Q1. What is a cat scrunchie / cat collar scrunchie / cat collar cover?
Are they the same as the anti-predator cat collars?
Cat Scrunchies are open-ended fabric tubes used in combination with a breakaway collar. The whole idea of the scrunchie is to protect our cats and our wildlife birds by increasing the wearers' visibility. This is a fun, preventive and proactive approach to protect against cat predation.
Breakaway collars are highly recommended because if your cat gets caught somehow, they can break loose.
It is very important to understand that this is not made to be anti-predator. It is used to reduce the chances of successful hunting. There are similar products on the market that may have similar intentions, but there is nothing "anti" about natural predatory behaviour. Cats are predators and we are to accept and embrace the nature of cats if we are to own cats.
Q2. How is this going to protect my cat?
The features of your cat scrunchie can protect your cat in a few different ways:
1) Reflective piping
Since cats are crepuscular (active during the darker hours of dawn and dusk), the reflective piping aka. high-viz enables the cat to be seen in the dark, much like cyclists on the road at night time. If we are having challenges with containing our cats during these active times, this feature can protect our cats from vehicles when they cross the road.
If your cat becomes the famous clown-cat of the block, your cat becoming a theft target is minimized. With your cat roaming around its territory with such a statement piece around its neck, your neighbours would be able to immediately notice, identify and recognize your cat's presence.
3) Lost cat Identification
If your cat gets lost, it makes finding your cat easy with the brightly coloured, high-viz scrunchie. It also makes the "WANTED" description interesting! If you are concerned about your cat taking off the collar altogether, make sure the collar is one-finger tight, and use a variable load safeloc breakaway cat collar from Rogz.
Q3. How does it protect birds?
Birds' vision is tetrachromatic; it means they can see all the colours we see as well as UV. They are attracted to vibrant, bright colours for food and for survival.
When a cat wears a brightly coloured collar cover, it will catch the birds attention and notice your cat. Birds will know it is not food and will have a chance to flee. This is an evidence-based approach to discourage cat predation here in New Zealand. Cat Collar Covers are a popular accessory in the UK for bird protection as well.
Please note that this will not eliminate hunting or predatory behaviour or cease successful hunting altogether.
There are always skilled cats and vulnerable birds. If your cat encounters either a hatchling or a fledgling,
then, unfortunately, your cat is highly likely to be successful. Hatchlings are the most valuable of birds, and fledglings are still learning how to fly. They are more often than not on the ground, hopping around, trying to lift off.
Added bonus is that vehicles can also see your cat better in the dark with my reflective piping, especially during winter. The attention that your cat would get from the bright colours also makes it hard for your cat to be stolen too!
If you would like to be part of saving our wild and native birds from being cat food, please consider purchasing one for your cat(s).
Q4. How do you use a cat scrunchie/cat collar cover?
All you need to do is to thread through your breakaway cat collar, gather the fabric so both ends of the breakaway buckle is revealed and let your cat wear it like normal. In most cases, your cat won't even know its wearing an extra piece of fashion!
Q5. Why is it called a "scrunchie"?
Simply because, when gathering up the fabric to reveal the two ends of the breakaway collar, it creates a look just like a scrunchie when the collar is closed. It is more accurate to say that it is a cat collar cover, because it covers the cat collar - hence all the different names. Sometimes the word "scrunchie" confuses some of us with our human version of scrunchies - which are what we use to tie our hair with. Please note that these are two, totally separate things.
Q6. What's the difference between a cat scrunchie and a hair-tie scrunchie?
The differences are:
1. hair-tie scrunchies are for your hair. They have elastics at their core. A cat scrunchie is only a fabric cover.
2. Hair-tie scrunchies are not made for cats. Cat scrunchies are specifically made to use with cat collars.
3. Hair-tie scrunchies can strangle a cat if used on its neck. A cat scrunchie will not strangle your cat or make him or her feel constrained.
Q7. What are your scrunchies made of?
The covers are made of cotton fabric, with polyester reflective piping.
Q8. Is it even effective?
There have been studies conducted across the world from the UK to across the ditch to Aussie, where birds respond to brightly coloured moving "cats" and decreased cat-to-bird interaction by up to 87%. Though every cat and bird is different, overall it is considered an effective preventive measure against wildlife decrease. Much like the usage of a bell, if bells don't work well for you and your cat, consider trying a cat scrunchie instead or use a combination of both bell and cat scrunchie. You won't know until you try! I know of a few cats who either can silence the bell, or even remove it.
Q9. Why should I consider using a cat scrunchie?
There are many reasons why we may want to adopt the practice of using a cat scrunchie. Some reasons may resonate with you more than others, but they are all valid reasons to do what is best for yourself, your cat, and for your home - our planet Earth.
The most obvious reason is to protect the population of our remaining wildlife, specifically our native birds and critters. It is paramount that we protect our wildlife because it creates biodiversity. When there is no biodiversity, nature's entire system of abundance will crash out of balance, and we will have a lack of resources to survive on Earth. This is evident all around the world. For instance, if there were to be no more mushrooms - our fungi kingdom, we will all die.
Cats are predators, and our birds and critters are their prey. The majority of admissions to Bird Care Aotearoa Hospital are from cat interactions, such as bitemarks showing up under their wings and around their body. If unattended, the bird can die from a long and painful infection.
b. Protects your cat
The idea behind this colourful cat scrunchie is not only appealing to birds, but also appealing to humans. Paired with reflective piping, it is difficult for humans to miss seeing a cat with clown-like features dashing across the road. Cats are crepuscular, which means they are most active during the hours of dawn and dusk. Sporting a brightly coloured and reflective cat scrunchie during these hours will help increase its visibility.
c. Raises awareness
We love our cats, and we want to let them be who they are in nature as hunters and a family member to us. Cat scrunchies are just the many ways to protect both our birds and our cats so they can co-exist without the harsh methods we do to other predators that harm our wildlife. By raising awareness of cat scrunchies, we can all do our bit collectively as a nation to protect both wildlife and our companions.
Q10. My cat is an indoor cat, would I need a cat scrunchie too?
Maybe. Some indoor cats can still catch their prey at our balconies without a problem, and some have no access to such areas, so you may not need one. It is however a good habit to get your cat to wear a collar should they ever need to be placed in a cattery, or an outdoor area.
"Ēhara tāku toa i te toa takatahi, engari he toa takitini" - Our strength is not made from us alone, but made from many.
I'm Joyce and I am the creator of Sprinka Joy.
My intention of Sprinka Joy is to sprinkle joy everywhere I go.
Sprinka Joy endeavours to inspire a change of mindset of how we live as people and guardians of Aotearoa, through small actions of conservation. One of many projects, “Carnival Cats”, is created to unite cat and bird lovers of New Zealand to take part in protecting our wildlife against preventable cat predation, through the use of colour. Because not all cats can become indoor cats, administering brightly coloured cat collar covers is the next most feasible and logical step to protect not just our wildlife, but to also the future of our cats.