Monday, July 18, 2011

Why cats go next door: The reason your pet always chooses the neighbour's garden as a convenience


It can be an explosive cause of conflict between cat owners and their neighbours.

But when your moggy uses the next-door garden as a personal litter tray, your argument that it was purely down to chance may no longer hold water.

Researchers have discovered that cats foul neighbouring gardens intentionally to mark the edge of what they consider to be their territory – typically less than 300 yards from home.

The feline behavioural traits were revealed when GPS trackers and tiny cameras – nicknamed ‘cat navs’ – were fitted to nine pets over a period of eight days.

The findings were drawn from 150 hours of camera footage, 768 hours of GPS tracking and a survey of 3,000 owners.

Trouble-causer: The cat is often the reason for many a neighbour fall-out

Animal behaviourist Roger Tabor, who led the study, said ‘territorial marking’ could be a serious source of dispute between neighbours.

‘If you are not careful it can lead to falling out and even people moving,’ he added. ‘If you have a tiny garden and if you don’t want to fall out with your neighbours, it’s important to leave an area of loose soil at the end of the garden which you can clean when needed.’

The study also suggests town cats are more stressed than their rural cousins because their territory is smaller and they have to spend much of their time protecting it against numerous rivals.

In the experiment, city cats crossed the paths of at least ten other felines a day, and half of them had to deal with rivals entering their homes to steal food.

Rural cats, which rarely came across other felines, were able to dedicate more time to hunting, with some catching up to five mice, voles and small birds in a week.

The report also showed most cats avoid busy roads, suggesting they are more likely to have accidents on quieter lanes where they are not frightened of the constant noise, movement and exhaust fumes.

source: dailymail

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