New Study Uses GPS Tracking to Reveal the Secret Life of Cats

Melissa Knowles
Trending Now

If you're a cat owner, you know that your cat has a personality all his own. That's part of the charm of having a cat. Admit it: You've often wondered what your furry feline is up to all day when you're not at home.

A new BBC production is showing cat fans what goes on when humans are not around. The maker of "The Secret Life of the Cat" outfitted 50 cats with collars with high-sensitivity GPS devices and miniature "cat cams" to record their every move. Cameras captured events like 7-year-old Claude, sneaking out in the middle of the night to a neighbor's house where fellow cat Rosie lives. Claude makes his way into the house through the cat flap to steal food. He is literally a cat burglar. Claude's owner, Henrietta Mulnier, was completely unaware of his behavior. Mulnier said with a laugh, "I've always wondered why he never seemed to lose weight even when I put him on a diet."

Apparently, Claude's clandestine thievery is a relatively common practice among domesticated cats. Alan Wilson, a professor at the Royal Veterinary College, spoke of the reason for the week-long project. "We probably know less about domestic cats than we know about some of the bigger African cats, which seems amazing. It's always been very hard to measure—people try to track them with radio trackers in small numbers. But it's a difficult environment to work in, climbing, if you can imagine climbing into gardens trying to track your cat in the dark. It's really not easy."

Once the GPS data had been collected, Dr. John Bradshaw spoke of what he deduced from the study. "Cats are actually quite opportunistic animals. And they're looking for places that they might move if they needed to move. They're making almost their own choices about where to live. In fact, you could almost say, you know, that the owners think they own the cats, but in fact, it's the cats that own the owners."

If you ask me, these cats have it made in the shade.

[Related: Cat Caught Smuggling Cell Phones Into Russian Prison]

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