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March 2024

Can Cats Tell Time?

Sunday, October 18, 2015
posted by Jim Murphy

CATTIMEMost Fridays when I get home from work, we head down to our home in Delaware. My two cats somehow know the schedule. They try to hide or stay out of sight. Our trip takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes (without major traffic). Every time, I make the turn onto our street my cat Millie meows as if to say “we’re here!”  Cats do have a sense of timing.They are good at duration. So they know about what time, I should be turning onto our street here in Delaware. They are not good at time measurement. They is why daylight savings time can throw them off. They expect their dinner at a certain time but cannot tell that the time has changed and will be waiting by their bowls sooner or later They are good at schedules which have clear, cat-recognizable, cues. We can be amazed that our cats are ready at the door when we come home, but their hearing is much better than ours. They can recognize our car before it pulls into the driveway.They are good at waiting when they have plenty to occupy them. Just as our own perception of time passes faster when we are enjoying ourselves, so cats will get into less mischief while we are gone if they have plenty of different diversions.
They are bad at being bored because, just like small children, if they are not interested, time stretches on forever.  We might come home sooner than we expected, only to find that our cat has already been misbehaving. Let’s just say they know nothing more interesting is going to pop up.

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