Welcome to Cat Tracker NZ

GPS tracking that will keep tabs on your tabby

“Cats are mysterious, dangerous and far more unpredictable than one might expect from an animal that is, theoretically, domesticated. Some of the mysteries of cats relate to where they go and what they do; this is especially true of cats that go outdoors. We open our doors. They leave. Just where they go, we can’t be sure. Or rather we couldn’t be sure, until now. With your help, we’re investigating the movement of domesticated cats across the landscape. We want to know: Where do they go? ”

Your cat has a secret life…  take part in our Cat Tracker Survey

Go to Cat Tracker Survey

Project info

There are an estimated 1.419 million domestic cats in New Zealand.

We want to know how cats decide where to go. When given a choice of landscapes, what will they do? We want to know how variable that behavior is, and on what it depends. Does it matter if you have a fat cat or a skinny cat? Is a tropical cat different in its meanderings than a temperate one?

Cat tracker NZ is a Citizen Science project setup to help discover the secret life of your cat! If you own a cat, you will be able to get involved and find out where and how far your cat goes once it leaves your house!

The aims of this study are to investigate cat behaviour and management in New Zealand. We will use a Citizen Science approach. Citizen Science is a research methodology where scientists partner with the public to conduct scientific research. There are two parts to this project:


A social survey asking New Zealanders about their attitudes towards and management of domestic cats


A cat tracking study, where GPS units and cat harnesses will be loaned to the owners of Wellington cats to be attached to their cats to monitor their movement for one week. This research will help us to better understand cat management decisions by the community and it will inform cat management by local councils and government.

“The project combines GPS tracking and citizen science to turn cat owners into researchers. It aims to help better understand the cats’ home range, how much time they spend in different kinds of habitat, and how owners can manage pet cats to reduce their impact on wildlife”.









Cats with GPS Tracking
Hectares = Area covered

This project is also running in South Australia and the USA

Cat Tracking NZ

Citizen Science project for your cat

Ethical Considerations

We think keeping cats indoors is the best strategy for protecting cat health and safety as well as that of wildlife.
Cat owners are responsible for knowing and complying with local statutes (aka leash laws) in their municipalities.
Owners choosing to let their cat outdoors assume the risks and responsibilities associated with their actions.

This research has been approved by  Victoria University of Wellington’s Human Ethics  and the Animal Ethics Committees.

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