Second NSW council ponders cat bibs to preserve native wildlife

The Blue Mountains Council is considering trialling “cat bibs” as part of a broader program to reduce predation of native wildlife by domestic cats.

The bibs, small triangular pieces of neoprene attached to a cat’s collar, are claimed to stop 81 percent of cats catching birds, 45 percent from catching mammals, and 33 percent from catching reptiles.

The bibs are said not to unduly restrict a cat’s freedom of movement.

The council is considering offering free bibs to owners of microchipped and registered cats, along with containment and night-time curfews.

Other jurisdictions have already introduced cat containment measures, including the ACT where cats in new suburbs have to be kept indoors or in cat runs at all times.

The ACT Government’s Cat Plan 2021-2031, developed in consultation with cat owners, environmental groups, and the broader community, will require all new cats in suburban Canberra to be contained from July 1, 2021.

The Blue Mountains Council was one of 10 local governments selected to join the RSPCA “keeping cats safe at home” project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and which provided incentives such as free or cheaper desexing, enclosures or modified fencing, and bibs.

In 2017, the Eurobodalla Council, on the NSW South Coast, began distributing cat bibs free to residents with microchipped and registered cats, the first local government in Australia to do so.