How a Cat’s Body Clock is Set

Late at night when you’re getting some rest, you wake up to some loud banging. Then you hear scratching sounds on your door; you know it’s that ungodly hour of activity again. You resentfully leave your slumber and attend to the source of all those sounds and annoying howls. As you address the needs of the source to keep it quiet, you wonder to yourself, how can you correct your cat’s body clock. Are cats’ circadian rhythm set to be opposite human’s?

how a cat's body clock is set

Are cats’ body clock set to be active at night?

Many cat owners have experienced waking up at dark because of their cats. This led to the belief that cats are nocturnal and are highly active at night. While this is true for some, but it’s been noted that domestic cats aren’t actually nocturnal but crepuscular beings.

Nocturnal animals are active at night or evening hours. Diurnals are active during the daytime just like many people. Finally, crepuscular describe those that are most active during twilight or ungodly hours. Crepuscular animals are mostly active at dawn and dusk. Supposedly, domestic cats who are culprits of waking people up from deep sleep are crepuscular.

how a cat's body clock is set

What sets a cat’s body clock?

 

Like for most animals, what sets a cat’s body clock is adaptation for survival. Wild, big cats and feral felines appear to be mostly nocturnal. These wild cats are active at night to hunt prey. For those in the wild, they can hunt better because the night improves their stealth. For feral cats in human settlements, they become more active late at night to avoid people and search for food more freely. As for pampered house cats, these fellows tend to have a crepuscular lifestyle.

how a cat's body clock is set

Why are indoor cats’ body clock different?

There are two types to being crepuscular: matutinal ones who are active pre-dawn or early morning and vespertine who are most active at dusk. Supposedly, indoor cats have adapted this crepuscular lifestyle due to lack of activity during daylight. Cats tend to nap more during daytime or midday when the sun is at peak to reserve their energy. Moreover, lack of stimulating activities during daytime and when most cat owners aren’t around to keep them company, made cats engaged in their slumber. These factors have then turned them into crepuscular beings and mostly vespertine types.

how a cat's body clock is set

Can a cat’s body clock be reset?

Just as humans can, feline body clock can also be reset. Research suggests that cats’ circadian rhythms aren’t hard-wired which allows room for adjustments. Especially for house cats, their activity patterns can be greatly influenced by the human in the house. Depending on human care and practiced habits for these calicos, a cat’s body clock can certainly be set for resting at night alongside their human’s sleeping schedule.

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