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Spring Forward!

Posted by Harry Shubin on

Spring Forward??  How far forward did you move it?? 

 

©Thomas D Mørkeberg 

The spring time change is - other than the loss of an hour - somewhat appreciated by cat people, since if Fluffy wakes you at dawn for her breakfast, dawn will come an hour later after we turn the clocks forward.  But on the other end, when it's 9 p.m. and bedtime - ok, that's wishful thinking - midnight and well past time when you should have been asleep, it's only 11 p.m. and your cats aren't ready to snooze.  What do you do?

Believe it or not, you can alter your cat's schedule.  It helps though to first understand what drives that schedule.  

Cats are "crepuscular" animals, which means they are naturally most active during twilight or dawn and dusk compared to humans who are diurnal meaning most active during daylight hours. Domesticated animals being dependent upon us for food become accustomed to our diurnal routines, in which we feed them according to our own patterns of when breakfast and dinner should be.  Have you noticed how your cat's activity level increases around mealtime?  The reason why Fluffy gets frantic around mealtime is likely due to a number of factors. Cats are focused predators with highly developed hunting skills, and that focus and anticipation carry over to meal time expectations.  Perhaps you've seen the "anticipatory" behavior in captive tigers - pacing prior to meal times.  This same behavior in our little cats is the intertwining anticipatory dance Fluffy does while you open food cans or fill bowls.

The normal routine for a cat - according to behaviorist Jackson Galaxy - is hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, sleep.  When you want your cat to sleep - going through the other steps of that routine will work.  Prior to bedtime, hunt - play with your cat with a wand toy or fishing pole type toy.  Let her catch it at the end of play, or give her a mouse toy to catch - and kill.  Eat - feed her a little snack.  If you have a cat that is a little bit overweight, or are concerned that she could become so - reserve a spoonful of her dinner food for this late night snack.  Hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom...  and get a good night's sleep.

 

Cat - Clock

 (Just 2 more hours... and it'll be an hour closer to breakfast!)

 


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