The Royal Veterinary College has teamed up with the BBC and presenter Liz Bonnin for Cat Watch 2014, a series of programmes on BBC2 this week.
Laboratory professor Alan Wilson and his team developed the wildlife collar tracking technology for their research into hunting behaviour by wild cheetahs, lions and leopards in southern Africa.
For Britain’s cats the collars had to be miniaturised so they could be carried comfortably without affecting the cats’ behaviour. Collars were fitted to 100 cats so they could be tracked round the clock to find out where they went, what they did and which other cats they met or avoided.
Filmed in the structure and motion lab, the RVC researchers explain how the muscles and bones of domestic cats compare with the big wild cats and how this affects their posture and athletic prowess.
Viewers will discover how the scientists study the animals in the lab and in the wild as they record their movements during running, jumping and negotiating obstacles.
Presenter Liz Bonnin is a cat scientist, with a master’s degree in wild animal biology from the RVC, for which she tracked wild tigers in Nepal.