If you’ve ever let your cat outside and wondered where it went, you’re not alone. In the 1950s, one of the world’s top experts on felines, German ethologist Paul Leyhausen, tried to study the outdoor travels of Felis catus. To follow just one housecat “would have required three well-trained, physically fit, and inexhaustible observers, plus a lot more equipment than we could command at the time,” he later admitted.
To solve this mystery of the universe, researchers at North Carolina State University, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn., are loaning tracking equipment to cat owners in Fairfield, Conn., Long Island, N.Y., Westchester County, N.Y., and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. in addition to accepting DIY cat trackers. For instructions on how to participate, visit www.cats.yourwildlife.org.
What will researchers find? Probably that cats go outside, find a place to hide, and immediately take a nap within 100 yards of their house. Then they’ll likely return back home to get something to eat and fall asleep again. Such revelatory information might finally satisfy the age old question of where cats go when they go outside.