Your cat is home alone for many hours while you are out in the world, working, running errands, living your human life. But what is a cat’s life like? What do they do all day inside?
Cats mostly sleep all day. On average, cats sleep for an average of 15 hours a day. Sometimes, they may sleep up to 20 hours in 24 hours. When they aren’t sleeping, cats are eating, exploring, hunting, and interacting with the other animals in your home.
Every pet owner is curious about when their animal does all day, especially when they come home and the house is upside down. Does your cat wait until you are gone so they can run around like a tornado? Read on to learn more about what it is your cat is doing all day.
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The thing your cat does most throughout the day is sleep. Cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, and much of this occurs when you are at work. You’ll often return home to see your cat slink out from underneath a bed or couch, stretching as they greet you at the door. Your cat is usually waking up from a nap when you get home because their most active times are when the sun rises and falls.
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal. A stray cat may be more active at night, but only because it has adapted to hunt the nighttime prey of rats and mice.
Felines are crepuscular, not nocturnal; they are most active at dawn and dusk. You will likely be woken up in the early hours of the morning to the pitter-patter of your cat running around your home or jumping on and off your bed. In the evening, an outdoor cat will perform his hunts as the sun goes down, returning home when the darkness has fallen, often bringing you a ‘gift’ when he does.
When your cat isn’t sleeping, they may very well be eating. This is especially true if you free-feed your cat. Free-feeding consists of leaving food out all the time instead of dispensing it at particular times of the day. Your pet will likely move to the food bowl and sit there eating until the entire thing is empty before he takes another nap to recuperate.
If you don’t free-feed your furry friend, they will likely spend some of the days trying to get food. Whether that involves gnawing on containers or knocking treat bags off the counter, they’ll make sure you haven’t left anything unsecured.
House cats love to explore and spend a good portion of their day doing so. This is especially true for indoor/outdoor cats, no matter where they live. If they live on a farm, they will spend the day chasing rodents and wandering throughout the fields and barn structures. If they live in an urban area, they will peer under cars and slink through the neighbors’ yards.
Strictly indoor cats will also explore their territory, making the rounds of the bedrooms and searching for interesting items in the basement. The larger your house, the more grand adventures your cat will go on throughout the day.
Hunting and exploring are synonymous when it comes to cats. Even if a feline was leisurely exploring an area, the relaxing stroll would quickly turn into an adrenaline-filled hunt if they happened upon a mouse or small bird.
While cats have a high prey-drive for small creatures, it’s less likely that a cat will hunt and kill a bird than a rodent. Cats are much more prone to stalk a small mammal or even an insect. Farmer’s love having a few tough cats around to keep the mice out of their horse stalls and the vermin out of their vegetation. Indoor cats can hunt as well; every wandering spider or buzzing fly is at risk of violent death with a feline around.
One thing you might not know about your pet is that they have a secret collection. Not all cats do this, but many felines are hoarders. Like crows attracted to shiny objects, many cats collect items that they like, for one reason or another.
Where do they keep these things? In a hiding place that they deem safe. This spot is usually partially hidden or compact enough that it’s only easily accessible by the cat. These stockpiles are often found under beds, couches, or in closets where the animal likes to sleep.
While you are at work, your pet will take a sweep of the house, looking for any newfound objects to add to their collection. You might find your feline’s cache by accident, or when you perform your spring cleaning, or you may never find it. An indoor/outdoor cat could keep their items in a pile below the porch or even bury them in the garden.
These items are usually arbitrary to humans, like a bottlecap or the plastic tab of milk jugs, but they are prized possessions to a cat. Some of the most common items that cats collect are:
- Bottle caps
- Elastic bands
- Plastic tags from beverages and bread bags
- Dog/kids toys
- Receipts/lose papers
- Christmas ornaments
Another thing cats love to do is watch. They are constantly on the lookout for a snack, whether that’s food, garbage, or another animal. Indoor cats love to sit on the backs of couches or wherever they can get the best view of the outdoors. Outdoor cats may also have a favorite perch to watch the neighborhood dogs, cats, and children go by.
If you’re keeping your cat indoors, then providing them with an observation deck is a great way to keep them entertained while you aren’t home. It’s also beneficial for all cats in the winter when it is too cold to go outside.
Interact With Other Animals in the Home
If your cat is not the only pet in the home, you can bet that they spend a good portion of their day interacting with other animals, for better or for worse.
You might have another cat, and the two like to snuggle up and take cat naps together, or you may have a dog that likes to give chase. At some point, the animals in the home will get bored of looking out of the window alone and will interact with each other. If you come home to find your dog has a new scratch on his nose and your feline is looking extra smug, there’s no big mystery what happened there.
While leaving cats and dogs alone has some concerns, other animals are at much greater risk if left alone with a kitty. Guinea pigs, hamsters, budgies, and fish can go from ‘housemate’ to ‘hunted’ in a split second. Cats have also been known to fall into fish tanks or knock them over completely, killing the fish and cutting the cat with broken glass.
If you’re going to leave your furry (and fishy) friends home alone together, make sure that they either get along or are strong enough to defend themselves if an altercation arises. A dog with a scratch on his nose is one thing, but a hamster fighting a cat is not likely to get away with just a small scrape.
You can also buy toys that simulate hunting to keep your cat distracted, though they aren’t likely to keep their mind off of the real thing if it’s nearby.
Cats are curious creatures that love to explore, hunt, and watch the world go by. If your cat isn’t looking for food or new treasures to add to their collection, then they are most likely sleeping in the warmest spot they could find. Cats spend most of their day snoozing in sun-streams, warm piles of laundry, or near heating fixtures.
- PetMD: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
- DDFL: Understanding Why Your Cat Is Up At Night
- ACA: Biology And Behavior of the Cat
- PetMD: These Are the Best Cat Toys to Simulate Hunting Prey
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.