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Cat tracker projects goes national!

Ever wondered where your cat ventures to? Now’s your chance to find out, by joining the Cat Tracker Australia project.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services is partnering with the University of South Australia to roll out a national cat tracker project. Cat tracker projects were run in Lithgow, Mudgee and Orange in 2016 and earlier this year, with many cat owners learning more about their favourite feline. This new partnership will allow more cats to get involved across the region. A variety of partners are involved which will allow up to 1,400 cats to be tracked across Australia.

“Previous research has been done on too few cats to make any generalisations. By collaborating with the community, we hope to track cats in each state and territory and get a better understanding of cat behaviour,” said Dr Philip Roetman, who is leading the project on behalf of University of South Australia.

“We’ll provide GPS tracking devices for cat owners involved in the project. They are easy to use, and will help people discover the places their cats visit,” said Dr Roetman.

People who are keen to participate will need to fill out an online survey first, which includes a cat personality test. Then, if they would like to track their cats, they will be sent a GPS tracker. Once they have completed the tracking, they will receive a report on their cat’s personality and a map indicating where their cat has travelled.

“Many cats tracked in earlier projects throughout the Central Tablelands didn’t travel very far and usually stuck to the built environment. However, some cats ventured up to 5 kilometres, often visiting schools, other homes and nearby bushland”, said Senior Land Services Officer, Colleen Farrow.

Dr Carla Litchfield, an expert on animal behaviour and project collaborator, explained that the outcome of the research would help owners understand more about their pets.

"Anyone who has had more than one cat knows that each cat has its own personality and this study will help us understand different cat personalities. Understanding a cat’s personality can help to care for it. It will also be interesting to see whether cats who demonstrate bolder personality traits travel further afield compared to cats which may be shy in nature” Dr Litchfield says.

Extensive resources for school teachers to use with classes have also been developed. The resources are aligned with the Australian curriculum, with links to learning areas including science, mathematics, geography, history and the arts.

This collaboration has been made possible by funding provided to Central Tablelands Local Land Services by the National Landcare Program. To find out more and to register your cat to take part in the project, check the Discovery Circle cat tracker project web page.

or contact Colleen Farrow 6363 7874, colleen.farrow@lls.nsw.gov.au.