If you have a cat as a pet and you give him the opportunity to walk freely through the streets, you have probably wondered what he does when he leaves, and why he does not appear until after a few hours, or even days. Why does he do this? Perhaps out of curiosity, because he is in heat or because he wants to interact with other cats. It is complex to understand that behavior, but a study was given the task of investigating more about it, to discover what were the activities that these animals performed when leaving home.
we inquire about the details raised by this study and other research to share with you the most important information and answer your questions.
The beginning of the study
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The research conducted by Maren Huck of Derby University, along with his colleague, Samantha Watson, began with the purpose of providing and validating a relationship between the behavior and actions of cats. The author shared in an interview that it all started when her pet returned home carrying a hawk on her snout. That surprised her a lot because the bird was almost the size of the cat.
Given this event and due to the uncertainty generated by not knowing if he had caught the animal or had simply picked it up, he began to wonder what his cat was doing when he was not at home, or when he was not seen by someone else. He bought a camera and, in that way, discovered that the cat did not behave as she believed. This made his desire to follow his pet grow, so he decided to conduct a scientific study to find more answers.
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To carry out the study, cameras were placed in the collars of 21 cats and what they did for 4 years was recorded. However, only 16 resisted wearing it during all that time. In other cases, they were followed to record them closely, with the intention of comparing both methods. This allowed them to observe everything the animals did in their moments of freedom. Although the research was more directed towards the predatory behavior that these animals showed, they decided to focus on a broader behavior to discover general questions of their way of being.
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Domestic behavior and what they show when they are free
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When he is at home, maybe your cat lives curled up in the armchair and sleeps all day as if nothing worries him, or maybe he follows you everywhere because he likes to receive love, to caress him and pay attention to him. However, the evidence of the study revealed that, when these animals roam the streets, they change their behavior and enter an alert mode most of the time. The “investigated subjects” were cautious and watched for a long time everything around them. As for the interaction with other cats, sometimes they fought over the territory, but they tended more to stay a few meters away and in their own space, seeing each other. Sometimes they approached and brushed their noses, and even showed a meow different from what they produced at home.
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The study authors pointed out that this could be used to conduct other research on feline behavior, and even transfer it to other animals. After this investigation, they hope to continue studying the general behavior of cats and that people put cameras on the collars of their pets, if they go out alone to the street, with the aim of continuing to discover more details on the subject and understand what is the best way to treat them. It is expected that, through other findings, it will be defined whether it is good to let the animals leave, how often and under what conditions, because keeping them locked at home could cause them too much boredom or stress.
House vs. Street
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When they are at home, cats feel safe and probably because of this they have the confidence to sleep almost all the time, because they are in a space where they are not in danger, because they cannot be attacked by other animals, take the risk of being run over or getting certain diseases. However, keeping your pet locked up at all times could cause dependence and cause stress when you are not at home, as well as having very affectionate behavior when you are around. Allowing your cat to go out can benefit his development, shore it up for exercise and promote his mental health, by allowing him to keep himself busy with new adventures.
General recommendations for cat owners who are lovers of going outside
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If you let your cat go for a walk frequently, it is important that you constantly check his health and keep track of his vaccination. It is difficult to notice when these animals get sick, therefore, you need to pay attention to changes in their behavior. Make sure your pet has a collar with its identification or a collar with GPS, so you can easily find it in case it does not return.
What to do if your cat is lost and does not have a GPS
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Losing your pet can be unpleasant and frustrating. However, it is best not to despair and do the following to find it:
- Keep calm and act fast.
- Search inside the house. Cats like to play hide and seek, therefore, it is important that you spend 15 to 30 minutes touring every corner of your home. Try to make noises that are familiar to your cat and call him by name. If you pretend you’re going to give him food and listen to the cans or boxes of his food, it’s likely to appear.
- If you already made sure that he is not at home, walk around. Normally, domestic cats are not very familiar with the street, so they hide anywhere because they are afraid.
- Notify your neighbors and people who work in nearby places about what is happening and investigate if they have seen your pet. If you consider it necessary, make posters with the description and photo of the animal. Do not forget to put your number and address so that people can contact you. Do the same on your social networks and ask them to share the post.
- Go to nearby shelters. If someone finds you and can’t take care of you, they will probably take you to such a site.
How to prevent a cat from leaving home
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If you don’t like the idea of leaving your cat free and away from home, there are some tricks that you can put into practice to prevent it from coming out:
- Adapt play spaces so you can release your stress and keep your mind occupied. Try to spend time and interact with him as much as you can, so you don’t feel the need to leave.
- Secure the windows or keep them closed so that your cat has no temptations at your fingertips.
- Sterilize it. That way you don’t want to go out and interact with other cats and, in addition, you will help to avoid overpopulation of them.
- Support your predatory instinct and proportion objects with which a whole hunter can feel.
- Consider having another cat to keep each other company, not get bored and interact.
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What do you think about this study? What other behavior have you been able to observe in these animals when they are free? Do you like your cat to come out? Or do you prefer to stay at home? Tell us in the comments.
Cover image Unknown / Imgur, dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay