Where does your cat go? Not far, say researchers

When your cat goes outside and then disappears, where does he go?  A new study reveals that most cats do not stray far from home–especially if they have been spayed/neutered…

Study overview

Researchers GPS-marked almost 100 pet cats in a small town in Eastern Norway and tracked the cats when they were outside. The goal was to map the movements of an entire population of pet cats within the same area. The cat owners all lived within about one square kilometer (approximately .386 square miles) which gave the researchers a very detailed insight into many cats’ activities within a limited area. The high number of cats within such a small area makes this cat tracking study unique.

Results overview

While some cats traveled quite a bit (several kilometers/miles), most stayed close to their homes. This was especially true when cats were neutered; prior research has demonstrated that neutered/spayed cats are less likely to roam far from home. The cats spent an average of 79% of their time outdoors within 50 meters (approximately 54.7 yards or 164 feet) of the owner’s home. The average maximum distance for all cats was 352 meters (approximately 385 yards or 1,155 feet).


The majority of cats do not stray far from home.  If your cat does not come back as expected, bring an open can of his favorite food and start by looking in hiding places close to home.

Journal reference: Richard Bischof, et al., Mapping the “catscape” formed by a population of pet cats with outdoor access, Scientific Reports (2022), 12, Article number: 5964.

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-09694-9