Who needs a cat window seat? Arles in France - Photo by kahala - the cat is called "Groucho"
December 2009: A cat window seat is the best present for your cat this Christmas. Why am I so confident? Well, I'm actually not that confident. But research by Purina says that it should be the most used item by a domestic cat. This, though, is not very scientific research but it is research nonetheless. And it seems to clash with other informal types of research.
What do cats do all day when we are away? Sleep? Mine did. Or I thought she did. I know she did because I am home most days and she sleeps! There again she is old, so fair enough.
The idea that cats do very little is supported by these two videos made by time lapse photography over 10 hours. They appear to show similar behaviour with not much going on.
10 hr time lapse cats
But Purina fitted webcams to fifty cat that took a photo every 15 minutes. This formed a kind of time lapse record as well and the results are different from the ones in the videos above. 777 photos were taken and studied.
Judging by the photographs a cat does the following in descending order of the amount of time the activity occupies in a day:
|Percentage of time spent doing it
|Looking out of window
|Interacting with other companion animals
|Climbing on chairs or ?kitty condos? ( For Europeans: I think these are cat trees with places to rest in them)
|Watching or listening to ?media? (e.g. TV)
|Hiding under tables or other objects
|Playing with toys
|Eating or looking at eaten food
|69% (not sure what they did the rest of time ? sleep?) ? are these figures accurate and do we have them all?
Jill Villarreal, an animal behaviour scientist who conducted the research on behalf of Purina says that cats do sleep from 8-16 hours daily but at other times are active. That statement conflicts with the figures disclosed (sleeping = 6% above, which is 1.44 hours in one day).
The 12% of time socialising goes against peoples? idea that cats are solitary. This though is adaptation of domestic cats in my view.
The conclusion that is drawn from this is that cats seek variety, Jill says. In other words they are bored - wrong? Jill also says that cats are seeing a world full of excitement. I am not sure this is true.
I think that a domestic cat's world is much easier than a wild cat's world and a wild cat's world is one that is genuinely exciting but "exciting" is the wrong word; lets say more challenging but as a result stimulating and more dangerous. This develops better reasoning powers (the reason why wild cat hybrids are more intelligent).
A cat window seat is good for a cat because it can watch the outside world safely and be stimulated. So I am going to by my boy cat, Charlie, a cat window seat and see if he uses it. Another failed project!
One interesting statistic that has not been commented upon is the 6% of time hiding under tables etc. A cat does this to feel safe. This implies that ordinarily the domestic cat is a bit insecure lets say 1.44 hours per day. This may partly be due to the fact cats live in a land of giants
Also interesting is the fact that playing occupies a small part of the day at 5%. Playing is recommended to help provide a more stimulating environment. But it appears it is not happening one way or another.