Study asks: Where do cats go when they roam?
* By Barbara Kohn, Cats Examiner
If you've always wondered just how far your cat goes when it leaves the house, the answer has been discovered. A two-year study of feral and free-roaming cats conducted by the University of Illinois department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the universityís Prairie Research Institute has some surprising results for cat owners and feral cat colony feeders.
As part of the study, researchers fitted some 42 adult feral and owned cats in the Champaign-Urbana area with radio transmitters. Of these, 23 transmitters had tilt and vibration sensors that made it possible to track the catís every move.
As researchers expected, the feral cats roamed in a larger area and were more active throughout the year. But it was the size of the feral catsí home range that was the surprise. One of the male feral cats had a home range of over 1300 acres, making it the largest range of the cats tracked. This cat was seen in both urban and rural sites, everywhere from residential and campus lawns to agricultural fields, forests and a restored prairie, the University reports.
By contrast, owned cats had significantly smaller territories and tended to stay closer to home. The average home range for owned cats was slightly less than 5 acres. The study says that the owned cats managed to roam this far despite being asleep or in low activity 97 percent of the time. Only three percent of their time was spent running or stalking pretty. Feral cats on the other hand were active 14 percent of the time.
Researchers attribute the need to find food as the reason for feral cats roaming farther and being more active. Un-owned cats have to search harder to find food to create the body heat they need to survive in cold weather, they point out.
It was interesting to note that whether feral or owned, most of the cats stayed within about 300 meters of human buildings. This shows that even the ferals have some dependency on humans.
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Study asks: Where do cats go when they roam? - National Cats | Examiner.com
cats are so lazy, I can't get over their lifestyle I swear