BBC’s Cat Watch 2014 features animal behaviour expert

Following the success of last year’s BBC Horizon investigation into the secret life of cats living in one village, Dr Sarah Ellis from the University of Lincoln, UK, is to appear in a new three-part series.

Cat Watch 2014: The New Horizon Experiment, to be broadcast on 7th, 8th and 9th October, will see a team of professional cat experts back to dig deeper into the incredible world of cats.

The show is presented by Liz Bonnin, cat experts Dr Sarah Ellis and Dr John Bradshaw, and Professor Alan Wilson and his team from the Royal Veterinary College.

The team combine GPS tracking technology and cat-cams with a unique set of scientific experiments. This time they’re tracking, testing, filming and following 100 cats living three very different lifestyles; living cheek-by-jowl in the terraced streets of Brighton city centre, village cats from Rottingdean with far more room to roam, and working farm cats who rely on their hunting skills to survive.

The first episode discovers how our pet cats see, hear and smell very differently to human beings, and how they have evolved as supreme predators. The second episode reveals the way our pampered pets transform into wild animals when they leave the cat flap to hunt and fight, with some displaying more of a wild side than others. The final episode in this science documentary examines the way cats communicate, and how our 21st Century life is forcing them to change their naturally solitary nature.

This revealing practical study into a cat’s ability to live alongside us, yet retain that independent wild side, underlines why cats have become modern humans’ greatest animal friend.

Dr Ellis, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, appeared in Horizon’s ground-breaking “live study” Secret Life of Cats in 2013.

She was part of a crack team set up to discover what your cat really gets up to when it leaves the cat flap, with pets fitted with specially developed GPS collars and cat-cams to reveal their unique view of our world.

Cat Watch 2014 will screen on BBC Two on Tuesday 7th October at 8pm, Wednesday 8th October at 9pm and Thursday 9th October at 8pm.


Go on the prowl with your cat

Research being conducted by University of Lincoln animal behaviour experts will help cat owners find out what their pet gets up to outside of the home.

The project, funded by Derbyshire-based charity Feline Friends, aims to track the movements of cats living in both a city and rural setting.

The latest stage of the study involves attaching a GPS satellite navigation system to cats in order to track their routes and activities on leaving the home.

It follows a unique survey in designated areas of Lincoln and Dunholme. Previous research contributed to the BBC Two Horizon documentary ‘The Secret Life of Cats’ first screened in June 2013.

Researchers from the School of Life Sciences are now looking to recruit cat owners who can put a GPS collar on their pet for seven days.

Dr Naima Kasbaoui said: “We want to compare cats that live in a city environment compared to those living in a more rural setting. We are hoping to record the movement patterns and activities of the two different groups to see if there is a difference in terms of home ranges and activities. For example, cats in more sparsely populated country villages tend to cross roads regularly. The more cats who are involved in this study, the more we will be able to conclude a real pattern.”

There are approximately 500 houses in each study area, but the Dunholme neighbourhood is more than five times bigger than the Lincoln section.

One of the main questions researchers hope to answer is whether rural cats have larger roaming territories than city-based cats.

Volunteers are needed from Milman Road, Clarina Street, Bernard Street, Tempest Street, Coleby Street, Oakfield Street, Grafton Street, Belmont Street, Florence Street and Cromwell Street in the Monks Road area of Lincoln.

If you own a cat and are interested in finding out what he or she does outside of the home contact Dr Kasbaoui by e-mailing by Wednesday, 2nd April.