By Jake Beleski
That smug, arrogant smile you see on your feline friend from time to time usually means one thing.
It is the first indication that at some stage in the near-future you will stumble upon a scene of devastation — usually being a room full of feathers.
Every cat owner would know the mess that can occur when it gets hold of a bird, but that may no longer be the case thanks to an innovative product.
The CatBib was invented by a bird-feeding cat-lover in Oregon, America.
The product has made its way to New Zealand, and Nesta Ward of Masterton said it had proved a welcome addition to her cat’s attire.
“We got it because we’re bird-lovers as well as cat-lovers.
“It’s been wonderful because Teddy Bear (her cat) is two years old now, and he really enjoys wearing it.”
The CatBib is attached to the cat’s collar and hangs loosely over its chest.
It gently interferes with the timing and coordination a cat needs for successful bird catching, by coming between the cat and the bird at the last moment, all without affecting its ability to perform other activities.
Mrs Ward was sceptical at first, but quickly realised how successful it would be.
“I kept thinking it was going to be a nuisance, but I’ve found when he grooms himself he grooms the bib as well, so he knows that’s just how it is now.
“On the website it says it’s 81 per cent effective, but with me it’s been 100 per cent in the time that he’s worn it.”
The bib attaches to the collar with a hook and loop closure (Velcro), meaning any entanglements are easily dealt with.
“I did keep thinking what if it gets caught on a branch or what if a dog grabs the bib, but it would just release and break off.”
The benefits were plain to see, she said.
“It does slow him down.
“You can see it because it hangs like a triangle between his front legs and makes it difficult, so if he sees a bird and wants to get it, the bird has a chance to get away.”