This information was received via Iona Mitchell, whose contact details are below.
The University of South Australia is running an innovative ‘Cat Tracker’ project Australia-wide. The project tracks the movement of pet cats and interviews their owners. The aim is to learn about the roaming behaviours of pet cats and to help cat owners make decisions about their cat’s care and welfare. Even if you are not a cat owner, you can still fill out the survey to provide your views on cat ownership, part of this project's objectives are to find out more about social attitudes to cat ownership and cat management.
A light-weight GPS tracker (like the one in the attached photo) is placed on a cat’s collar or harness, and its movement over a 24 hour period is recorded. The information is downloaded and displayed on a map - to show you exactly where your cat roams! This enables you to check on your cat’s safety e.g. is it spending time near roads; identify its favourite sleeping, hiding and roaming places; and find out if it is entering other people’s homes to be fed! Kids also love to learn where their furry-friends like to spend time.
The great news is that ‘Cat Tracker’ is coming to Tassie in early 2018 and the project is looking for cat owners to interview and cats to track. Have a look at the Cat Tracker website http://j.mp/Cat-Trackerand to get started - you can fill in the cat owner survey. You can fill out the survey even if you do not own a cat. Pass this email on to anyone you think may be interested in participating.
If you are interested in finding out more about the project please contact the project team at the University of South Australia: email@example.com or (08) 8302 9999.
Here are some interesting findings from the South Australian project which tracked over 400 cats and interviewed more than 3000 cat owners:
- Of the 428 cats that were each tracked for at least five days, the distance they roamed ranged from about 0.1 to 31 hectares, with a median of 1 hectare (approximately 10 average 1/4 acre residential blocks).
- Male cats and non-desexed cats roamed the furthest, and 88% of the cats tracked had larger home-ranges at night.
- They compared sedentary cats (roamed < 1 hectare) and wandering cats (roamed > 1 hectare). Wandering cats crossed more roads each day, showed more signs of being in fights and were more often seen with prey. Wandering cats were also typically younger and had less stimulation (e.g. toys, scratching posts, opportunity for play) provided by their owners.
- 177 cats that were described by their owners as being kept inside overnight were tracked, and it was found that 39% of them roamed over 1 hectare at night.
- Most respondents reported that cats roam in their neighbourhoods and 40% thought that these cats were a nuisance. The major concern was fighting with, or scaring their pets.
- The study compared the personalities of indoor and outdoor cats and found their personalities to be very similar, suggesting that there is no negative impact on a cat’s personality when it is kept indoors.
- The report gives interesting advice about cats with different personalities, for example, a ‘skittish’ cat may benefit from having hiding spots at home or an ‘outgoing’ cat (curious & active) may benefit from additional toys and play time.
Tasmanian Land for Wildlife Coordinator
Gardens for Wildlife Coordinator
Coordinator Community Engagement (Biodiversity)
Private Land Conservation Program
Natural and Cultural Heritage Division
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
GPO Box 44, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001
Ph: 03 6165 4409