How far does your cat really stray from your home?

cat outside

Many people have stayed home due to the pandemic, and some animal owners may have begun to wonder where their livestock cats are going and what they’re doing all day

. A research published in the Animal Welfare newspaper last month offers insights into the enigmatic lives of outdoor cats.

Over one week in six countries, researchers and people monitor the actions and activities of 925 outdoor cats in the GPS devices they use and found that cats that cause a lot of environmental harm, although they don’t go far.

We have a pretty good idea how many animals they kill, “Roland Kays, the leading North Carolina Museum Study Author and Zoologist said to USA TODAY.” There’s a major gap in information in understanding where cats go. “We didn’t know where they did the killing,” the study found. “With three cats only going over one square kilometre, or less than one half square miles, the most were relatively small cats where they lived.” No matter where they lived. Of the three, two cats were from New Zealand, where cats did not have natural predators and one was from England.


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The cats roamed primarily in human-run environments, such as homes. Surprisingly, the presence of natural predators such as coyotes was not related to the size of the home range of cats.

Owners reported killing an average of 3.5 prey a day for their livestock. This amounts to an average of 14.2 to 38.9 prey per 100 acres each year, because cats do not come home. The ecological impact of cats in neighbourhoods has been amplified by Kays, who said it was concentrated within approximately 110 metres of their homes.

Kays was shocked to find that the impact of house cats compared to natural predators could be between two and tenfold larger.

“The good news is that it’s mainly about homes,” Kays said. “While these are uncommon or endangered animals living close to humans,” says Kays. “What allows us to concentrate our attention on where cats are most probably the biggest problem: where uncommon or endangered species are living near humans.” He and other researchers are working on a high-resolution GPS tracking system to improve their understanding of the hunting and success of cats.

Which lesson does Kays want to take away from his work by owners of animals?

“We need to leave their cats at home.”