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While the owner is away, the cat will ... look out the window? Cat cam footage offers surprising insights

December 3, 2009 |  2:52 pm

Cat cam What do cats do when their owners are away? There was one way to find out -- "cat cams."

Fifty house cats were given collar cameras that took a photo every 15 minutes. The results put a digital dent in some human theories about catnapping.

Based on the photos, about 22% of the cats' time was spent looking out of windows, 12% was used to interact with other family pets and 8% was spent climbing on chairs or kitty condos. Just 6% of their hours was spent sleeping.

"What surprised me was how active the cats were. I believed my three cats were sleeping during the day," said Jill Villarreal, an animal behavior scientist who collected the data for Nestle Purina PetCare's Friskies brand of cat food.

The 777 photos studied by Villarreal showed the cats looking at a television, computer, DVDs or other media 6% of the time and hiding under tables 6% of the time.

Coming in at 5% was playing with toys; eating or looking at food finished at 4%.

Will the cats get movie cameras next? "We are in the think tank now," Villarreal said.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Leo-Hector, one of 50 house cats given collar cameras.  Credit: Lyn Thornton / Associated Press

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