The Secret Life of the Cat

I woke up to an article from the BBC about a program airing this week called “The Secret Life of the Cat”. Naturally I read all the cat descriptions and watched all the videos, and it was interesting to see the habits of each kitty. A few of the videos were really cool; one climbed a tree, one ran from a fox, one caught a moth……okay, those don’t sound interesting. But they were! Before reading on, I’d encourage you to take a quick look at the BBC interactive study here (and there’s a more in-depth article here)

The thing is, all these cats were outdoor cats. English outdoor cats, too, which makes them much tougher and way more cute because of the accents. These satellite-chipped, svelte felines had whole neighbourhoods and farms to wander through. They got to meet other cats and understood what it was like to catch a bird or run from a fox or climb something that wasn’t cushioned. What about the cats of my hometown? What about the Toronto cats?

I thought I’d contribute to this BBC study with a bit of research of my own.

Meet Lola:

In her natural state.

In her natural state.

Name: Lola
Age: Six to eight years     Sex: Female
Breed/Colour: Black and white short-hair with extra shedding capabilities
Character: Lethargic and hungry, friendly, but not one to jump in your lap or enjoy cuddles. Big fan of belly rubs. Doesn’t like heights or thunder.
Roaming: About 10 meters. 15 if there are snacks in the living room.
Prey: Friskies treats thrown down the hallway. The elusive laser dot.
Expert View: “Lola appears to be a below-average urban cat. She doesn’t like to climb or jump, which helps her maintain her rubenesque figure, and can sleep in the same position on the same corner of the bed for up to eight hours a day.  She cries for food only whenever her female owner is in the kitchen, never her male owner. She isn’t very exciting.”

We tracked her roaming pattern over 24 hours and weren’t at all surprised by the results. See map below:

Scientific map.

Scientific map.

We equipped her with a small camera to get an even more in-depth glimpse into her life. Here is a snippet called “Lola observes the floor”:

To conclude, the life of an urban indoor cat isn’t much different than that of one of those fancy English outdoor cats who get exercise and probably have tea parties with other kitties. Sure, our indoor Toronto cats don’t know what it’s like to feel grass under their paws, but many have perfected sitting at the window watching birds flutter from power-line to power-line. With daily brushings and exciting strings to play with, downtown cats lead lives as full as their English country counterparts, just in a smaller, more urban-chic environment.


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