If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, do want to know how far your cat roams from your home? The recent BBC television documentary on the domestic cat tells us clearly what cats do when let loose. Do you know how far your cat roams and where he or she goes?
The program tells us the size of, what I would call, the “home range” of a typical domestic cat living in the England, UK. I would expect the range size to be similar for all domestic cats under similar circumstances but there is a marked difference between males and females, inline with the wild cat species.
The home range is the area that a cat calls his territory and which he considers his home. It is the area that he would scent mark. The cat with the world’s largest home range is the snow leopard. It can extend to 1000 square kilometers. Totally awesome.
For the BBC programme, 11 cats were fitted with video cameras around their necks. These devices also had some sort of incorporated GPS device which allowed the cats to be tracked. A map of their movements (link opens in a new window) was produced.
The cat’s movements radiate out from their owner’s home. The directions taken appear to be random as if wandering rather aimlessly waiting for something to happen. Although cats follow routines and well worn tracks.
Here is the list of range sizes together with some details about each cat gathered from the BBC website:
- It is nice to see some hard facts on home ranges although the figures are what I would expect.
- Females have considerably smaller home ranges. In the wild male cat ranges tend to overlap female ranges.
- Although I have described the cats appearance I am unsure if the information is relevant in this instance. However, some people claim that calico and tortoiseshell cats have “catitude” and that red tabbies are boss-like, so there may be a connection between coat type and behavior and therefore home range sizes (see also calico cat behavior)
- The range of the Asia-African wildcat, the wildcat ancestor of the domestic cat, is up to about 1.6 kms² (male). There are 247 acres in one square kilometer so 1.6 square kms is 395 acres. You can see that the wildcat ancestor of the domestic cat has a vastly greater home range than its domestic cousin. I guess domestication did that.
- An apartment (of 1200 square feet) cat has a home range of .027 acre.
- The size of a domestic cats home depends a great deal on where the cat lives. At the top end of the scale a male Australian feral cat might have a home range of 900 acres, which is greater than the wildcat. There are some super feral cats in Australia that are like wild cats.