What Cats Do All Day

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Have you ever wondered what your indoor cat does all day when it is home alone?

Does it mainly sleep all day? How much time does it send playing? Does it look out the windows? Or play with toys and climb the cat tree?

While the average cat owner may think they know what they cat does at home while they are away, Purina Friskies decided they would design a study to reveal exactly how cats spend their time alone.

Fifty pre-selected owners of indoor cats had their felines fitted with a tiny digital camera on its collar to get a cat's eye view of the world.

For around-the-clock coverage, the cameras were automatically set to take pictures of the cats' explorations every 15 minutes when the owners were away.

To ensure full and balanced "repurrting," the participants included indoor cats from various living situations around the United States, including homes and apartments and those that live with other pets versus those that lived only with humans.

The average cat is home alone nearly five hours per day. The digital "cat-cams" snapped a still photo every 15 minutes. Each cat's owner uploaded their most interesting photos to a special Friskies website page each night. By studying the collection of photos Purina animal behavior scientist Dr. Jill Villarreal was able to draw some surprising new conclusions about how our kitties fare when they're left to their own devices.

Expectations

Before the study, most of the cat's owners expected lots of pictures of beds.

  • 71 percent of owners suspect their cat spends most its time sleeping.
  • 52 percent of owners think their cat spends a significant amount of time eating.
  • 47 percent of owners expected their cat to spend time looking out the window.

The Results

There's still a belief that cats are asocial and prefer to be solitary. The cat-cam study showed that cats actually have active social lives. That wasn't the only myth that the undercover kitties debunked. The feline "repurrters" revealed not only what cats do, but also how they view and experience the world around them when they're home alone.

The Activity
% of Time Spent On The Activity
Sleeping
30% - 65%
Looking out the window
21 %
Hanging out with other animals in the household
12 %
Playing
5 %
Eating / Drinking
4%

Other popular activities included:

  • TV Watching: Several cats took pictures of computer and television screens. This is likely due to the cat's natural prey instinct to focus in on moving objects.
  • Screened-in porches are a rich oasis filled with sensory stimulation. This includes sights, sounds, textures, and smells with grassy patches and non-toxic plants that provide tactile (touch) and olfactory (smell) stimulation for the cats.
  • Water: Photos also showed that cats were greatly interested in water, be it in the sink, bathtub, or swimming pool. This may seem counterintuitive, as it is commonly believed that cats dislike water. However, these photos reveal that cats like water, but on their own terms. For example, the coolness of the sink and tub provide a fun thermal contrast for cats.
  • Friends: The cats didn't just hang out with their feline housemates. They also spent a lot of time with dogs and even bunnies. If they grow up together, they see other animals as friends.

Final Thoughts

The results of the cat "focus group" revealed that there's more to a feline's life than just a cat nap. Now we have a glimpse into the cat's world. Perhaps we underestimate what the cat do during the day. From a cat's perspective, they're seeing a world full of excitement.

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