Have you ever wondered what your cats do when you aren't around? While most of their activities, like napping, playing with toys, or scratching at the couch, would probably be pretty boring to us, there's one behavior that has researchers pretty excited. If you have a cat that splits its time between indoors and outdoors, you might be surprised to learn just how far it roams over the course of a few days.
Recently, the Central Tablelands Local Land Services set up a program that used GPS to track how far cats roam when they leave their owner's house. The Local Land Services, or LLS, provides services like biosecurity and resource management to farmers, landowners, and the community as a whole. Many of us wouldn't have expected domestic cats to stray more than a block or two from their home, much less have a big impact on the environment, but that couldn't be more wrong. After all, we've already seen how much one cat named Klepto can accomplish over the course of a single night!
The study, which consisted of 14 cats in the New South Wales region of Australia, found that these adventurous felines were exploring much more than just their neighborhoods. In fact, one cat was found straying nearly two miles from home! Thankfully, the GPS trackers allow us to see the exact paths that each cat traveled. Scroll down to learn more about this project and see the unbelievable adventures that our house cats go on every day.
This might look like a map that a toddler scribbled on with a yellow crayon, but it's actually something far more fascinating.
These maps show the paths taken by house cats living in the New South Wales region of Australia.
Local house cats were outfitted with GPS trackers that monitored their movement over the course of one to ten days.
The Central Tablelands Local Land Services conducted this project to show cat owners just how much their furry friend is capable of doing over the course of a single night. Peter Evans, one of the senior officers in charge of the project, was surprised to learn how far away from home cats were roaming.
"Cats are given a pretty bad rap in terms of the damage they do to biodiversity, to native fauna and flora," explains Evans. The project helps illustrate just how much a single cat is capable of.
"You always get the comment from owners that their cat doesn't roam ... but we thought it was a great visual to show owners where cats go when they don't know where they are, because, generally, a lot of cats are unrestrained."
Initially, the project equipped 25 cats with GPS trackers, but only 14 of them were willing to keep them on for the entire time. Some owners reported their cats laying down and refusing to move after getting fitted with a tracker. Obviously, Evans and his crew were quick to remove trackers in these instances. A cat's happiness was far more important than results.
"I knew they wouldn't just stay in the backyard," says Evans, "but I was surprised with how far a few of the cats did go." While some cats didn't venture further than their neighborhood, others wandered miles away from home!
This was a wake-up call for many owners who may not have realized how important it is to keep their cats safe at night. Just because a cat is capable of traveling that far from home by itself doesn't mean that it should. Evans and the rest of the crew who worked on this project would like to make it nationwide, giving every owner an inside look at their cat's habits.
So, as you lay down to go to bed tonight, you should ask yourself one question: do you know what your cats are doing?
Don't forget to SHARE this incredible project with your friends and family.