Sunday, November 15, 2015

How Do Cats Know What Time It Is?

Somehow cats know what time it is, and they don't need to look at a clock.
Dear Thomasina...
How do cats know what time it is? My indoor/outdoor cat comes in every night promptly at 10 pm. If I open the door a bit early, he's not there. But if I'm a few minutes late, he's annoyed because he had to wait. Does he really know what time it is?
-- Just Wondering 

Hi Wondering...
Cats know what time it is, although we don't think of it the way you do. You look at time in minutes and hours. We see it in intervals.

Our sense of time is based on circadian rhythms (On what??? My human typist stuck that in there) that pretty much control our internal clocks. Those clocks tell us when one interval (being outside) should end and another (going in for a nap) should begin.

It sounds like your cat's clock is set to tell him to go inside at 10 pm your time. Of course, he might decide to reset the clock, depending on the weather. So don't be surprised if his schedule changes with the seasons.

The Sun Helps Cats Know What Time It Is