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The Secret Life of Cats, TF1

An exceptional experience to discover what cats do when we are not there!

A BBC Worldwide France production for TF1

 A village, 

 100 cats followed 

 24 hours a day 

 for a month 

Photo@BBC Worldwide France

An exceptional and unique experience :

100 cats from the same village equipped with GPS collars, 24 hours a day, for a month.

An innovative technological device :

GPS tracking collars, on-board cameras on cats, etc.

Funny cat stories told by Valérie Damidot.

Two experts recognized in the animal world :

an ethologist, Jessica Serra and a veterinarian, Laetitia Barlerin.

Success of the show:

more than two million viewers in 2017 on each of the four episodes of season 1 broadcast on TF1. Numerous rebroadcasts on the TF1 channel and the group's other channels with an audience always there.

TF1, The secret life of cats
TF1, The secret life of cats



Photo@BBC Worldwide France

There are 13.5 million cats who share our daily lives in France. They are our favorite pets. But do we really know them? What is their secret life when the masters are not there? What if our sweet kitty turned out to be an extreme adventurer?

Tracking collars

The panel of cats selected by production was equipped with state-of-the-art, lightweight and secure GPS collars for a month. With a battery life of 8 hours, these collars had a GPS chip allowing every movement to be recorded day and night. To conduct the experiment, the collars were changed regularly. Teams collected them from each household to recharge them and recover the data. 

Revelation of tracking on GPS maps

The results collected by the tracking were then analyzed by the experts and explained to the families. The debriefing then took place in a headquarters also called “HQ”, located in the heart of Meung-sur-Loire, where the families visualized the movements of their felines on satellite maps.

Miniature cameras on cats

Some cats have been equipped with on-board cameras to film their movements at eye level.

Fixed cameras with automatic detection

Motion detection cameras were installed in potential places of passage (garden, courtyard, garage, cat flap entrance, etc.) in order to investigate their route and their territory.

Portraits of cats and families

The team met with each family to understand their environment and thus better respond to certain issues.

The location of the experience: Meung-sur-Loire

is a charming French village of 6,200 inhabitants located in Loiret, in the Center - Val de Loire region. The town has a large population of cats and offers a variety of places to live and go out for our pets: the heart of the village, residential areas and housing estates, fields, the banks of the Loire, parks, castles, etc. The entire village was mobilized. for the experience.


My role within the program

Scientific expertise and host of the show



What made me want to participate in the show?

I was contacted by the BBC team who had found one of my scientific publications on the internet on tracking the movements of cats using new recording technology. They were looking for a researcher with expertise in cat tracking. They told me about the possibility of a scientific collaboration which would involve following more than 100 cats day and night for more than a month. I was very enthusiastic at the prospect of such a study, a first in France!

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