This project is run by Dr Jenni McDonald, a postdoctoral research associate based at The University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall and owner of Mac the cat.
Jenni started her research career exploring links between the predatory behaviour of cats and the perceptions of their owners. This work was inspired by her cat at the time, Tiggy, who often returned mice, and the occasional rabbit, back to her home. Since then she’s worked in other areas of ecology, from badgers to plants.
A cat owner herself, she is also passionate about cat welfare and has formed collaborative research projects with academics from veterinary backgrounds to ask questions regarding cat welfare. Outside of academia she regularly volunteers at a cat rescue centre in Cornwall.
This interest in both ecology and cats sparked the implementation of this project, which aims to see where cats go and whether this is linked to other features of their behaviour including their diet and personality.
Assisting with the project is Holly Cole, a recent Zoology graduate from The University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall and owner of Phoebe the cat. For her undergraduate research project she investigated the frequency modulation of the domestic cat’s purr in response to stress.
Holly is also passionate about animal welfare and the importance of enrichment in both domestic and captive animals. At present she works at a cat rescue centre in Cornwall and, in her spare time, volunteers for The Shape Of Enrichment in order to help promote the importance of enrichment for captive animals.
This research has been approved by The University of Exeter Bioscience ethics.