Published On: Thu, May 26th, 2016

GPS maps show the wild adventures your cat goes on night

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f96961%2f43f210489cbd4338a50dddda886fb07cThese maps show just how far cats roam away from home.

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

Cats love to wander — but just how far they go is pretty wild.

More than one dozen cats were fitted with GPS trackers to show the distance they roam from their homes. The end result was a series of maps, which provide fascinating insight into the travelling habits of felines.

The maps are part of a cat tracking project by the Central Tablelands Local Land Services in Australia and is all about educating owners on where their pets go when they aren’t looking. 

“Cats are given a pretty bad rap. In terms of the damage they do to biodiversity, to native fauna and flora,” Peter Evans, a senior land officer, told Mashable Australia.

“You always get the comment from owners that their cat doesn’t roam … but we thought it was a great visual to show owners where cats go when they don’t know where they are, because generally a lot of cats are unrestrained.”

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

The project started in mid-March with 25 cats enrolled, but by the time the project ended in mid-May, only 14 cats remained. This was due to some GPS trackers disappearing or felines struggling to wear the harness with the tracker attached.

“Some people said when their cat was fitted with the tracker, it would lay flat on the ground, and wouldn’t move,” Evans said. “Ultimately the welfare of the cat was paramount to what we were doing.”

It was up to owners to decide how long they wanted their cat to wear the tracker, with times ranging from one to 10 days. 

Evans said owners were “gobsmacked” to see how far their cats actually roamed. It was so unbelievable to the researchers, that some of the long distances were first suspected as glitches in the GPS data. “I knew they wouldn’t just stay in the backyard, but I was surprised with how far a few of the cats did go,” he said. 

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

As the maps show, some of these cats wander deep into bushland or check out other houses in the neighbourhood.

One cat was found repeatedly hanging around a local school late at night. Evans suspects it might have been going through bins for food or chasing mice as it spent a considerable amount of time there.

After seeing where their felines went, some owners took the step of changing how they look after their cats, with one owner deciding to keep their pet inside overnight.

Evans hopes the cat tracking project will extend nationally, with the potential to eventually work with the University of South Australia, which has also completed a similar project.

“We’re hoping that people think about what dangers a cat can pose to itself, in terms of how often they’re crossing the road and encountering other cats,” he said. Keep them safe guys.

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

map

Image: Central Tablelands Local Land Services

maps

Image: CENTRAL TABLELANDS LOCAL LAND SERVICES

[h/t ABC News]

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