Researchers tracked both wild and outdoor pet cats using radio transmitters. For two years, they studied over 40 cats, who roamed over hill and dale, in cities and along the countryside—for a combined 6,000 acres.
As might be expected, the completely wild cats had a much larger home range than the pet cats. One wild cat had a home range of over 2 miles. This male cat would regularly traverse both urban cities and country woods.
Home cats have a smaller range. But some pet owners were surprised by just how far their cats go at night. Some owners expected their cats to range no further than a few houses away, but this was not the case. They actually explored about 5 acres, or several blocks, around their home.
The biggest difference between pet cats and wild cats was the amount of time spent in active pursuit. Pet cats would actively stalk prey or run only 3% of the time. The other 97% of the time is spent leisurely – what a life! Wild cats, by comparison, were four to five times more active, hunting 14% of the time. These cats have to rely on hunting to survive, which is quite a motivation to keep on the move.
As a final observation, researchers found that wild cats favored a clear pattern to their explorations. Pet cats, on the other had, were more random. They explored whatever and wherever their fancy took them.
For more on this study from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champagne, click here: http://bit.ly/kZkT1N.
What do you think your cat does when you are away?