Science Fair Project Tracks Cat’s Nighttime Adventures Via GPS

Middle school student assumes her cats sleep through the night until she sticks a GPS device on them all in the name of science.

Middle school student assumes her cats sleep through the night until she sticks a GPS device on them all in the name of science.

When science fair time rolled around, thirteen-year-old Evahn Martinsen of New Zealand recalled a conversation with her Berkley Normal Middle School teacher wherein cats being nocturnal creatures was the topic of discussion. With that tête-à-tête in mind, Martinsen made the decision to do something one of a kind: track her cat’s nighttime adventures!

With the assistance of her felines Zephyr and Luca (Martinsen’s third cat, Twinkle, refused to cooperate in the experiment), Martinsen reached out to the Department of Conservation to discuss tracking options for her project – a query which led her to Auckland-based Lintek Tracking Solutions. After a chat about her plans, Eric Lin, Lintek co-owner, offered to sponsor the project, loaning Martinsen three Petrek GPS units and a tablet.

“The units twist on to the collar and the signals in the GPS go through to a tablet,” says Martinsen. “And I have the tablet and it can show me a map of where the cats are and it can update every five minutes, or 30 seconds.”

Although all of the data has yet to be assembled, Martinsen, who always assumed Luca and Zephyr were sleeping through the night, found that, on average, the cats cover two miles of ground during each of their nighttime adventures – making stops at Burger King, schools, and busy crossings. Additionally, she’s learned that, on chillier evenings, the kitties tend to stay inside where it’s warm.

Once all of the data is constructed, Martinsen will be turning it in as her official science fair entry. Until then, she can count Lin as one of her fans.

“These type of kids are quite rare, that think out of the box and do something different,” Lin told Stuff about the cat-tracking science fair project. “It’s funny because we were just starting to do something called Map My Cat, so she’s actually the first one to do it – before us.”

What locales do you think your cats would frequent if you tracked them via GPS?

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