10 Unconventional Uses for GPS

Investigating the Secret Lives of House Cats
What's kitty really up to in the daytime? A GPS tracking device showed she's not just napping. Maria Pavlova/iStock/Thinkstock

Ever wonder what your cat does when you let him or her outside? A group of researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University are eager to answer that question for you. They're hoping to equip more than 1,000 cats — some in the Charlotte area, others as far away as Australia and Germany — with GPS-enabled transmitters on harnesses, which will allow them to track the movements of outdoor cats in 2014. They're augmenting the GPS data with other info, including analysis of cat feces that they're encouraging owners to collect. Just so that they won't cause a privacy scandal like the National Security Agency experienced, they're allowing owners to list their cats under aliases [source: Price].

The research may clarify the extent to which cats pose a threat to birds. But it also may yield other surprises. When a British TV program tagged cats with GPS, it discovered that they spent much of their time at other cat owners' houses, trying to steal cat food [source: Rice].