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Cat Tracker Project

Have you ever wondered how far and where your cat roams?

Using a GPS collar, Council tracked a local cat named Tic-Tac. We found that in one outing alone, Tic-Tac roamed well over one kilometre from home. His owner was horrified to learn that he was crossing busy roads and entering off-lead dog areas. Not only was his safety at risk but he regularly visited the local rivulet where bandicoots and other native animals live. Check out Tic-Tac’s story via the below link.

The South Australian Cat Tracker Project tracked over 400 cats and interviewed more than 3000 cat owners to find out how far cats roam and to help cat owners make decisions about the care and welfare of their cats.

Here is a few of the interesting findings:

  • Of the 428 cats that were each tracked for at least five days, the distance they roamed, ranged from about 0.1 to 31 hectares, with a median of 1 hectare (approximately 10 average 1/4 acre residential blocks).
  • Male cats and non-desexed cats roamed the furthest, and 88% of the cats tracked had larger home-ranges at night.
  • They compared sedentary cats (roamed < than 1 hectare) and wandering cats (roamed > than 1 hectare). Wandering cats crossed more roads each day, showed more signs of being in fights and were more often seen with prey. Wandering cats were also typically younger and had less stimulation (e.g. toys, scratching posts, opportunity for play) provided by their owners.
  • 177 cats that were described by their owners as being kept inside overnight were tracked, and it was found that 39% of them roamed over 1 hectare at night.
  • Most respondents reported that cats roam in their neighbourhoods and 40% thought that these cats were a nuisance. The major concern was fighting with, or scaring their pets.
  • The study compared the personalities of indoor and outdoor cats and found their personalities to be very similar, suggesting that there is no negative impact on a cat’s personality when it is kept indoors.
  • The report gives interesting advice about cats with different personalities, for example, a ‘skittish’ cat may benefit from having hiding spots at home or an ‘outgoing’ cat (curious & active) may benefit from additional toys and play time.


An example of the map tracking a cat over five days