The Cat Tracker project is an international collaboration between the Discovery Circle in Australia, the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences (USA), and Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand).
Image: Discovery Circle, Cat Tracker Project
The Cat Tracker project is designed to engage cat owners and enable them to make informed decisions about their cats. Beyond cat owners, the project is broadly engaging, enabling and informing a robust community discussion about cats.
Community participation in Cat Tracker commences with an online survey about cats and cat care. For cat owners, the survey explores the companionship value of their cats and includes a Cat Personality Test. Cat owners can choose if they would like a report on their cat’s personality (which includes management suggestions) and if they would like to participate in the second part of the project, the cat tracking.
For cat tracking, the project provides participants with an easy-to-use GPS unit to enable cat owners to record their cat’s movement. Once tracking is complete, cat tracks are made available online. An optional dietary study is also available; this involves collecting hair samples from the cat’s brush and sending samples of their pet food. This will help to determine whether or not cats are consuming food items that they find outside of their home, such as birds or mice.
With the Cat Tracker project now being rolled out nationally, Biosecurity Tasmania has an opportunity to support participants in gaining a valuable insight into domestic cat movements and diets in Tasmania. This can help to improve the care and wellbeing of domestic cats, as well as build a greater understanding around the impacts of domestic animals on wildlife.
Each of the organisations participating in Tasmania commit a financial contribution to receive a number of GPS tracking collars that will be supplied to cat owners who choose to participate in the study. At the termination of the cat tracking period, all data will be compiled and provided to stakeholders for a comprehensive picture of domestic cat movements in their regions.
A range of stakeholder groups can be involved, including local councils, community groups, and government departments. To date there are four organisations confirmed as participating in the project ; Kingborough Council, Huon Valley Council, the Hobart Cat Centre and NRM North. There are a number of councils and community groups also currently considering becoming involved in the project.
For more information on the Tasmanian component of the project contact: