You want to know how far your indoor-outdoor cat roams. Here is an answer.

If your domestic cat is an indoor/outdoor cat it is nice to have an idea as to how far he or she roams. You want to keep tabs on where she is, at least roughly. Well, normally domestic cats don’t travel that far from their home. Many lost cats have been found a hundred yards from their owner’s home.

Well, a survey of domestic cats on Phillip Island, southeast of Melbourne gives us a nice guideline for domestic cat roaming. Although this is Australia and there is an open space opposite the houses.

However, I don’t think urbanisation per se hinders the roaming capacity of the domestic cat.

In the maps below you see how far two cats roamed. The red lines show daytime travel and the blue shows nighttime travel. The first map concerns the movements of George and the second concerns Mildred.

Male cat roaming

Home range of domestic cat – MALE

Female cat roaming

Home range of domestic cat – FEMALE

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They cover a similar area. As a guess the area of George’s roaming is inside a 500 yard by 400 yard zone. This is very approximate. Mildred’s roaming area is slightly smaller and she stays close, more often, to her home.

This is very typical of the wild cat species. Females always take up home ranges which are substantially smaller than those of the males. Also the home range of male wild cat species often encompass the home ranges of female cats.

I’d be quite confident that these maximum travelled distances for two Australian domestic cats are reasonably representative of all domestic cats subject to special circumstances which restrict or expand the area.

P.S. In this instance the cats were more active when the short-tailed shearwaters were present.

Cat Marking Territory | Home Ranges | Cat Spraying

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Always fascinating to see these. I've seen them before in a study but I can't remember where it was. I think it was of a couple dozen cats and they were in the UK.

    • You are right Albert. It was a study in the UK. It is interesting to see an Aussie comparison and the distances are similar. What we see here is the typical maximums for wandering domestic cats.

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