Nancy Brennan didn’t like watching her cat George kill birds, and even less his trapping them through her home.
“His first catch one spring was a ruffed grouse, which he killed and brought into the house,” Brennan told the Burlington Free Press. “I was so disgusted, I literally said out loud, ‘I’m going to stop you, George.’”
And she did.
Brennan came up with a way to warn her neighborhood birds that George was on the prowl, before he could get close enough to pounce. She fashioned him a bright striped collar that circled his neck like a cute little clown.
And a new business, “Birds Be Safe,” was off to a flying success!
The birds seem to much happier now. Brennan hasn’t found any birds on her living room floor, the Good News Network reports. And she’s found many others who agree. Not only have Brennan’s Birds Be Safe collars sold to thousands of cat owners, a study conducted by St. Lawrence University professor S.K. Wilson found the collars prevented cats from killing 19 times as many birds as those who did not wear them.
Cats kill an estimated 3.7 billion birds every year, the study concluded.
“Our findings suggest that free-ranging cats cause substantially greater wildlife mortality than previously thought and are likely the single greatest source of anthropogenic mortality for U.S. birds and mammals,” ornithologist Peter Marra of the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute and his co-authors conclude. “Scientifically sound conservation and policy intervention is needed to reduce this impact.”
George crossed over the rainbow bridge a few years later, but Brennan will always remember him, as will cat families around the world. Birds Be Safe is keeping birds safe throughout the U.S., Australia, Western Europe, Iceland, New Zealand, and South Africa.
“Can you believe I went from George being in trouble all the time, for catching birds, to this?’” Brennan said. “He’s paid off his karma pretty well.”
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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