estimates
of
cat
predation
showed
that
the
likelihood
of
local
extirpation
with
any
cat
predation
was
high
for
blackbirds
Turdus
merula,
while
fantails
Rhipidura
fuliginosa
and
silvereyes
Zosterops
later-
alis
would
only
persist
if
the
predation
rate
was
halved
(van
Heezik
et
al.,
2010).
Balogh
et
al.
(2011)
found
that
pre-
dation
on
grey
catbirds
Dumatella
crolinesnsis
in
suburban
Washington,
DC,
USA,
accounted
for
79%
of
all
mortalities
with
47%
attributable
to
pet
cats,
but
conceded
that
cats
may
take
prey
that
would
otherwise
have
died
from
dis-
ease
or
injury.
In
Hamilton,
south-eastern
Australia,
Dufty
(1994)
found
that
cat
predation
was
the
highest
cause
of
mortality
for
juvenile
eastern
barred
bandicoots
Perame-
les
gunnii
and
the
second
highest
cause
of
mortality
for
the
population
after
road
death.
Even
the
presence
of
pet
cats
may
alter
prey
behaviour,
contributing
to
population
declines
(Beckerman
et
al.,
2007;
Bonnington
et
al.,
2013).
Other
authors
argue
that
pet
cats
hunt
common
species
that
cope
with
the
impacts
or
take
diseased
or
injured
individ-
uals,
with
the
focus
on
cats
deflecting
attention
from
more
significant
causes
of
wildlife
decline
(Fitzgerald,
1990;
Fitzgerald
and
Turner,
2000;
Sims
et
al.,
2008;
Shochat
et
al.,
2010;
Siracusa,
2012).
Calver
et
al.
(2011)
argue
that
documented
predation
rates
and
examples
of
significant
risk
to
prey
populations
justify
precautionary
husbandry
of
pet
cats.
In
some
countries
many
owners
always
keep
their
pets
indoors
(for
example,
apartment
owners
in
Switzerland
(Bradshaw,
1992)),
preventing
interactions
between
pet
cats
and
wildlife.
If
cats
are
not
indoors,
then
ideally
owners
should
keep
them
on
their
properties
at
all
times
to
reduce
predation
and
nuisance
to
neighbours
(Jongman,
2007;
Toukhsati
et
al.,
2012).
However,
many
Australian
(Grayson
et
al.,
2002;
Lilith,
2007),
UK
(Sims
et
al.,
2008),USA
(Dabritz
et
al.,
2006),
New
Zealand
(Farnworth
et
al.,
2010)
and
Singaporean
owners
(Gunaseelan
et
al.,
2013)
neither
confine
their
cats
indoors
nor
on
their
properties.
Keeping
cats
indoors
at
night
reduces
predation
on
nocturnal
fauna,
but
not
diurnal
prey
(Barratt,
1997).
Collar-mounted
pre-
dation
deterrents
that
either
impede
predatory
behaviour
or
alert
prey
are
another
option,
although
they
are
not
acceptable
to
everyone
(Thomas
et
al.,
2012).
Devices
tested
experimentally
that
reduce
the
numbers
of
prey
brought
home
by
50%
include
bells,
pounce
protectors
and
battery-powered
alarms
(Ruxton
et
al.,
2002;
Nelson
et
al.,
2005;
Calver
et
al.,
2007;
Gordon
et
al.,
2010).
A
new
device,
the
Birdsbesafe®cat
collar
cover
(here-
after
BBS)
marketed
by
Birdsbesafe
LLC,
Duxbury,
VT,
USA,
exploits
songbirds’
colour
vision
(Cuthill,
2006)
by
giv-
ing
a
colourful
indicator
of
a
cat’s
presence
(Birdsbesafe
LLC,
2009).
No
claim
is
made
for
prey
other
than
song-
birds,
nor
for
songbirds
outside
a
North
American
context.
Nevertheless,
predation
by
pet
cats
is
a
global
issue,
so
it
is
of
interest
whether
the
BBS
is
effective
outside
North
America.
Moreover,
many
herpetofauna
(amphibians
and
reptiles)
have
excellent
colour
vision
(Vorobyev,
2004;
Olsson
et
al.,
2013)
and
could
be
warned.
Thus
the
BBS
could
be
useful
where
owners
wish
their
cats
to
hunt
mammalian
pests
only,
because
many
non-primate
placental
mammals
have
limited
colour
vision
(Vorobyev,
2004).
Using
an
experimental
approach,
this
study
used
sub-
urban
cats
in
Australia
to
evaluate:
(1)
Does
the
BBS
reduce
the
number
of
prey
brought
home?
(2)
Does
the
number
of
prey
brought
home
vary
by
BBS
colour?
(3)
Does
the
num-
ber
of
prey
brought
home
differ
by
taxa
according
to
their
colour
vision?
and
(4)
Do
cats
bring
home
fewer
prey
fol-
lowing
treatment
with
the
BBS
(is
there
a
lasting
inhibition
after
a
period
without
the
reinforcement
of
a
success-
ful
hunt)?
Additionally,
given
the
importance
of
owners’
behaviour
in
the
success
of
any
anti-predation
measure,
we
interviewed
owners
on
their
experiences
using
the
BBS.
2.
Materials
and
methods
In
common
with
all
other
published
studies
of
the
effectiveness
of
predation
deterrents,
our
dependent
vari-
able
was
the
number
of
prey
brought
home
by
cats
when
wearing
or
not
wearing
the
BBS.
This
is
not
the
same
as
monitoring
all
hunting
behaviour
or
all
prey
captures.
It
cannot
account
for
the
possibility
that
some
prey
are
killed
and
left,
or
consumed.
We
also
focused
our
attention
on
vertebrates
and
did
not
ask
owners
to
note
invertebrate
prey
brought
home.
2.1.
The
Birdsbesafe®cat
collar
cover
The
BBS
is
a
50
cm
tube
of
brightly
coloured
cloth
that
slips
over
a
standard
cat
safety
collar
to
appear
as
a
brightly
coloured
‘ruff’
or
flared-out
encircling
cloth
‘clown
col-
lar’
about
5
cm
wide
(Fig.
1a).
Between
2012
and
2013,
the
design
changed
to
include
a
silver
retroreflective
strip
around
the
outer
edge.
The
safety
collar
with
the
BBS
can
be
worn
constantly
or
fitted
when
the
cat
is
allowed
out-
doors.
Multiple
colourful
prints
are
available,
and
designs
change
with
customer
feedback
on
perceived
effectiveness.
Striped
patterns
of
various
bright
colours
predominate
in
the
current
range.
The
current
iteration
of
the
BBS
is
patent
pending
in
the
USA
and
is
similarly
protected
in
a
further
28
countries.
2.2.
Study
area
The
study
ran
from
October
2012
until
February
2013
and
from
October
2013
until
January
2014
(southern
hemisphere
spring
to
summer)
in
outer
suburbs
of
Perth,
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
3
Fig.
1.
(a)
Cat
wearing
the
rainbow
Birdsbesafe®cat
collar.
(b)
Colours
tested
during
the
trial;
red,
yellow,
rainbow.
’Western
Australia
(31.95S,
115.85E)
and
including
the
nearby
City
of
Mandurah
and
the
towns
of
Harvey,
Dwellingup
and
Manjimup.
The
Mediterranean
climate
of
the
region,
with
fine,
dry
weather
extending
from
late
spring
to
early
autumn,
encourages
outdoor
husbandry
of
cats.
In
the
second
year,
one
participant
was
from
Port
Hedland
(20.31S,
118.60E)
in
the
north
of
Western
Australia,
which
possesses
a
semi-arid
climate
and
is
warm
year-round.
2.3.
First
year
of
study
(2012–2013)
testing
effectiveness
of
red,
yellow
and
rainbow
BBS
In
the
first
year
we
tested
all
hypotheses
in
a
trial
involving
three
prints:
yellow
print
with
red,
fuchsia
and
white
abstract
design,
red–white
paisley
print,
or
a
rainbow
of
stripes
of
red,
yellow,
grey,
white
or
fuchsia;
here-
after
called
yellow,
red
and
rainbow
respectively
(Fig.
1b).
Forty-four
volunteers
were
accepted
from
respondents
to
advertisements
in
local
newspapers
seeking
owners
of
cats
that
were
active
hunters.
Respondents
whose
cats
did
not
bring
home
on
average
one
prey
every
fortnight
were
declined.
Sixty-one
cats
began
the
study
but
owners
with-
drew
eight
before
it
ended,
so
53
cats
(33
females
and
20
males;
96%
desexed)
from
39
households
completed
the
study.
The
results
from
multiple
cats
in
the
same
household
were
combined
because
prey
kills
could
not
be
ascribed
confidently
to
a
specific
cat,
resulting
in
a
final
sample
size
of
39.
Therefore
the
experimental
unit
for
the
study
is
the
household
rather
than
the
individual
cat
and
no
correc-
tion
was
made
to
the
data
for
any
household
where
more
than
one
cat
was
present
(that
is,
we
did
not
divide
the
number
of
prey
brought
home
by
the
number
of
cats
in
the
household).
To
assess
the
effect
of
BBS
colour,
cats
were
assigned
randomly
to
a
colour
group:
red,
yellow
or
rainbow.
To
assess
the
permanence
of
any
behavioural
change,
half
of
the
cats
were
monitored
with
the
BBS
fitted
for
3
weeks
followed
by
3
weeks
without
the
BBS,
while
the
others
were
monitored
for
3
weeks
without
the
BBS
followed
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
4
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
by
3
weeks
with
it.
This
ensured
that
all
cats
spent
a
period
with
and
without
the
device,
while
allowing
for
possible
effects
of
the
sequence
of
treatments
or
changes
in
prey
availability
over
time.
We
fitted
new
cloth
safety
collars
with
break-away
buckles
designed
to
release
if
the
cat
was
snagged
underneath
the
BBS
unless
the
owner
preferred
another
collar.
Cats
that
had
not
worn
a
collar
previously
were
given
at
least
2
days
to
adjust
to
wearing
a
collar
before
the
BBS
was
fitted.
Multiple
cats
in
the
same
household
had
synchronous
treatments.
All
collars
and
BBS
were
fitted
initially
during
a
home
visit,
in
which
the
importance
of
correct
fit
for
safety
was
explained
to
owners.
Owners
collected
corpses
brought
home
by
their
cats
and
reported
any
instances
where
live
prey
were
seen
to
escape.
Owners
were
instructed
to
contact
the
inves-
tigators
if
prey
were
injured
and
required
veterinary
care,
but
no
such
referrals
were
made.
Prey
bodies
were
identified
to
species
by
staff
at
the
Western
Australian
Museum.
Most
prey
released
after
owner
intervention
were
classed
as
mammals,
birds
or
herpetofauna
unless
the
owner
provided
a
clear
description
identifying
the
species
conclusively.
They
were
counted
as
captured
prey
because
they
may
well
have
died
from
shock,
injury
or
infection.
We
excluded
any
obviously
nestling
birds
from
analysis
because
they
would
not
have
any
opportunity
to
escape
from
a
cat
irrespective
of
whether
or
not
it
was
wearing
a
BBS.
Any
household
that
completed
the
study,
but
where
no
prey
at
all
were
brought
home,
was
also
excluded.
This
eliminated
any
bias
that
may
have
been
caused
by
including
cats
that
did
not
bring
home
prey
in
the
study.
After
the
study,
owners
participated
in
a
short
interview
assessing
their
reasons
for
volunteering
and
their
experiences
with
the
BBS.
The
interview
comprised
eight
consistent,
open-ended
questions,
pre-approved
as
part
of
the
Human
Ethics
Permit,
which
sought
to
obtain
owners’
responses
in
their
own
words
(Supplementary
Appendix
1).
2.4.
Second
year
of
study
(2013–2014)
testing
effectiveness
of
rainbow
BBS
and
colour
vision
Preliminary
analysis
of
data
from
the
first
year
of
the
study
indicated
that
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
showed
the
greatest
proportional
reduction
in
the
numbers
of
birds
and
lizards
brought
home,
so
the
second
year
assessed
the
rainbow
BBS
only.
The
hypotheses
that
the
BBS
reduces
prey
brought
home,
that
prey
brought
home
differ
by
taxa
according
to
their
vision
(colour
or
not),
and
that
cats
bring
home
fewer
prey
following
treatment
with
collars
were
relevant.
Seventy-one
cats
began
the
study,
none
of
which
had
been
involved
before.
Ten
did
not
finish,
so
61
(32
males
and
29
females;
100%
desexed)
completed.
Results
from
multiple
cats
in
the
same
household
were
combined,
again
with
no
correction
for
the
number
of
cats,
resulting
in
a
final
sample
size
of
43
(we
did
not
divide
the
prey
brought
home
by
the
number
of
cats
in
a
household).
Oth-
erwise,
the
methods
for
this
study
were
identical
to
the
first
year.
2.5.
Statistical
analysis
We
used
generalised
linear
mixed
effects
models
in
R
to
evaluate
effect
of
the
BBS,
its
colour
and
order
of
applica-
tion
on
the
numbers
of
birds,
herpetofauna
and
mammals
brought
home
and
any
lasting
reductions
in
prey
brought
home.
Our
first
analysis
focused
on
the
effects
of
BBS
colour,
prey
taxon
and
order
of
BBS
application
using
data
from
the
first
year
of
the
study.
Prey
brought
home
were
recorded
by
individual
cat-household
(hereafter
simply
called
cat),
prey
type
(bird,
herpetofauna,
mammal),
and
BBS
status
(on/off),
yielding
six
possible
combinations
per
cat.
We
did
not
consider
the
sex
or
the
age
of
the
cats
given
that
cats
were
allocated
randomly
to
experimental
treatments
and
that
multiple
cats
in
the
same
household
were
treated
as
one
unit.
This
approach
permitted
evaluation
of
change
in
prey
brought
home
within
cat;
as
expected,
substantial
heterogeneity
in
prey
brought
home
existed
between
cats,
rendering
group-wide
averages
of
little
value.
We
fitted
a
model
containing
a
random
effect
of
cat
and
fixed
effects
for
BBS
on/off,
order
of
BBS
application,
BBS
colour
(red,
rainbow
and
yellow),
prey
taxon
(mammals,
birds,
herpetofauna),
as
well
as
interactions
of
prey
and
colour.
Capture
data
were
strongly
right
skewed
(reflecting
heterogeneity
across
individual
cats),
so
we
evaluated
both
normal
and
Poisson
distributions.
Analysis
outcomes
were
the
same
with
both
distributions
but
with
substantially
better
fit
using
a
Poisson
distribution,
which
we
report.
We
then
examined
the
full
model
for
fit
and
any
violations
of
standard
assumptions
following
suggestions
of
Zuur
et
al.
(2009).
To
evaluate
the
effect
of
BBS
colour
we
set
our
statisti-
cal
contrasts
as
the
effect
of
BBS
colour
relative
to
yellow
(given
that
red
and
rainbow
were
more
similar)
and
to
evaluate
the
effect
of
prey
taxon
we
set
capture
rates
rel-
ative
to
mammals,
which
is
the
group
with
the
poorest
colour
vision
(Vorobyev,
2004)
(and
reductions
in
mam-
mals
brought
home
were
not
claimed
for
the
BBS).
We
report
graphical
summaries
as
changes
in
prey
brought
home
with
BBS
(on
versus
off)
and
statistical
effects
as
changes
in
prey
brought
home
overall
(including
an
effect
of
BBS
being
worn).
Estimates
in
the
model
are
reported
with
their
standard
errors
and
changes
in
prey
brought
home
with
95%
confidence
limits
where
lack
of
overlap
with
zero
was
interpreted
as
evidence
of
a
signifi-
cant
effect.
Our
second
analysis
used
data
for
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
in
the
first
year
of
the
study
and
also
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
in
the
second
year
of
the
study.
Year
(first
or
second
year),
order
of
BBS
application
(BBS
applied
first
versus
BBS
applied
second)
and
colour
vision
(birds
and
herpetofauna
combined
versus
mammals)
were
included
as
factors.
No
contrasts
were
needed
in
this
anal-
ysis
because
each
of
the
categorical
factors
was
binary.
2.6.
Owner
interviews
At
the
end
of
each
year
of
the
study,
owners
were
interviewed
regarding
their
experiences
with
the
BBS,
the
response
of
their
cat,
and
the
likelihood
that
they
would
continue
to
use
the
BBS
(Supplementary
Appendix
1).
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
5
Owners’
answers
to
the
interview
questions
are
described
in
text.
2.7.
Ethical
considerations
The
work
was
covered
by
Murdoch
University
Ani-
mal
Ethics
Committee
permit
R2469/12
and
Human
Ethics
Committee
permit
2012/056.
There
are
no
conflicts
of
interest
associated
with
this
publication.
As
part
of
the
requirements
of
the
Human
Ethics
permit,
all
partici-
pating
owners
received
a
short
report
summarising
the
results
shortly
after
the
conclusion
of
the
study.
All
owner
interviews
were
completed
before
the
report
was
dis-
tributed.
3.
Results
3.1.
Features
of
cats
and
their
husbandry
The
mean
age
of
cats
that
completed
the
trial
in
Year
1
was
4.4
±
0.5
(SE)
years
and
in
Year
2
3.9
±
0.4
years.
In
each
year
60%
were
kept
inside
at
night
but
were
allowed
out
during
the
day,
while
the
remaining
40%
could
go
in
and
out
when
they
pleased.
All
the
cats
were
desexed
except
for
two
cats
in
the
first
year.
Eighteen
cats
were
withdrawn
across
the
entire
study
for
a
diverse
range
of
reasons
(Table
1).
3.2.
Effectiveness
of
colour
treatments
in
the
first
year
Five
cats
were
excluded
from
analysis
because
they
brought
home
no
prey
at
all
over
the
entire
period
of
the
study.
The
others
brought
home
68
birds
(excluding
five
fledglings)
from
at
least
15
species
(13
native),
49
her-
petofauna
from
at
least
seven
species
(all
native)
and
77
mammals
from
four
species
(one
native)
(Table
2).
Almost
all
the
herpetofauna
were
reptiles,
with
only
one
unidenti-
fied
frog
brought
home
(the
owner
did
not
keep
the
body).
On
average,
the
cats
that
brought
home
at
least
one
prey
over
the
trial
brought
home
1.04
±
0.21
birds,
1.18
±
0.17
mammals
and
0.72
±
0.20
herpetofauna
(mean
±
SE).
Although
most
of
the
prey
species
were
native
animals,
the
majority
of
individual
mammals
brought
home
comprised
non-native
mammal
species
(house
mouse
Mus
musculus
and
black
rat
Rattus
rattus).
Only
one
species,
the
south-
ern
brown
bandicoot
Isoodon
obesulus
fusciventer,
was
of
conservation
concern
(rated
nationally
as
Least
Concern
(Woinarski
et
al.,
2014),
and
as
Priority
Five
(Conserva-
tion
Dependent)
in
Western
Australia
(Department
of
Parks
Wildlife,
2013)).
Of
the
total
amount
of
prey
brought
home
across
the
6-
week
period,
the
cats
in
the
red
treatment
brought
home
only
31%
of
mammal
prey,
41%
of
bird
prey
and
36%
of
herpetofauna
prey
whilst
wearing
the
BBS.
The
cats
in
the
rainbow
treatment
brought
home
50%,
28%
and
4%
respec-
tively,
while
for
the
cats
in
the
yellow
treatment
they
were
58%,
54%
and
20%
respectively
(Table
3).
Combining
all
prey
groups,
there
was
a
reduction
of
37%
(95%
CL
29–46%)
in
the
prey
brought
home
by
cats
when
wearing
the
BBS.
Considering
only
the
taxa
with
good
colour
vision
(birds
and
herpetofauna),
the
reduction
caused
by
wearing
the
BBS
was
54%
(95%
CL
43–64%).
The
full
generalised
linear
mixed
effects
model
showed
that
the
order
in
which
cats
wore
the
BBS
did
not
influence
prey
brought
home
(effect
=
0.09,
Z
=
0.4,
P
=
0.71).
Thus
the
effect
of
order
of
application
was
excluded
from
the
reduced
model
with
all
other
effects.
Across
all
taxa
cats
wearing
the
BBS
brought
home
significantly
fewer
prey
(Table
4a
and
Fig.
2).
Fewer
herpetofauna
were
brought
Table
1
Owners
reasons
for
withdrawing
their
cats
from
the
study.
Year
No.
of
cats
Reason
Year
1
1
Moderate
dermatitis
attributed
to
the
BBS
Year
1
1
Owner
personal
issues
Year
1
2
(same
household)
Owner
found
BBS
to
be
ineffective
against
mammals
and
she
did
not
like
her
two
cats
bringing
mice
into
the
house
and
wanted
to
deter
their
hunting
behaviour
more
generally
Year
1
1
Owner
concluded
that
the
BBS
was
not
effective
for
her
cat
and
it
was
rehomed
Year
1
1
Owner
did
not
like
the
appearance
of
the
BBS
and
her
cat
was
not
a
regular
hunter
Year
1
2
(same
household)
One
cat
caught
its
safety
collar
(not
BBS)
in
its
mouth
and
in
her
distress,
ran
away
and
was
presumed
to
be
hit
by
a
car.
The
other
cat
in
the
household
was
then
withdrawn
from
the
study.
Year
2
1
The
cat
would
not
adjust
to
the
BBS
Year
2
1
Pet
bird
in
household
became
too
distressed
by
cat
walking
past
wearing
BBS
Year
21
Owner
lived
in
a
very
hot
climate
and
decided
that
the
device
would
make
her
cat
too
uncomfortable
Year
2
2
(same
household)
The
owner
had
three
cats,
two
of
which
were
being
targeted
by
a
local
feral
cat
and
she
felt
that
the
BBS
was
a
hindrance
in
a
fight
although
she
was
happy
to
leave
her
third
cat
in
the
trial
Year
21
Owner
could
not
be
contacted
Year
2
1
One
owner
chose
not
to
continue
because
he
did
not
want
his
cat
to
be
outside
without
any
device
that
would
stop
it
catching
wildlife
Year
2
1
Cat
was
constantly
catching
his
front
leg
through
the
collar
Year
2
2
(separate
households)
Cat
continually
lost
collars
and
BBS
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
6
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
Table
2
List
of
birds,
mammals
and
herpetofauna
brought
home
by
cats
during
the
6-week
trials
in
Year
1
and
Year
2
and
which
could
be
identified
to
species
level.
Common
and
scientific
names
are
consistent
with
Clayton
et
al.
(2006).
Prey
category
Common
name
Scientific
name
Years
(numbers
brought
home)
Bird Button-quail
Turnix
sp. bYear
1
(1)
Laughing
turtle-dove
Streptopelia
senegalensis
Years
1
&
2
(3,
1)
Spotted
turtle-dove Streptopelia
chinensis Years
1
&
2
(4,
3)
Common
bronzewing
Phaps
chalcopterabYears
1
&
2
(2,
2)
Crested
pigeon
Ocyphaps
lophotesbYear
1
(2)
Australian
ringneck
(twenty-eight
parrot)
Barnardius
zonariusbYear
1
(2)
Red-capped
parrot
Purpureicephalus
spuriusbYear
2
(1)
White-browed
scrubwren
Sericornis
frontalisbYear
1
(2)
Brown
honeyeater
Lichmera
indistinctabYears
1
&
2
(4,
2)
Singing
honeyeater
Lichenostomus
virescensbYears
1
&
2
(2,
2)
New
Holland
honeyeater
Phylidonyris
novaehollandiaebYears
1
&
2
(2,
5)
Red
wattlebird Anthochaera
carunculatabYears
1
&
2
(1,
1)
Willy
wagtail
Rhipidura
leucophrysbYear
1
(1)
Magpie
lark
Grallina
cyanoleucabYear
1
(2)
Australian
magpie
Gymnorhina
tibicenbYear
1
(1)
Grey-breasted
white-eye
(silvereye)
Zostergis
lateralisbYears
1
&
2
(4,
1)
Reptile Marble
gecko
Christinus
marmoratusbYears
1
&
2
(1,
5)
Blind
snake Ramphotyphlops
australisbYear
2
(1)
Fence
skink
Cryptoblepharus
buchananiibYears
1
&
2
(4,
1)
Two-toed
earless
skink
Hemiergis
quadrilineatabYear
2
(1)
Hemiergis
initialisbYear
1
(2)
Western
limestone
ctenotus
Ctenotus
australisbYear
2
(1)
Common
dwarf
skink Menetia
greyiibYear
2
(1)
Tree
dtella
Gehyra
variegatabYears
1
&
2
(1,
4)
Western
three-lined
skink Acritoscincus
trilineatabYears
1
&
2
(1,
2)
Bearded
dragon
Pogona
minorbYear
1
(3)
King
skink
Ergenia
kingiibYear
1
(1)
Mammal Black
rat
Rattus
rattus
Years
1
&
2
(16,
23)
Lesser
long-eared
bat Nyctophylus
geoffroyibYear
2
(3)
House
mouse
Mus
musculus
Years
1
&
2
(20,
13)
Rabbit
Oryctolagus
cuniculus
Years
1
&
2
(5,
2)
Southern
brown
bandicoot
Isoodon
obesulus
fusciventera,bYears
1
&
2
(8,
6)
aSpecies
of
conservation
concern.
bNative
species.
home
than
birds
or
mammals.
Across
all
prey
taxa,
rainbow
and
red
BBS
had
similar
effects
to
yellow
(Table
4a).
When
prey
taxon
and
BBS
colour
were
considered
together,
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
or
the
red
BBS
brought
home
fewer
birds
relative
to
mammals
wearing
the
yellow
BBS
(Table
4a
and
Fig.
2).
3.3.
Effectiveness
of
treatments
using
rainbow
BBS
in
both
years
Four
cats
in
the
Year
2
sample
were
excluded
from
analysis
because
they
brought
home
no
prey
at
all
over
the
entire
period
of
the
study.
The
others
brought
home
Table
3
Total
number
of
prey
brought
home
by
cats
in
each
treatment
group
in
each
year.
The
number
of
cats
(with
cats
in
multiple-cat
households
counted
as
one
cat
and
all
prey
summed)
bringing
home
prey
is
given
in
parentheses.
Treatment
Year
Prey
Application
Treatment
on
Treatment
off
Mammal
4
(3)
9
(5)
Red
2012
Bird
13
(5)
19
(7)
Herpetofauna
5
(4)
9
(5)
Mammal
14
(7)
10
(6)
Yellow
2012
Bird
12
(6)
10
(4)
Herpetofauna
2
(2)
8
(2)
Mammal
20
(8)
20
(10)
Rainbow
2012
Bird
4
(3)
10
(6)
Herpetofauna
1
(1) 24
(5)
Mammal
49
(19)
51
(23)
Rainbow
2013
Bird
16
(11)
24
(15)
Herpetofauna
26
(14)
31
(15)
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
7
Fig.
2.
Means
(±95%
CL)
for
the
change
in
prey
brought
home
for
birds,
herpetofauna
and
mammals
for
cats
wearing
three
different
colours
of
BBS
in
Year
1.
40
birds
(excluding
three
fledglings)
from
at
least
nine
species
(seven
native),
57
herpetofauna
from
at
least
eight
species
(all
native)
and
100
mammals
from
five
species
(two
native)
(Table
2).
On
average,
the
cats
that
brought
home
prey
brought
home
0.51
±
0.09
birds,
1.28
±
0.18
mammals
and
0.73
±
0.14
herpetofauna
(mean
±
SE).
Of
the
total
amount
of
prey
brought
home
across
the
6-
week
period,
cats
in
Year
2
brought
home
49%
of
mammal
prey,
40%
of
bird
prey
and
46%
of
herpetofauna
prey
whilst
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
(Table
3).
Combining
all
prey
groups,
there
was
a
reduction
of
14%
(95%
CL
9–22%)
in
the
prey
brought
home
by
cats
when
wearing
the
BBS.
Consid-
ering
only
the
taxa
with
good
colour
vision,
the
reduction
caused
by
wearing
the
BBS
was
24%
(95%
CL
14–36%).
Generalised
linear
mixed
effects
models
using
data
from
both
years
for
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
BBS
found
a
significant
reduction
in
the
number
of
prey
with
colour
vision
(birds
and
herpetofauna)
brought
home
relative
to
mammals
with
poor
colour
vision
(effect
=
0.72,
Z
=
5.9,
P
<
0.001,
Table
4b
and
Fig.
3).
The
order
in
which
cats
wore
Table
4
(a)
Estimates
from
top
model
examining
effects
of
wearing
a
BBS,
BBS
colour
and
prey
type
on
prey
brought
home
by
pet
cats,
after
removing
insignificant
effects
from
the
complete
model
of
all
effects
and
interac-
tions.
Effects
of
prey
taxon
are
assessed
relative
to
captures
of
mammal
prey
and
interaction
effects
of
prey
taxon
×
BBS
colour
are
assessed
rela-
tive
to
captures
of
mammals
by
cats
wearing
a
yellow
BBS.
(b)
Estimates
from
top
model
examining
effects
of
wearing
a
rainbow
BBS
and
prey
colour
vision
(good
colour
vision,
birds
and
herpetofauna;
poor
colour
vision,
mammals).
Term
Estimate
SE
Z-value
P-value
(a)
BBS
On
0.46
0.15
3.1
0.002
Bird
0.09
0.30
0.3
0.77
Herpetofauna
0.87
0.38
2.3
0.02
Rainbow
0.32
0.34
1.0
0.34
Red
0.58
0.42
1.4
0.16
Rainbow
*
Bird
0.96
0.43
2.2
0.03
Rainbow
*
Herpetofauna
0.41
0.46
0.9
0.38
Red
*
Bird
0.99
0.45
2.2
0.03
Red
*
Herpetofauna
0.95
0.54
1.7
0.08
(b)
BBS
on
0.32
0.12
2.6
0.01
Colour
vision
0.72
0.12
5.9
<0.001
the
BBS
was
not
significant
in
its
own
right
(effect
=
0.03,
Z
=
0.16,
P
=
0.0.88)
nor
in
an
interaction
with
another
vari-
able,
nor
was
the
effect
of
year
(effect
=
0.18,
Z
=
0.9,
P
=
0.38).
3.4.
Cat
behaviour,
prey
behaviour,
owner
interviews
and
animal
welfare
issues
3.4.1.
Cat
behaviour
Over
both
years
of
the
study
79%
of
owners
reported
that
their
cat(s)
had
no
problem
adjusting
to
the
BBS
and
another
17%
said
that
their
cat(s)
adjusted
within
2
days.
One
cat
took
10
days
to
adjust
and
two
cats
did
not
adjust
to
the
BBS
during
the
trial.
One
cat
was
withdrawn
from
the
study
because
her
owner
felt
she
was
not
adjusting
to
the
BBS.
Although
her
cat
was
not
bothered
by
the
BBS,
one
owner
in
Year
1
said
that
the
pet
dogs
in
the
household
were
upset
by
the
cat
wearing
the
BBS
and
barked
at
him
more.
Owners
were
not
prompted
to
assess
specific
behaviours
in
deciding
whether
or
not
their
cats
adjusted
to
the
BBS,
but
made
subjective
judgements
of
their
own.
Sixteen
owners
(ca.
20%)
reported
that
their
cats’
behaviour
patterns
changed
while
wearing
the
BBS.
In
Year
1,
two
owners
reported
their
cats
stayed
out
more
and
six
owners
from
Year
1
and
eight
from
Year
2
reported
that
Fig.
3.
Means
(±95%
CL)
for
the
change
in
prey
brought
home
for
birds,
herpetofauna,
mammals
and
prey
with
full
colour
vision
(herpetofauna
and
birds
combined)
and
prey
with
limited
colour
vision
(mammals)
for
cats
wearing
the
rainbow
of
BBS
in
Years
1
and
2
combined.
Please
cite
this
article
in
press
as:
Hall,
C.M.,
et
al.,
Assessing
the
effectiveness
of
the
Birdsbesafe®anti-predation
collar
cover
in
reducing
predation
on
wildlife
by
pet
cats
in
Western
Australia.
Appl.
Anim.
Behav.
Sci.
(2015),
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.004
ARTICLE IN PRESS
G Model
APPLAN-4012;
No.
of
Pages
12
8
C.M.
Hall
et
al.
/
Applied
Animal
Behaviour
Science
xxx
(2015)
xxx–xxx
their
cats
stayed
closer
to
home/came
in
earlier
for
food.
The
owners
reported
that
14
of
the
cats
that
came
in
ear-
lier
ate
more
than
normal
and
were
more
affectionate.
Of
these,
five
cats
that
wore
the
BBS
for
the
first
half
of
the
trial
reverted
to
their
previous
behaviour
when
the
BBS
was
removed,
while
the
others
continued
to
be
more
affection-
ate.
However,
some
owners
changed
their
answer
to
this
question
when
asked
if
their
cats’
behaviour
had
changed
once
they
were
given
an
example
of
what
the
behaviour
change
might
be.
3.5.
Prey
behaviour
Several
owners
mentioned
that
even
though
their
cat
had
not
brought
home
any
birds
during
the
study,
birds
sur-
rounding
their
house
tended
to
stay
in
the
trees
while
the
cat
was
wearing
the
BBS
and
give
their
warning
calls
ear-
lier.
When
the
BBS
was
removed
birds
often
stayed
on
the
ground
even
when
the
cat
was
close.
One
owner
from
Year
2
withdrew
her
cat
after
her
pet
cockatoo
became
distressed
by
the
cat
wearing
the
BBS
and
would
not
stop
screeching.
In
contrast,
two
owners
said
their
cats
brought
home
birds
for
the
first
time
ever
while
wearing
the
yellow
BBS
in
Year
1.
One
owner
reported
seeing
lizards
freezing
when
the
cat
approached
wearing
the
BBS,
but
this
did
not
occur
when
the
BBS
was
removed.
3.6.
Owner
interviews