Saturday, August 13, 2011

What the World Needs is More Studies of Cats

Image credit to Fahmi Sani Photography Getty Images, via Scientific American.

That's the title of this post from my friends over at Corrente.  Lambert links to a cool study reported in Scientific American:

Where do cats go when they are lurking out of sight? The question is of interest not just to pet owners but also to conservation scientists who study the impact of free-roaming cats on wildlife populations. Scientists at the University of Illinois and the Illinois Natural History Survey recently attached radio transmitters to the adjustable collars of 18 pet and 24 feral cats in southeastern Champaign-Urbana and tracked the animals by truck and on foot for more than one year. The research, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, shows that pet cats maintain a rather lazy existence: they spent 80 percent of their time resting.


They devoted another 17 percent to low-activity pursuits such as grooming and only 3 percent to high-activity pursuits such as hunting. Unowned cats rested just 62 percent of the time and spent 14 percent, mostly at night, being highly active. Feral cats roamed far more widely than researchers had expected: up to 1,351 acres. In contrast, pet cats stayed within an average of about five acres of home.

Like feral former Democrats....

Sometimes in the winter when it's snowy I try to follow my cats' tracks outdoors, but usually I just get confused.  I can determine gross directionality and location, but with multiple cats and overlapping trails I'm just not that good of a tracker.  My overall impression is that these kitties tend to stay fairly close to home, at least when it's cold out.


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