A joint project between Wellington City Council and Victoria University of Wellington is trialing bright coloured cat collar covers as a means of reducing the amount of wildlife they can catch.
The Birdsbesafe cover for a cat's collar is a tube of brightly coloured fabric, designed to be visible to birds so that they may mistake a stalking cat.
"Many birds have advanced colour vision and see bright colours especially well, even in low light," says Victoria University researcher Dr Heidy Kikillus.
"The collar covers have been tested overseas with promising results, and we would like to investigate if they have the same success in New Zealand."
The project has owners of domestic cats participating in the study over this coming summer.
"Participants will be provided with a collar and attachable cover from United States-based company Birdsbesafe, and are asked to keep a record of the prey caught both with and without the collar over an 8-week period," says Dr Kikillus.
"Cats have received a lot of attention in the media due to their potential negative impact on native wildlife, and it will be interesting to see if the collar covers have an impact. We've been delighted at the level of interest from cat owners, and we look forward to including them in this study. It's a neat opportunity to partner with the community to learn more about cats together."
The results of the study will be analysed and possibly used in more comprehensive studies of cat behaviour.
More information on the greater project is available at http://cattracker.nz/