Play NSA by Tracking Your Pets

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Want to Play NSA on Your Pets?

It’s hard to ignore the sneaking suspicion that our pets lead secret lives when we aren’t around. Is my cat sleeping, or killing things? Is my dog chewing his foot, my shoes, or eating all my trash?

Monitoring your pets’ activity can confirm or deny your suspicions, or give you insight on the nuances of canine and feline lifestlye – but only if you are able to handle the truth: our pets exist for reasons other than our enjoyment, and can sometimes do some wacky stuff unsupervised.

Your cats are more active, and lethal, than you’d think (and sometimes are double agents).

According to the SPCA of Texas, cats sleep about 50% of the day or more, reaching up to 80% for older cats and kittens. By this logic, you might assume your feline is snoozing the day away while you’re at work – but this is not the case.

Animal behavioral scientist Jill Villarreal, who equipped 50 house cats with cat cams, found that 22 percent of the cats’ time was spent looking out of windows, 12 percent spent interacting with other family pets, 8 percent spent climbing on chairs or kitty condos, with only 6 percent of their hours spent sleeping. The rest of the cats’ time were spent watching TV (seriously), hiding under tables, playing with toys, and eating.

And that’s just indoor cats. There have been numerous studies on the activities of indoor/outdoor kitties; one study by BBC documented the activities and travels via cat cam of 50 cats, 10 of which have their days of hunting and prowling detailed online.

The National Geographic & University of Georgia Kitty Cams (Crittercam) project found that roaming cats killed fairly high levels of wildlife, at an average of 2.1 animals every week they were outside, bringing less than one of every four of their kills home.

To much surprise, they also found that some cats had adopted second homes, entering other households for food and affection.

Unfortunately, our canine friends are less apt to entertain themselves, and that’s why they destroy things.

According to PETA, a major study by British veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) found that nearly half of dogs are left at home alone too long. Dogs need exercise and stimulation, and leaving them alone longer than recommended can be both bad for physical health and a major cause of separation anxiety.

Dog cam studies find that man’s best friend can become man’s worst enemy; when left alone, anxious and bored dogs resort to chewing on clothes or getting into garbage and table food. The Austin Dog Alliance has some helpful tips on keeping your dog entertained when he’s alone.

You can track your pet with modern technology.

With modern GPS and sensor technology, you can track your pets’ activity to make sure they aren’t up to shenanigans while you’re away.

Smart dog collar Whistle allows you to track your pet’s activity on your mobile phone. Its mission is to help monitor and improve the health of your dog by keeping track of his activity; it can even track how well his medication is working by monitoring his scratching and rest interruption.

Pet surveillance cams are also great for recording what your critters are up to, and capturing either adorable moments or incriminating ones.

As far as your cat, suppose you want to stop her from killing things? Try Birdbesafe, a ridiculous looking collar that protects songbirds from your cat by making her extremely visible. Or this even more embarrassing anti-hunting bib, which reduces cats’ hunting by 72%.

Of course, you might as well just publicly shame your pet (which in effect the bibs and collars are already doing), but that won’t stop the problem. It will make for funny internet content, though.


Jennifer Markert