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The cat’s out of the bag: secret lives of cats revealed

New research released by the University of South Australia has revealed just how far some pet cats are travelling away from their homes. The Cat Tracker project was developed in collaboration with the Dog and Cat Management Board and provides insights into both cat behaviour and also community attitudes towards cat management.

Cat Tracker involved more than 3000 members of the South Australian community. 428 cat tracks were analysed, including 61,250 location data points. The survey data included information about 4314 cats.

The report reveals that:

  • The median home-range for the cats was tracked was 1.04 hectares (10,400 square metres)
  • Night-time home-ranges were significantly larger than day-time home-ranges, and 88 per cent of cats had larger home-ranges at night.
  • 40 per cent of the cats that had been classified by their owners as being kept inside at night, had in fact been out and about at night, with night-time home-ranges of over one hectare (10,000 square metres)
  • Most cat owners and non-owners agreed that it was important to contain cats at night and they would support a night time curfew
  • Most owners supporting the mandatory desexing and microchipping of cats that will be introduced in July 2018

The report will help owners to understand their cat’s behaviour, the risks that they may be encountering when out roaming and make good ownership choices such as keeping their cats contained to their property.  The report will also be used by the Dog and Cat Management Board to inform future cat management strategies in South Australia.

The report is available at http://www.discoverycircle.org.au/projects/cat-tracker/results/