(ORDO NEWS) — Using GPS tracking, scientists tracked the movements of an entire population of domestic cats in a small Norwegian town. It turned out that pets rarely leave the house more than 50 meters and almost never take long walks.
The cat is one of the most common pets on the planet. Today in the world there are about 600 million domestic individuals.
In Norway alone, there are about 770,000 such pets per 5.4 million people. Pets are often allowed outside by their owners, and scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences asked questions: where do these domestic cats go, what do they do, and how long does it take to return home?
According to the authors of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, domestic cats are rarely seen as members of the large predatory animal population to which they actually belong.
Knowledge of individual behavior is quite extensive, but so far very little is known about how the local free-range cat population occupies a territory.
To fill this gap, the researchers provided GPS trackers to almost all domestic cats that make up the population of a small town in eastern Norway.
The owners of the animals lived within one square kilometer, so by tracking the walks of 100 of their pets, the scientists were able to compile a detailed map of the movements of the entire cat population within a limited area.
Upon completion of the data collection and analysis, the owners received access to digital maps, on which they could see the movements of their pets. It turned out that during walks the cats were much closer to their home than their owners expected.
On average, the animals spent about 79% of their time outdoors within a radius of 50 meters from their homes. At the same time, they often sat in the yard or garden nearby, without taking long walks.
The average maximum distance from home was only 352 meters. Perhaps this is due to the fact that most of the animals were sterilized.
However, the authors observed strong differences in the behavior of individual individuals, which indicated different characters and habits of animals.
Cats, like other wild and domestic animals that live side by side with humans, affect the ecosystem around them.
Therefore, in the future, scientists plan to quantify the contribution of the cat population to environmental changes, as well as expand the territory of such studies to other cities in the country.
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