Cat roaming survey and videos

By Grant Jacobs 15/06/2013

Regular readers at sciblogs and New Zealanders who aren’t living under rocks (and probably those that are, too) will know there has been some fuss over cats and protecting birdlife this year.

A great website hosted by the BBC shows some of the results of a survey of what cats get up to outside the house. It’s fun to explore, especially if you’re owned by a cat. (Y’know, you never really ‘own’ the cat…)


50 cats were recruited, fitted with GPS collars and tracked. Some carried tiny collar cat-cams.


The website features 10 of the 50 cats (click on each in the row at the top) in the village of Shamley Green, Surrey, describing them, and shows their movements on an aerial photo of their territory. Users can click on featured events on the roaming maps to bring up a video of the action – like  Sooty’s encounter with a fox and other things cats do such as escaping the laundry. (Ha!)

They are, of course, bumpy old videos, being cat-held as it were. It’s a fun viewpoint, walking around low to the ground.

Apparently they were fairly modest killers. (20 from 50 cats in a week, including things other than birds.) They also seem to be into time-sharing, sharing overlapping ground to avoid eachother. They also seem to enjoy raiding other cat’s food supplies…

The BBC also has an article covering the back-story of the science behind the project, including photos of the recording devices such as downsized version of the cat-cams they used to study African big cats.


‘Ha’, thinks Aimee,* all this human talk about our activity** is piffle.***


Still far too busy to bring original material, I hope this offers some fun for some readers until I have more time. (H/T: an article on ArsTechnica about this website.) If you’re in the UK, you can watch the video of the Horizon episode on the website.

* Not our sciblogs colleague.

** Aimee practices the 99:1 version of the 90:10 principle, spending 99% of her time doing pretty much nothing**** and 1% of it going tearing-around-the-house berserk.

*** One cat’s opinion only. Not statistically meaningful.

**** To her human ‘slave’. Sitting on window sills and looking down at the garden is a major activity involving intense concentration. (She’s on the window sill next to me as I write.)

Other articles on Code for life:

Fainting kittens – feline myotonia congenita?

Finding platypus venom

Thieves in gold-mining era campsites

Sea stars and mosaics

Doggie ERVs

One example of why all those genomes from different species are useful to biologists

0 Responses to “Cat roaming survey and videos”