The movements of hundreds of pet cats have been recorded in a South Australian citizen science initiative designed to help cat owners make informed decisions about the care and management of their pets.
The University of South Australia’s research team worked with the community, using small GPS units to track the movement of hundreds of pet cats. Additionally, a survey of the South Australian community asked questions about cat management, including views on containing cats at night and limiting the number of cats permitted per household.
The final report of the Cat Tracker project found that cats travelled further than expected.
“The median home-range for the cats tracked was 1.04 hectares (10,400 square metres), which is approximately half the playing surface at the Adelaide Oval” said research leader Dr Philip Roetman. He added that night-time home-ranges were significantly larger than day-time home-ranges for nearly nine out of ten cats.
Chair of South Australia’s Dog and Cat Management Board, Dr Felicity-Ann Lewis, says attitudes towards cat management are changing and there is a growing expectation that cats should be managed in a similar way to dogs.
“We hope that having seen these results, more owners will choose to keep their cats inside at night and that local councils will consider including cat curfews within their cat by-laws,” Dr Lewis said.
Read the surprising facts about cats’ secret lives here. Story credit: University of South Australia newsroom.
Studies that can help inform local government are only possible if we support Australia’s universities. To keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.