Bells reduce predation of wildlife by domestic cats (Felis catus)

Authors

  • Graeme D. Ruxton,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, U.K.
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  • Sarah Thomas,

    1. Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, U.K.
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  • Jessica W. Wright

    1. Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, U.K.
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*All correspondence to: G. D. Ruxton. E-mail: g.ruxton@bio.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

Twenty-one cat owners from a 100 km2 area, centred on Carnforth, Lancashire, England, recorded each dead prey item delivered by their cat or cats during an 8-week period, following one of three experimental schedules, each of which required each cat to have a bell on a collar for only half of the time. The mean number of items each cat delivered to the owner was 2.9 in the 4 weeks when the cats had a bell attached, compared to 5.5 for the equivalent time when the bell was absent. The bell had no effect on the relative numbers of different prey types delivered, and there was no evidence that the cats adapted their hunting behaviour to reduce the effect of the bell over time.

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