The jig is up for Booker T, Archie and others who used to have private lives all their own when they went outdoors, before University of Georgia researcher Kerri Anne Loyd put cameras on them for her study of 60 cats and their secret lives. Now their secrets have been revealed.
Up until recently, Booker T, Archie and 58 other cats from Athens, GA went out and came back in with no one being the wiser to what they’d been up to, like children gone out to play before the days of parental scrutiny and supervision.
Amy Watts of Athens, GA cooperated in the study by allowing her cats Booker T and Archie to wear Kitty-Cam cameras during their unsupervised jaunts outdoors.”I knew that Booker T’s favorite place to go was down in the storm sewer,” she said when the video report shown here was made, “And now I know what the storm sewer looks like. It’s kind of frightening. I wish he would never go down there again.”
Archie surprised her by leading a double life of his own, visiting a second family. “Got a whole other family,” Amy said. “They held open the door for him, and he walked in. He just hung out in the house. I feel like one of those women on the talk shows: ‘My husband has two wives.’ My cat has two families.”
The video report from the local Athens NBC affiliate does not mention the many hours out of the 2,000 that likely involved lying around on the porch or lawn, but focuses on predatory and dangerous behaviors seen from the 60 cats in the study, along with Booker T and Archie’s innocuous activities. The study is intended to support the prevailing academic, wildlife advocacy and conservationist position that free roaming cats are a threat.
According to her biography at the Hernandez Wildlife Desease Lab at UGA website, “Kerrie Anne’s dissertation research focuses on the threat to suburban biodiversity posed by free-roaming domestic cats. Partnered with National Geographic Remote Imaging, she used point-of-view, animal-borne video cameras to monitor the outdoor activities of 60 owned, free-roaming cats in Athens, Georgia. She analyzed hunting and risk behaviors (crossing roads, encountering predators, contact with other cats, etc.) to address questions related to predation of cats on native wildlife as well as about the type and frequency of cat risks. Dr. Hernandez and Kerrie Anne are both interested in improving the welfare of both cats and wildlife and expect impactful educational materials to result from the “KittyCams” project. Kerrie Anne is expected to graduate Summer 2012 and is looking forward to a rewarding career in academics.”
From wikipedia, Robert Paul Smith’s 1957 classic book: Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing is a nostalgic evocation of the inner life of childhood. It advocates the value of privacy to children; the importance of unstructured time; the joys of boredom; and the virtues of freedom from adult supervision. He opens by saying “The thing is, I don’t understand what kids do with themselves any more.” He contrasts the overstructured, overscheduled, oversupervised suburban life of the child in the suburban 1950’s with reminiscences of his own childhood. He concludes “I guess what I am saying is that people who don’t have nightmares don’t have dreams. If you will excuse me, I have an appointment with myself to sit on the front steps and watch some grass growing.”