Billions of songbirds fall prey to cats annually in the U.S., and now ChirpOn, LLC has developed a bird deflecting cat collar that it is bringing to market with a Crowdfunding campaign. The campaign targets the owners of an estimated 50 million pet cats that have access to the outdoors.
The ChirpOn Cat Collar for Birds was designed to take advantage of the unique characteristics of bird vision discovered by researchers in 1970.
Unlike humans, birds see ultra violet light waves that create intense reflective colors. ChirpOn has developed proprietary silicone appendages that reflect UV light and sway with cat movement. Attached via grommets to a custom manufactured collar, the flexible appendages jut up behind the cat’s head.
It took over a year of extensive research, development, and testing to create a collar that deflects birds, yet is unobtrusive and comfortable for cats.
The collar includes standard features such as a break away safety clasp, and size adjustment. It is made from 100% bamboo fiber that is naturally soft and smooth on cat fur, according to the company’s field testing.
“When my kids finally went out on their own, they left me with their cats and their cell phone bills,” says company founder and developer Steve Crawford. “I’m still attempting to negotiate the cell phone bills, but the impact of the cats on the songbirds was distressing. The collar appears simple but it’s really very complex. It took a lot of trial and error. The cats are none the wiser. The birds chirp on!”
The Cat Collar for Birds is available for order exclusively through the Kickstarter campaign until September 21, 2016, and then at www.chirpon.com. The company plans to bring the collar to the commercial pet products market in 2017.
Bird populations have suffered dramatic decline over the last decades. By far the major factor is habitat destruction, but cat predation is significant, followed by the widespread use of pesticides and bird collisions with window reflections and motor vehicles. Of mounting concern is the impact of wind turbines. The National Audubon Society estimates over 300 bird species are on the brink of extinction due to climate change.