Roam if you want to, roam around the world….so the B-52’s suggest we do anyway. There are also lots of cats and cat owners who feel the same. This was one of the issues covered in a report put out last week on the results of an Australian study done into a number of cat behaviours, including how far cats roam from home.
The study was done in-conjunction with the University of South Australia and over 400 humans “volunteered” their cats to wear GPS trackers supplied by the researchers. The volunteer cats wore the trackers for a week to identify and plot their movements. After the researchers analysed the captured data they calculated the median cat home-range. That is, the area within which half the cats travelled wider than and half the cats travelled less than. This was found to be just over 1ha which they expressed as half the size of the Adelaide Oval, or for those of us who are neither South Australian nor a cricket lover, the area of 8 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Many of the cat owners were very surprised by the extent of their Favourite Feline’s wanderings. One lady even wrote a note to the researchers when returning the GPS unit apologising that her cat didn’t go outside much during the week. The cat in question was one of the cats who roamed the furthest in the group, with its owner being unaware her cat was spending most nights cruising the neighbourhood.
The findings from this study on one level are funny with owners bemused by their cats who appear to have an entirely independent social life away from their owners. Being an advocate for keeping cats indoors I’m still amazed that so many people happily let their cats out to roam unrestricted. They risk the safety of their cats by increasing the likelihood that their Favourite Feline gets run over, or gets into fights with other cats or dogs. Studies such as these tend to increase discussion in the community about how we better manage pet ownership generally. There is community concern on a number of fronts including the protection of our native wildlife from cat attacks but also being considerate for others who may not share the same level of affection for cats as others. A number of local councils in Australia have already introduced cat curfews. Yarra Ranges Council has a 24 hour curfew requiring cat owners to keep their cats within their property at all times. Wollondilly Council in south-west Sydney is also hearing a proposal for a night curfew for cats. At risk of having high expectations, wouldn’t it be good if cat owners could take it upon themselves to keep their cats indoors rather than having this forced upon them by government? Yeah, I know….never gonna happen.
Even cats who have been outside cats can readily adapt to becoming an indoor-only cat. Check out these cats as a good example. Cats are perfectly happy living on the inside provided they have plenty of stimulus. Ensure you provide your Favourite Feline with a range of cat toys such as our Fur Balls and Mice which are excellent for independent play, and Cat Teasers for interactive play and an opportunity for physical activity.
If you are super keen and want to read the full 80-page Cat Tracker report, you can here.
On the other hand, if you want to hear the B-52’s, click here.