HomeCat Behaviorterritory and home rangeCurious about your cat’s outdoor behavior? The Cat Tracker Project may solve many mysteries


Curious about your cat’s outdoor behavior? The Cat Tracker Project may solve many mysteries — 14 Comments

  1. Secret Life Of The Cat – BBC was a doc about a cat tracking project done in the U.K. in 2012 I think. They used GPS devices, which I looked into then and again just recently. It’s still a challenge to find something small and affordable enough for us to use. The map is from that study.

  2. My 2 cats are indoor cats with a cat enclosure so they are protected from coyotes and pumas (and cars), which have become so predominant in my neighborhood (coyotes more than pumas but an occasional puma sighting is reported) that one seldom sees a cat roaming free these days. However, this does not totally protect the birds and small animals who somehow or other get through the chickenwire and into the cat enclosure. Then my cats have “gifts” to bring in the house from the enclosure Birds are beautiful and sound lovely and they actually do benefit the environment by spreading seeds and such, but some of them are just not very bright and don’t have much of a sense of self-preservation.

    • Yes birds are beautiful, but they are also pretty vicious especially to each other. No one ever mentions that side except when describing cats “playing” with their prey. It’s not all Disney cartoons out there.

  3. There are pros and cons about any survey. My personal belief is that my cats are strictly indoor only. Outdoor cats have a average life span of about 3to 5 years. Indoor cats live much much longer. I had at least one that lived until they were 20 years old. Indoor cats are not exposed to the many illnesses and diseases that outdoor cats are. These can be spread from cat to cat if even just one becomes ill. Flea infestation is another major problem involving cats. The cost alone of treating 7 cats is so high that I can not afford it. So I keep mine indoors.

    • I keep hearing the statistic that outdoor cats only live 3 to 5 years… I’ve had 18 cats, all of whom have been in/out, none of whom were ever hit by a car, or thrashed by a dog or raccoon nor contracted anything from other cats. All of them (save for one who was accidentally killed by a vet) lived way into their teens. I know that’s anecdotal but so are all the anecdotal reports from people who credit their cat’s life span solely to keeping them in. Many things go into keeping a cat healthy and living a long happy life. Many.

  4. I am retired and fortunate enough to be able to go outside WITH my cat and keep an eye on her. If she starts to the neighbors yard I call her back and she runs back — she loves hightailing it back to the porch when called. Getting a treat when she returns seems to enforce that behavior. I realize that an indoor outdoor cat may face more dangers than when kept in and never let out; however, same could be said for our children. Who wouldn’t like to lock their teenager up at night ! LOL. I simply will not deny my cat the right to explore her yard, eat her grass and chase an insect – she loves cicada’s (crunch crunch and lots of protein in them) and is an expert at catching them. I wish her a happy life as well as a long one, but most of all a happy one. Bird people are crazy. They want to bring wolves back because they realize they upset the natural balance when they bannished them. There are more than enough birds for the few a cat might catch. Especially a well fed housecat.

    • Yeah I don’t know if you’re still watching this thread, but I’m the same. I’ve supervised my cats’ entire lives for the 18 years I’ve been home and able to. I create a relationship with them that they love to be as aware of me as I am of them. Not only do they know I like them to stay close to home, they like to in the first place. They don’t do any damage, certainly not what cat haters think they do, and their lives are normal, natural and healthy for being able to walk around, see the sights and nap wherever they please. I’ve tried to keep them in. That hasn’t worked for us. I do have one cat now who after spending 13 hard years on the street is more than happy to stay in now, and I don’t try to force him out any more than force the others to stay in any more.

  5. This is a very interesting study. None of my cats are allowed to free roam. They do have an outdoor enclosure that they play in and enjoy.

    The information on cats killing birds is one I just cannot agree with though. We now have a colony of feral cats thanks to a neighbor that wanted to keep the rodent population down in her barn. Instead the cats seem to enjoy our yard and sleep with the sheep at night.

    We have a total of three bird feeders, a table feeder, and suet feeders out to feed the beautiful birds here. I have watched the feral cats hunt in our yard. They do not take any birds at all. They do, however, prey on the rabbits, squirrels, rats and mice that are attracted to the bird seed. These cats will quietly sneak up to a strike range and snatch whatever is feeding at the feeder areas. It is never birds though. They do the same at the sheep fold. They prey on the critters that appear to raid feed dishes.

    These cats are hard working hunters too. The woman that brought them into the neighborhood does not feed them and I do not feed them either. They are healthy and seem very content with their lives. We have put out weatherized sleeping boxes for them but they prefer to cuddle with the sheep.

    It would be interesting to see a video feed of one of their daily forays though.

  6. It will interesting to see how the data compares to an English study.

    I hope that the data will not be pounced on and used in the wrong way by bird conservationists and cat haters to argue why cats should be kept in all the time and stray cats trapped and euthanised or worse.

    Also I hope the data is accurate. One problem with studies like this is that the sample size is relatively small and it relates to an area. These factors might make the information non-representational of the entire US population.

    It is dangerous to extrapolate information from samples.

  7. “…This latest research project was inspired by a controversial study published in 2012 in “Nature Communications” espousing that somewhere between 1.4 and 3.7 million birds are killed annually by outdoor cats, in addition to 6.9 to 20.7 million small prey animals.

    This said, according to experts, that the numbers included in that study are far from accurate. This major difference in opinion has led to major acrimonious debates between people who are cat lovers and those who passionately advocate for the birds. What is not in contention however is that there are major consequences and significant risks to housecats who roam freely.” For these reasons and because I loathe surveillance of any kind, particularly on innocent and blameless living beings of other species, I 100% oppose these cumbersome, potentially dangerous devices. As for the bird issue, wild birds do absolutely nothing for people, but cats, the nation’s and the world’s most beloved companion animal, are our TRUE best friends, providing unconditional loyalty, love, beauty, breathtaking agility, speed and strength, companionship, friendship, and so much more. They have also guarded mankind’s grain stores and protected us from plague, among other devastating diseases, by being natural rodent control. The studies these bird fanatic cat haters cite are absolue LIES, moreover. We need to counter them in every instance by publishing and disseminating the FACTS. http://www.alleycat.org has them.

  8. Surprising that this study is conducted through NCSU considering the negativity of free roaming cats in America.
    I would rather have those cats be equipped with a video device that can transmit to the caretaker the precise moment that animal control or an individual snatches their cat to deposit at a kill shelter. Important. Time is of the essance if they want to save their cat.

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