A Yankee cat or southern kitty? Roukus calls Maine home for 3 months of the year and Florida for 9! Right now in Maine she enjoys trips through the woods and visiting neighbors but doesn’t take too well to the cool sands of Maine’s shores. Will she prefer the warmer beaches of the Sunshine State?
Roukus is just one of 73 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) participants enrolled in Cat Tracker. With your help, we’re trying to uncover the secret lives of indoor-outdoor cats using GPS technology. We welcome DIY participants from anywhere — follow these directions to participate, joining your fellow Cat Trackers in Maine, California, Germany, and even Holland!
Did you know Cat Tracker was recently featured on National Geographic News? Watch and meet the Cat Tracker team and some of our participating kitties!
Troi Perkins is an undergraduate student in zoology, fisheries and wildlife at NC State University. She’s an intern in the Earth Observation and Biodiversity Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, working with Dr. Roland Kays on Cat Tracker and eMammal. Follow her on Twitter @theTroi.
Header image credit: Neil Mccoy.
I wish the Google Map app had a scale of miles included for scale reference. Cats are not native, and people are frequently unwilling to use Catios or keep their cats indoors, but your website proves the extent of roaming an individual cat does, putting it and birds at risk. Traffic, disease, unprotected watershed, loss of native birds are all reasons not to let a cat roam free. Most responsible pet owners don’t think twice about keeping dogs on a leash and picking up their poop, so why not cats?
Keep up the good work.
That’s a good point about the scale bar. We’ll note for future maps. Please remember we’re still in the process of analyzing all the cat movement data — the power of the study will come from looking at the movement patterns of many cats, not making conclusions from single cat tracks.
It is rather simplistic to attempt a flat comparison of dog ownership and cat ownership, to suggest that cats can be kept on leashes just as easily as dogs can, and to accuse owners who let their cats outside of being irresponsible. For starters, dogs are pack animals and respond well to being with their pack — their human owners — all the time, and especially for pack walks. Cats are solitary animals accustomed to independently roaming their territory. While some cats are content to be inside their whole lives, other cats become neurotic when confined indoors. Indeed, a large percentage of the most common behavioral problems owners have with their cats come from indoor confinement. It’s also important to consider thousands (tens of thousands?) of people who take in stray, abandoned cats every year. These cats have become accustomed to being outside, and often will not submit to indoor confinement, though they are lovely feline companions when allowed to be indoor-outdoor cats. What of these cats who go crazy when kept inside? Should every cat who can’t tolerate being inside all the time be killed? Killed, instead of being given homes, instead of being adopted as beloved family pets? Do the owners who take these cats off the streets deserve to be chastised and called irresponsible? Is the life of a bird worth more than the life of a cat? It is a complex issue that can’t be reduced to branding people who let their cats outside as irresponsible, and suggesting cats can be kept on leashes like dogs.
[…] and Riana of Your Wild Life‘s Cat Trackers bring da Rouckus and give us a glimpse into the secret lives of our cats, which just happen to be this […]