The Catbib stop cats from killing.
History of the CatBib
Meet “Shmoo", CatBib King
Our inspiration for bringing the Catbib to Canada!
It all began in the late Fall of 2016 when we noticed a skinny tabby regularly showing up in our garden, sometimes spending hours each day on the lawn chairs that had not yet been stored for winter. He was very skittish: when we’d try to approach with food, he’d bolt. But he would always come back to eat when the coast was clear. In the hope of finding his previous family, we plastered his photo around the neighbourhood, and searched notices at the local humane society, all in vain. It looked like “Shmoo” (the name our son gave him) was going to be our responsibility. Shmoo was clearly hungry, and winter was just around the corner. We were worried about how he’d survive.
Every day we left out food, and slowly, over the coming weeks, a small degree of trust was earned. After 6 weeks, he began to enter the threshold of the house, just long enough to eat, and then he’d be off again. He endured the bitter cold of the Canadian winter in the shed in our backyard (we made a make-shift bed and filled it with loads of blankets). Finally, by spring, he was familiar enough with the family that he started staying in the house for longer periods. He began to gain weight, to the point where we needed to cut back on his food intake! Though his belly was full, his hunting skills were still razor sharp. Each and every day, he would kill several birds —cardinals, sparrows, blue jays, starlings, woodpeckers and even pigeons. He would also kill baby rabbits and squirrels. All, in varying states of distress, were deposited at our front door.
We were tormented. We loved “our” cat, but we also loved the birds and rabbits in our neighbourhood. Many of our neighbours have bird feeders and were very upset (rightfully, we feel!) with Shmoo’s predation. Like most domestic cats, he was not interested in eating the birds, just hunting them. We tried to keep him indoors but he was simply too feral to accept this. He would become frantic and hurl himself at the door to get out. We tried putting bells on his collar (a safety stretch collar). He didn’t like the bells one bit, but worse, they had no effect on his ability to kill. The daily carnage continued.
One morning, after a particularly gruesome bird “offering”, we spent hours online searching for some solution. As it turns out, there are many, many people deeply troubled by cat predation — bird lovers and cat lovers alike. It was good to know that others felt as we did, but we were not seeking consolation; we were seeking a solution. And then we found it! We landed on a site created by an American bird lover who was making his own catbibs, boldly claiming they “stop cats from killing birds.” He had been inspired by a bird-saving catbib developed and tested in Australia, a country whose magnificent wildlife is threatened due to predation of domestic cats. What did we have to lose? We ordered a bib and, well, “the rest is history”. Shmoo’s adjustment period truthfully lasted about 10 minutes, during which he moved a bit hesitantly. After that, he seemed to forget he had it on. Nowadays, he expects us to put it on before he goes outdoors. When he comes in, we remove it along with the stretch collar. But sometimes he scoots past us and heads upstairs to bed, and falls fast asleep still wearing it. The reduction in bird killings has been truly dramatic. Shmoo still hunts — he’s a young cat with loads of energy. But mercifully, he is far, far less successful in his efforts.