London: You may have wondered why your pet cat often prefers the neighbour's garden as a convenience? Well, felines foul neighbouring gardens intentionally to mark the edge of their "territory", says a new study.
   
The feline behavioural traits were revealed when GPS trackers and tiny cameras - nicknamed "cat navs" – were fitted to nine pets over a period of eight days. The findings were drawn from 150 hours of camera footage, 768 hours of GPS tracking and a survey of 3,000 owners.
   
Animal behaviourist Roger Tabor, who led the study, said that "territorial marking" could be a serious source of dispute between neighbours.
   
"If you are not careful it can lead to falling out and even people moving. If you have a tiny garden and if you don't want to fall out with your neighbours, it's important to leave an area of loose soil at the end of the garden which you can clean when needed".
   
The study also suggests town cats are more stressed than their rural cousins because their territory is smaller and they have to spend much of their time protecting it against numerous rivals.
   
In the experiment, city cats crossed the paths of at least 10 other felines a day, and half of them had to deal with rivals entering their homes to steal food.
   
Rural cats, which rarely came across other felines, were able to dedicate more time to hunting, with some catching up to five mice, voles and small birds in a week, according to the findings published in the 'Bayer Animal Health'. The study also found the average moggy spends 12 hours a day snoozing in a favourite resting place, usually where it can keep an eye on its territory.
   
The researchers also found most cats avoid busy roads, suggesting they are more likely to have accidents on quieter lanes where they are not frightened of the constant noise, movement and exhaust fumes.
   
Although 32 per cent of owners are concerned about their pets getting run over, the study found 90 per cent of cats did not cross any busy roads during the eight days.

(Agencies)