Billed as the first scientific insight into what cats get up to when roaming away from home, Horizon’s The Secret Life of the Cat attracted 4.9 million viewers.
Audience numbers were boosted by keen feline fans who watched the science programme - which has an average audience of 1.7 million - in their droves.
The documentary followed fifty cats in the quaint Surrey village Shamley Green who were put under surveillance via “cat-cams” and GPS tags.
The programme discovered that cats were more domesticated than their owners had imagined, preferring to spend time in each other’s houses rather than roaming large distances or hunting small animals.
Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two, said: “I’m thrilled with the success of Horizon last night. Combining real science and fascinating insight, BBC Two viewers may never look at their pet cats in the same way again.”
However, the programme has received criticism for failing to show any real revelation about the domestic lives of cats.
The Independent’s TV critic Tom Sutcliffe wrote: “Apparently, it’s ‘every owner’s dream’ to find out what happened once cats had gone through the cat-flap. It isn’t mine, even though I like my cat, so the fact that I found this programme low on revelation and charm may say more about me than about it.
“Anyway, those shock research findings in full: Cats fight in back gardens. They walk along fences. They try and catch birds and mice. And just occasionally they sneak into one another’s houses and burglarise catty leftovers. Who knew?”
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