A trial of the Eyenimal Cat Camera was conducted to determine the behaviour of the cats while roaming. Recording video footage of cats while outside of the house helped to highlight what the cat was doing while roaming, by capturing periods of sleep, stalking, eating, and walking.
The small camera was mounted on the collar, below the chin. The camera was threaded onto the front of the collar and the angle adjusted for the camera to face forward.
The first cat to trial the camera was TeeGee, an adventurous tabby moggy that was adopted by his owners’ pet duck (Scarfy and Friend), and has since become a part of the family. TeeGee wore the tracker and camera for a week and we were able to see some of TeeGee’s adventures.
You can see TeeGee’s adventures in the video below.
An interesting aspect of the Domestic Cat Monitoring and Awareness project is how the video surveillance collected compares with the data obtained from the tracker devices. Due to the obstruction of the GPS signal between tracker and satellite when a cat is indoors, some of the tracked movements surrounding the house become intertwined with ‘messy’ data from the cats while inside. As a result, the surveillance helps to ascertain accurate movements, as well as highlight the specific behaviours of the cat whilst outdoors.
The cats involved in the surveillance portion of the project exhibited a range of behaviours, from extensive periods of sleeping, to active roaming in nearby native habitat. Several cats were observed wandering along river beds and neighbouring hillsides, trailing the scent of an animal, or simply exploring. However, only one cat was observed feeding on wildlife (a grasshopper).
While we expected that many of the cats would show active roaming behaviour, due to the anecdotes provided by the owners, we were surprised to find that few of the cats were interested in roaming. One of the cats was never observed leaving the property boundary, while others did so only to find somewhere comfortable to sleep or to find a water source.
This project is supported by Territory Natural Resource Management, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.