Getting the best of you.

Scientists let cats do their thing

“In a study published this month in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, the behavioral ecologist at the University of Derby in the United Kingdom placed small cameras on 16 cats and followed them for up to 4 years as they prowled their neighborhoods. Though the study—co-authored by Samantha Watson, an animal behaviorist at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom—was mostly done to gauge the accuracy of the technology, the duo has already made some surprising findings.”

(interview in the article below)

Cats are seen as relatively lazy, especially compared to dogs. But we saw that when they were outside, they became superalert. They scanned their surroundings, sometimes for a half-hour or more on end. And even though cats are highly territorial, they didn’t always fight with other cats they encountered. Often, they just sat a couple of meters away from each other for up to a half an hour. They may have been sizing each other up. Sometimes they would engage in a greeting, briefly touching noses.

When they were in their homes, the cats spent a lot of time following their humans around. They liked to be in the same room. A lot of my students were surprised at how attached cats were to people.

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My sister noticed how much Kevin followed us from room to room. He doesn’t want us to mess around with his stuff. And he’s super alert. That wide eyed stare is kind of his default mode. And, I think he sizes me up. I need to stay on high alert.

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