The Secret Life Of Your Cat

Secret of Cats


Have you ever wondered where your cat goes at night? What do they get up to when they pop out the cat flap? 


Cat Study by the Royal Veterinary College


Not much is known about the movements of our domestic cats when they’re not at home. Scientists have studied big cats extensively, but not so much domestic felines. Until 2012/13 when a team of scientists from the Royal Veterinary College in the UK got together with BBC TV to perform a study to increase our knowledge of cat behaviour. The mini-documentary was called Horizon’s The Secret Life of Cats, involving 50 different cats from the same small rural area.


Tracking Domestic Cats To Analyze Behaviour


Using the same technology they employed to track big cats like lions and cheetahs, scientists rigged up a smaller device for domestic cats. It was a tracking collar equipped with electronic sensors to measure activity and movement, together with a GPS to record range and distance. Some of the more active cats also wore kitty camcorders to film their movements and activities. 


Results of the Cat Study


Some of the results from the study surprised the cat owners, as well as the scientists. For instance, most of the cats remained in the built-up neighbourhood rather than venturing into the surrounding fields. They also preferred to stay fairly close to home, venturing only a few houses away in most cases. Some of the cats visited other homes and disappeared inside, presumably for a snack from a kind neighbour. 


The scientists also noted various factors that changed the cats’ roaming behaviour and these were:


  • Weather
  • Temperature
  • Feeding times
  • Owner’s schedules


Some cats who lived in close proximity to each other would selectively choose their roaming times, working around the schedule of the angry cat next door. Anything to avoid a fight. 


Since the filming of this documentary, the scientists have continued to track and research domestic cats. They will be publishing a research paper of their findings in the very near future.


In the meantime, you can watch the video to find out what other discoveries these scientists made about your cat’s wanderings:



by Natalie Secretan


Photo by Martin Cooper Ipswich - Topsy hunting