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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2005, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
stu
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Cats' body clock

Do cats have a night/day body clock?

One of our cats, Gemma, always follows us at bedtime, and hangs around for a few minutes, then says cheerio until morning.
And 5 mins before the alarm goes off in the morning, she generally jumps up on to the bed and says hello.

But if I go upstairs at, say, 6 in the evening when I get back from work, she will follow me into the bedroom, as if she thinks it's bedtime.

I know that cats are creatures of habit, but do they know when it's middle of night/ middle of day etc etc? Do they have any concept of time?

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2005, 09:49 AM
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Well, the "concept of time" and "body clock" are two very different things. As far as the concept of time, cats live very much in the present and I don't think they have much sense of past and future. However, as creatures of habit, they become accustomed to things that are repeated at the same time every day and they know when "it's time" for that thing to happen. For example: feeding time!! As far as day/night, they probably rely on the same visual cues we do.

Cats do have a "body clock" if by that you mean circadian rhythm, as do all higher life forms, so their activity level varies throughout the day. In nature, cats do most of their hunting at dawn and at dusk, so that is when they are "programmed" to be active.

I hope that answers your question.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2005, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you.

Just wondered why Gemma can think we're off to bed at 6pm, when it's normally nearer 11pm!
It's like me walking into the bedroom is her cue to jump on to the bed and be friendly...

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-08-2005, 11:20 AM
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Cats' circadian rhythm is quite different than humans. Cats have more active/inactive cycles than humans do. So when they're active, it's for a shorter time period, but several times throughout the day and night. And the same for sleep. If you keep track of when your cat is sleeping and is active, I think you'll find that they occur at roughtly the same times each day.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-09-2005, 01:53 PM
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Our Boo has a clock, that is for sure. She *knows* when it is time for her nummies!!

MEOW! - What else do I need to say?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 07:24 PM
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My wife and I thought this was hilarious...

One of our cats would wake her up EVERY morning at 6:10am, 5 minutes before her alarm went off (he knew it was time to eat.) We figured he knew it was time by the breaking of daylight. But when we changed the clocks in the fall, there he was again.. right at 6:10am.

We've determined he knows how to tell time, and will soon be doing algebra.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-19-2005, 08:16 PM
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Same with my cats, except they don't know when the time changes from daylight time and back....so for a while, they're an hour off one way or the other.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 01:09 AM
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Tuxie is the same way, she will start to wake us up few mins before the alarm clock goes. But when the time moved forward she was off for a few days.
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