Friday, 26 April 2013

Does Corsair have a second home?

So our initial research question was 'does Corsair have a second home'. Our early GPS logging experiments showed that it looked like yes, she was appearing to spend quite a bit of time at a house across the street. But then we began to question the quality of our data. The last couple of posts detail the methods we have used to refine our data and determine good data versus bad data.

So having solved the data issue, we attached the GPS logger back to Corsair and sent her out to collect some interesting data.

Corsair can be a very appealing kitten, would you feed her if she showed up on your door step and looked at you with big eyes?

It's also worth noting that in an attempt to discourage people from feeding her, we have attached little tags to all the cats collars saying 'Do Not Feed'.  This actually does appear to be working as she now reliably comes home hungry for dinner, which she wasn't before. Either that or the white plastic blinking box attached to her collar is scaring people.

So we have taken three days worth of data and plotted it on a map. We've stripped out the 'bad' data and only presented the good data on this map.

So you can see that like Magellan, Corsair is really only wandering less than 200m from our house. However, unlike Magellan, there are two focal points of activity. One based around our house and one based around the house of a neighbour who lives a block over.

So we refined the data a bit more, trying to determine roughly how much time she was spending in other locations. The map presented below shows how many points occur within each property boundary. We've looked at how many points for each property and colour coded them according to how many points have been recorded in that area. Corsair is wandering through at least 33 different properties. There are two properties with over 284 recorded points. Those are our house (House A) and a neighbouring house a block over (We will call that House B). The houses adjacent House A and House B have the next highest number of points recorded in them. Interestingly she does seem to be spending more time in the block over the road, rather than within our block. She does seem to spend approximately the same amount of time at both our house and House B, with 416 points being recorded within our property boundaries and 417 points recorded in House B. This suggests its probably about time to go knock on the door of House B, or at least leave a polite note in the letter box.

I know the neighbours immediately to the south of us have cats, the neighbours immediately to the north of us do not have cats.  Our neighbourhood demographic is largely older Italian people and younger Middle Eastern (muslim) families.

Our neighbourhood seems to have quite a few cats, but no dogs, or at least I don't hear dogs barking, or see people walking dogs. I do see quite a few cats, usually those being chased out of our back yard by Magellan or Jumble.  Corsair on the other hand smiles at the other cats, makes friends, invites them in the back door and shows them the location of the food bowl.  She is a caring sharing type and looking at the size of her ginormous belly, I suspect a bunch of the cats reciprocate.

That said, we also suspect that our cats have 'infrared vision'. We turned on the ducted heating for the first time this year as the weather is getting colder. Within five minutes, all three cats were inside sitting on the heating vents. Maybe they will spend more time at home in winter.

Above is a photo of a Corsair in her natural habitat.

We don't have night time data for Corsair, she has been reliably coming home for dinner and getting locked inside. Although she has not yet learned that banging on the cat door at night won't make it open. Her preferred sleeping position is at the foot of our bed.

So next week - it's probably about time Jumble got to wear the GPS logger.

So my dear readers, are there any questions about our experiments you would like answered? If we can answer them with the data we have we are happy to try.


  1. Time for more "House B" information! Surveillance, a friendly chat...

    What have they named Corsair? Did they know they were contributing to her heft? ;-) Does any one feel two-timed?

    Oh, the drama! The cat-humanity!

  2. Hi Renee,

    I'm loving these posts, such a cute idea! And it's helpful to know what to expect when we finally bring our (currently apartment-bound) cats home to Australia!