We usually think of scrunchies as a way to hold back our hair. Now, the elastic band of brightly colored cloth has a new use: to help protect wildlife from domestic cats.
A student at Murdoch University in Australia headed up a research study that monitored the behavior of 114 cats for 2 years.
Her study revealed a surprising statistic: Cats who wore brightly colored scrunchies around their necks killed half as many (54% fewer) birds, reptiles and amphibians than they normally killed.
Researchers believe the bright colors are responsible for the drastic difference. Birds have a keen eye for colorful objects, and a cat wearing a scrunchie is much easier for them to see from a distance.
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Whereas cats who wear a bell around their neck are known to learn how to be extra quiet and sneak up on wildlife, cats who wear scrunchies have no way to hide a scrunchie’s bright colors.
Here’s the bad news for mice and other small animals: Scrunchie-wearing cats are still a big danger because the bright colors don’t stand out as much to them.