2. Listen and Analyse: Rudi’s journeys

We’re going to watch some clips from a documentary film about a research project conducted recently in Weimar, Germany. Scientists fitted GPS collars to ten local cats, gave them several days to get used to the collars, and then used these to transmit the cats’ exact locations, day and night, throughout a 120-hour period.

Here, we meet Rudi, a 15-year old tom (male cat).

a. Watch 16:26 – 17.50.

  • What point does the narrator make, using the word ‘opportunistic’?
  • What do we learn about Rudi’s character?
  • What is the researcher interested to discover about Rudi’s habits?

b. Watch 17.50 – 19.17 (below).

  • What do we learn about Rudi’s methods in this clip?

c. Read the quotation from the documentary.

When a dog invades his territory, Rudi arches his back. He puffs himself up and prepares to defend himself against the aggressor.

  • In the second sentence, the narrator uses a different word for ‘dog’. What is it?
  • Why didn’t the narrator just repeat ‘dog’ in this sentence?

d. Find three synonyms (words with the same meaning) in the following quotation.

It’s interesting that Rudi often makes just short excursions, but, once a day, he deliberately makes a longer sortie, which takes between forty-five minutes and an hour. And he varies these tours – sometimes he goes north, sometimes south, sometimes west, so that although he doesn’t walk nearly as much as the other cats, he still has quite a large territory.

  • Which of these three words is the most commonly used, do you think?
  • Which is the rarest?
  • What does this show us about how to use advanced or rare vocabulary?

e. Discuss:

  • Why does Rudi vary his daily route?
  • Do you think this is a conscious decision made in the ageing feline’s brain?

f. Watch 19.53 – 20.26 (below).

  • How does the researcher’s view compare with your answers in part e (above)?

g. Read the quotation.

If a cat refreshes its scent marks about once a week, that’s quite sufficient.

  • What is the meaning of ‘quite’ in this sentence?

For more on ‘quite’ and how to use this seemingly simple adverb, click here.

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