If you’ve ever wondered where the neighbourhood cats go, or what they get up to when you’re not around, then this was the programme for you.
In the village of Shamley Green, fifty unwitting pet cats were fitted with GPS trackers and Cat-Cams so that finally, we could get some answers. ‘Finally’ we thought as a nation, as we prepared to watch an hour of whiskers, fur and cats jumping up on fences. We sat back on our sofas and crossed our arms. ‘Let’s see it then. Let’s see what they’re doing out there’
First, to add some credibility to the project, they brought in Cat-Scientists John and Sarah. I don’t remember the ‘Cat Scientist’ talk on career day but it looks an excellent job. If only I’d known.
‘Cat HQ’ was fitted with high-tech monitors to track the volunteers (cats), as well as an impressive looking video wall, showing footage of cats running and frisking about – presumably to motivate the Cat Scientists and keep them at it.
After 24 hours, the GPS results looked as mental as you’d expect. Multi coloured lines representing different cats, zigzagging all over the place, up the road, round the garden, down the local woods. No surprise there. That’s pretty much what it looks like they’re doing to us anyway, and we haven’t even GPS’d them. What else have you got?
Well, the Cat Scientists were fascinated as they pawed (sorry) over the data. With further analysis, it was clear that our volunteer cats were very territorial and operated sophisticated patrol systems involving shifts, leaving clues and purring.
As well as the GPS, ten of the volunteers were fitted with a Cat-Cam. This gave us a visual of their patrol routes and the camera angle offered a nice view of the world ‘through a cat’s eyes’, framed by whiskers of course, which hung down over the lenses. Whiskers add a certain authenticity to a Cat-Cam, don’t you think?
It wasn’t all feline fun in the woods though. Some shocking behaviour was exposed. Cat volunteer, Ginger, deviated from his patrol each night just to meow, snarl and generally wind up another cat, before scampering back to his zone. Bullying.
Volunteer Claude liked to burst uninvited through cat flaps and eat other cats’ dinners. Claude’s owner was most embarrassed to be shown that particular footage. How embarrassing we all thought, your cat is a thug.
What was uncovered was an underworld of stealing, anti-social behaviour and unfortunately in most instances, the murder of smaller creatures. The long-suffering pet owners dutifully collected any furry victims each morning: shocked looking mice, stunned looking moles and even a rabbit, which the owner had stuffed into the designated box (provided by Cat HQ – naturally), but clearly couldn’t get the lid on, so that it gruesomely loomed out of its box. Its furry eyes closed for ever. Its cotton tail never to bob again. A ghostly parade of woodland tragedy, lined up on a bench. What more was there to say?
While the show aired, there were numerous tweets from viewers showing photos of their cats watching the programme. Their secret lives exposed. A scandalous Horizon expose. Ginger and Claude will have some explaining to do today no doubt…
Needless to say, I woke up this morning suspicious of all cats and where they were last night.
Also, I wonder how many times can I say the word ‘cat’ in one article? 27 it seems.
First published by Cambridge News