Have you always wondered where your cat goes when you see them leaving the house in the morning? At least 70% of cat owners allow their cat to roam away from their property, but do we really know where these cats go once we open the door?
The Cradle Coast Cat Tracker Project would like to unravel the mystery. We would like to follow your cat using a GPS tracker and find out where your feline friend goes when they leave the protection of your home. Do they visit lots of other properties or do they cross any busy roads? Aren’t you curious to find out?
We are looking to track 20 cats in the Cradle Coast region using a light-weight GPS tracker attached to a cat harness. Each cat’s movements will be recorded by a GPS tracker over a nine-day period. We will use this data to produce a map that will show us where your cat has gone and how far your cat has travelled.
A similar project has been done in Adelaide and has produced some amazing maps. A lot of cats proved to be homebodies and moved only 100 metres from their house, while a few were more adventurous and roamed over a kilometre away. Most of the cats tracked in the South Australian study were city cats surrounded by busy roads and house blocks; we want to know what semi-urban cats get up to. With fewer busy roads and a more open landscape our cats in the Cradle Coast might travel much further afield.
This research will help us understand the movements of domestic cats in semi-urban areas and will assist cat owners with making informed decisions about their cat’s safety and care.
How you can participate
The project consists of two parts:
- You can volunteer your cat for the project by filling out a short survey about your cat and their habits.
- Twenty cats will be selected to participate in the cat tracker project. We are looking to track the cats between November and February. The owners will receive a cat harness with GPS tracker and the cat will be tracked for a nine-day period.
After the GPS tracker has been returned, all the participants will receive a map showing their cat’s movements. A full report of the results will be made available at the completion of the project.
We can’t track more than 20 cats at this time, and unfortunately, not every cat that is volunteered will be able to participate. We will be aiming for a good balance of gender and locations.
This research has been approved by the Tasmania Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee (project number 20261) and the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Animal Ethics Committee (project number: 15/2019-20) under the title Domestic Cat Tracker Project (Pilot Investigation Cradle Coast Region).