How it will work:
There is a strong cultural resistance to limiting cat access to outdoors. We proposed to disrupt this resistance by working at the family scale through a positive youth-led education campaign borne from the youth’s experience of learning about the impact of cats on birds by testing different alternatives to allowing cats to free-roam. We seek to change beliefs (it is normal, natural and not harmful for cats to be free-roaming) in a cohort of NatureKids BC Members families with cats and to change how they act (keeping cats in, using various predation reducing devices such as the Cat Bib or BirdBeSafe collar).
The “citizen science” component will test efficacy of various alternatives and will to engage youth, acting as a tool for encouraging dialogue and education leading to changing behaviour at the family scale. Much like the early work on encouraging recycling, engaged youth can be a powerful lever for change at the family scale which may then ripple out into the community.
We will conduct pre/post surveys of NatureKids member families to gauge their awareness, attitudes and perceptions about the impact cat predation on birds and other wildlife. The survey will explore respondents’ awareness of different methods of reducing bird mortality from cat kills and willingness/ barriers to employ the methods. This will provide a baseline to compare the outcomes of a repeat survey (and provide data on the success of the project) at the end of year two.