Does a cat’s personality predict its hunting?

All pet owners know that every animal has its own personality.  Some are shy, some are bold, some get freaked out by cucumbers.  We also know that cats vary in their hunting interests and ability, meaning that certain individuals might be a much bigger problem for native wildlife than others.  We want to see if we can find a link between cat personality and the amount of wildlife they kill and eat.

First, the personality – working with colleagues at Discover Circle in Australia, we have […]

By | June 28th, 2016|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

What is your cat’s personality?

We’ve officially launched our Cat Personality Test — which you can take even if you haven’t tracked your own cat (you can even take it if you don’t have a cat!).

Have you ever wondered just how your cat thinks? Maybe you’re curious about that friendly feline from around the corner? We may not be able to read the minds of cats but with the help of our partners in Australia and New Zealand we’ve been able to develop a way to tap into determining their personality.

How do determine the personality of a cat you ask? Excellent question! The Cat […]

By | April 11th, 2016|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

Help us Solve The Mystery of the Danish Underpants

Recently, Pernille Hjort from the Danish Museum of Natural History visited us in Raleigh to exchange ideas about new projects in public science. It was an opportunity for grand scheming, but also to take note of things available in the American South but missing from Danish society. The Danes may have universal health care, free college education and a bike culture that makes biking to work easier than driving, but as Pernille noted, they don’t have turkey vultures, blue birds or robins. But while life in Denmark and the American South may be relatively similar apart from these subtleties […]

By | May 4th, 2015|Cat Tracker|8 Comments

Tracking Kleptomaniac Cats

Aya the cat has an interesting secret life, to say the least. When we started tracking outdoor cats with Cat Tracker in Raleigh/Durham to see where they were going when they weren’t lazily sitting on their human’s porches… we never expected that one of the cats that would sport a GPS unit would be a famous kleptomaniac living in Copenhagen.

Three-year-old Aya is a Danish cat; a semi-serious looking black male cat with a penchant for work gloves. It all started innocently enough in the Summer of 2012 — when Aya’s human neighbors were getting a new roof […]

By | April 16th, 2015|Cat Tracker|3 Comments

We’re Celebrating Our 100th Cat-iversary!

Cat Tracker launched in May 2014. In a little less than one year, we’ve enrolled over 500 indoor/outdoor kitties from 9 different states and several foreign countries! Today we are pleased to announce that we have recorded tracks from over 100 cats! So what have we learned so far?

In examining the home ranges of our first 1oo cats, we’ve found that the cats’ tracks are just as unique as the cats themselves. The majority of our 100 cats travel less than 5 hectares (about 12 acres) and seem to stick to their neighborhoods rather than venturing into forests […]

By | March 19th, 2015|Cat Tracker|1 Comment

Cat Tracker Launches Down Under

We’re pleased to announce that Cat Tracker has landed in Oz!

Last week, our colleague Philip Roetman and team from the Discovery Circle, a citizen science initiative based at the University of South Australia, launched the Australian version of Cat Tracker.

The team aims to recruit and track 500 indoor/outdoor house cats with GPS technology in order to better understand cat movement and behavior. We look forward to collaborating with Cat Tracker South Australia to make cross-continental comparisons. Here in the US, we’ve found that urban cats don’t travel very far and stick close to the surrounds of […]

By | March 2nd, 2015|Cat Tracker|0 Comments

Why We #CitSci

Your Wild Life is relocating to the West Coast this week to participate in the inaugural meeting of the Citizen Science Association in San Jose, California. We’re looking forward to two FUN-FILLED days of building connections and exchanging ideas with 600 other scientists, volunteers, data managers, educators, and science communicators who – like us – are dedicated to engaging the public in scientific research.

Together with our colleagues and collaborators at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, we’ll be sharing insights and lessons learned from many Your Wild Life projects including Belly Button Biodiversity, Wild Life […]

Dodging that Winter Coat

Have you ever wondered how our Cat Tracker participants in northern climes fare compared to their southern counterparts? Do these indoor/outdoor kitties continue to roam outdoors during the winter months or do they remain indoors for comfort?

Over the past 3 months, temperatures on Long Island have ranged from lows around 10 degrees Fahrenheit to highs in the 70s. Conditions up north have varied wildly from blizzard to 60 degree sunny afternoons. During these temperature fluctuations, we have continued to monitor our furry companions, and have observed their behavior varies (much like the weather!). Some Long Island cats […]

By | January 30th, 2015|Cat Tracker|0 Comments

The Secret Life of Roukus, Part 2

Roukus the Cat is a snowbird…in the sense that she spends her winter months in warmer locales.

Roukus has finally moved south, from Maine to the sunny shores of Florida where she now basks in the glory of the Sunshine State. In the summer, Roukus roamed the forests. Now she travels along the sand dunes, not once crossing the roads near her beach house. While she enjoys long walks down the beach with her owner, she also seems to enjoy long walks by herself at night… at 1:30 in the morning! We can’t help but wonder what this kitty […]

By | January 20th, 2015|Cat Tracker|0 Comments

New Year, New Updates from Cat Tracker

The start of the new year seems like a good occasion to update you on Cat Tracker, our citizen science project that uses GPS technology to study the movement and home ranges of owned domestic cats. We launched in May 2014 in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and in the last year, our program has grown to include a GPS unit loaning program in Long Island, New York, and parts of Connecticut.

For those outside our GPS loaning zones, we have a DIY option where cat owners can purchase and deploy their own GPS units and then […]

By | January 8th, 2015|Cat Tracker|1 Comment

ICYMI: Holiday Break Edition

Happy New Year! Classes are back in swing today here at NC State and we’re slowly but surely digging ourselves out from under the pile of emails that accumulated over the winter break.

A few exciting research developments and stories emerged while we were on our holiday hiatus, and we thought we should dedicate our first post in 2015 to catching you up those items you may have missed:

The Secret Life of Starbuck

Have you heard that Cat Tracker has now launched on Long Island? We’ve recently downloaded tracks from our first set of Long Island felines.

Meet Starbuck, a kitty from the suburbs of central Long Island. Starbuck’s home range may not reach as far as the local coffee shop, but this cat’s still pretty active. (Tracks are based on two consecutive 5-day tracking periods). Although coyotes haven’t yet established on Long Island, Starbuck does stick fairly close to home, not even venturing into the nearby woods.

Check out our growing collection of cat tracks from Long Island, including those […]

By | November 14th, 2014|Cat Tracker|0 Comments

Happy National Cat Day!

Apparently, cat fanciers love celebrating their feline friends with official holidays. A few months ago we were celebrating World Cat Day (August 8, 2014). And now today, just in case you missed the memo, is National Cat Day!

We thought we’d seize this opportunity to update you on our Cat Tracker project.

To date, we’ve had 350 cat-owners sign up their kitties for our GPS tracking study, including owners in nearly every US state!

We’re intensely recruiting cat-owners on Long Island so that we can better understand cat movement and behavior before and after coyotes colonize. Last week, we […]

By | October 29th, 2014|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

Spike is on his way to Long Island: What does that mean for Tom and Jerry?

Like the best stories, the Tom & Jerry cartoon is rooted in basic principles of real life: dogs chase cats and cats chase mice. Spike was the bulldog that terrorized Tom the cat, to the benefit of little Jerry the mouse. You might be surprised to hear that there is real predator-prey science behind the violent comedy of Tom & Jerry. Larger carnivores really do terrorize their smaller rivals, and the results trickle down to affect smaller prey, the mice and squirrels of the world. And whereas in the cartoons, the dance of dog, cat and mouse is all […]

By | September 4th, 2014|Cat Tracker|0 Comments

The Secret Life of Captain America

Does he stick close to home or go to far off lands to fight evil? According to the data from his GPS-collar, Captain America seems to be patrolling the neighborhood with just an occasional trip or two to protect the parameter in the woods. Maybe he knew we were tracking him and didn’t want to go too far? Or could it be he was just enjoying some R&R since the Avengers have taken a break?

Do you know the secret life of your indoor-outdoor cat? With the help of citizen scientists around the world, we’re using GPS technology to study […]

By | September 1st, 2014|Cat Tracker|0 Comments