Cat Biorhythm: Exploring Why Cats Stick to Certain Routines

Ever wondered why your cat always seems to know when it's time for dinner, even before you've reached for their bowl? Or puzzled over why they insist on waking you up at the crack of dawn every single day?

Cat's Clock: Decoding the Secrets of Their Routines and Behaviors
Every cat has distinct daily habits and routines that contribute to its unique character.


Many pet owners notice that cats have regular routines and seem to know exactly when it's the right time to repeat them every day. What is the basis for this behavior?

Your guide to keeping your cats healthy and happy: respect their internal clocks 


Our readers shared with us the daily routines of their feline friends

Catherine shared: "Every morning, my cat tenderly taps my face with her paw to wake me up. She won't let me sleep, as if she has an internal alarm clock programmed for breakfast. Even on weekends, she awakens me at 7 a.m. by softly pawing at my face."

Understanding Cat Circadian Rhythms and Their Behavior During the Day: Insights into Cat Internal Clocks
Some cats wake their owners gently each morning, while others roam the house at night. How do we explain this cat's behaviour?


Steven shared how: "Every morning, like clockwork, my cat jumps onto the windowsill and starts chirping at the birds outside. It's incredible how her inner clock seems to know the exact moment the sun rises, prompting her daily ritual of bird watching," 

Peter and Karen revealed: "Our cat insists on starting her nightly playtime session at precisely 2 a.m., regardless of how late I stay up. She'll dash about the home like a crazy person, toppling objects and leaping at fictitious targets. One cannot slumber during her shenanigans!" 

Circadian rhythms of cats


Our Feline friends, like humans and many other animals, have an internal body clock that guides their daily behavior. 

Cat daily activities, such as being less active and sleeping for longer during the day than at night, reflect these innate clocks.

Seasonal Variations' Influence on Cat Behavior: Circadian and Crepuscular Rhytm of Cats
The alterations of night and day, as well as seasonal fluctuations, affect your domestic cat's circadian cycle


Cats' internal clocks control also their body temperature and eating habits. They often have lower temperatures when resting and higher temperatures when active. Many prefer also eating at night due to their origin as nocturnal hunters. The behavior of cats is innate and doesn't rely on external factors. However, cat routines are shaped also by their human families.

Common repeating patterns in a cat's day


People often notice their pets follow a morning routine, waking up around sunrise for breakfast. They also tend to find quiet spots to sleep during the hottest part of the day.

How Many Hours Do Cats Sleep? Exploring the Nocturnal Habits of Domestic Cats and the Natural Circadian Rhythm That Governs Them
Cats are crepuscular or nocturnal beings, thus you will observe them resting a lot throughout the day.


As the sun sets and temperatures drop, cats often become active. This burst of energy is linked to their nocturnal instincts, signaling the transition from daytime rest to nighttime exploration and hunting.

Cats, like people, have nightly routines for going to bed. 

Cats get ready for sleep by finding a comfortable spot, grooming, or cuddling with their owners. Their internal clocks again help regulate their sleep patterns for a restful night.

Cats' daily behavior is influenced by the family they live with


Cats, often perceived as independent, can be influenced by social interactions. Studies suggest that cats living together may synchronize their eating and hunting behaviors. Additionally, a cat's daily routines can be shaped significantly by its human family.

The Impact of Owners and Families on Cat Behavior: How Domestic Cats Adapt Their Behavior to Fit in with Humans
Cats' daily routines change significantly when they are in the presence of other cats or young children


Cats' ability to modify their biorhythms to meet the requirements of the human family is remarkable. 

Because of this, every cat's internal clock captures also the beat of the family they live with.
 
This gives the expression "our cat is a member of your family" a whole new, deeper meaning.

Cat health implications of not respecting the cat's natural biorhythm


Disruptions to a cat's circadian rhythms, like irregular sleep patterns or exposure to artificial light at night, can harm cat health. While humans can adjust their internal clocks with technology, kitties are still tied to natural rhythms. It's crucial to understand and respect their internal clocks for cat health and well-being. Cats rely on these rhythms for basic functions like sleep and digestion. Changes to their routines can lead to stress, anxiety, and cat health issues.

Clockwork Kitties: Understanding Cat Circadian Cycles
The quality of a cat's circadian rhythm can impact its health and overall well-being


Cats thrive when their daily routine matches their natural cycles. Regular exercise and mental stimulation during their active times can keep them mentally and physically healthy, satisfying their instincts and preventing boredom-related behaviors.

References  


Daily rhythms in food intake and locomotor activity in a colony of domestic cats
This study investigated the daily rhythms of feeding and activity in cats. It found that cats exhibit a strong circadian rhythm in their feeding behavior, with peak feeding activity occurring during the night. This suggests that cats, like many other nocturnal animals, are more active and prefer to eat during the night. 
Link

One Health: Circadian Medicine Benefits Both Non-human Animals and Humans Alike
This study examined how changes in daylight duration, or photoperiod, affect the circadian rhythm of body temperature in cats. It found that cats exposed to different photoperiods adjusted their body temperature rhythms accordingly, suggesting that cats are sensitive to changes in light and use this information to regulate their internal clocks.
Link

A two-peak circadian system in body temperature and activity in the domestic cat
This study investigated the ability of cats to maintain their circadian rhythms in constant illumination conditions, where there are no external cues such as changes in light-dark cycles. It found that cats still exhibited rhythmic patterns of activity under these conditions, indicating the presence of an endogenous circadian clock that drives their behavior.
Link

Dealing With Stress in Cats: What Is New About the Olfactory Strategy?
This study explored the relationship between daily activity patterns and stress hormone levels in cats. It found that cats exhibited higher levels of activity during the night, which correlated with lower levels of plasma cortisol, suggesting that nighttime activity may serve as a way for cats to reduce stress.

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