Cat Tracker launched in May 2014. In a little less than one year, we’ve enrolled over 500 indoor/outdoor kitties from 9 different states and several foreign countries! Today we are pleased to announce that we have recorded tracks from over 100 cats! So what have we learned so far?
In examining the home ranges of our first 1oo cats, we’ve found that the cats’ tracks are just as unique as the cats themselves. The majority of our 100 cats travel less than 5 hectares (about 12 acres) and seem to stick to their neighborhoods rather than venturing into forests and wild areas. However, there are some ‘rogue’ cats that don’t fit this trend. Instead, these cats — Spencer, Roukus, Mia, and Kagin, for example– are among the 5% of cats that traveled more than 5 hectares. Spencer himself holds the record for the farthest traveling cat with a home range of 47 hectares!
It’s not clear yet what motivates our cats to have larger or smaller home ranges, and that’s why we need your help to find out! We need to track more cats…we’re aiming for 1,000! This large sample size will allow us to answer more questions, for example:
- What factors affect the distance that cats travel?
- Does age, sex or housing density change home ranges?
- Could cat home ranges be limited by predators?
Right now we only have five cats that have these more interesting stories. A larger sample size will help us more accurately determine whether long distance-traveling kitties are common or rare and allow us to better determine what kind of natural habitats they may be affecting.
Help us reach our 1,000 cat goal and spread the word about Cat Tracker! We are especially interested in tracking pet barn cats, country cats, cat siblings, unneutered cats, and cats from around the world. Our Cat Tracking partners in Australia and New Zealand have also recently started enrolling participants in their area so be sure to pass the word along to your friends in the Southern Hemisphere!
While cats are not wildlife, this information could prove very valuable to biologists monitoring and trying to expose the impact free-roaming cats have on wildlife. If everybody and their neighbor has a cat that roams, those ranges could overlap, intensifying the predation native wildlife suffers from a non-native predator that breeds on the same scale as rabbits and has a diet subsidized by humans, so it suffers little to no natural attrition like the wildlife populations do. Keep cats indoors!