How Do Domestic Cats Spend Their Time?

How do domestic cats spend their time?
How do domestic cats spend their time? From hunting to snoozing. Photos in the public domain.
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How do domestic cats spend their time? It depends on whether they are indoor only cats or indoor/outdoor cats and where they live. Age is also a factor as is the gender of the cat. These are obvious points. For instance a domestic cat living indoors and outdoors in the Australian outback will have a different lifestyle to a cat living in my neighbourhood which is built up in the UK.

However there will be general patterns for all domestic cats and there will be large variations I think between individual cats. My cat is quite active and likes exploring while some individuals will be ‘homers’ and snoozers. This may particularly apply to full-time indoor cats where the home is not ‘catified’ to use the language of Jackson Galaxy. Cats ‘compensate’ for nothing to do by doing nothing! They snooze. I don’t like to see this.

I’ll describe what my cat spends his time doing and compare with the findings of a study carried out in 2009 in which cameras were placed on cats. Looking at the information I don’t find it that credible to be perfectly honest. Some of the information makes sense but parts of it do not.

In this study cats spent their time as follows:

  • Grooming 50% of the time (this looks wrong to me)
  • Cat television – looking out of the window 21.6%
  • In the sink! I think we can call this resting somewhere with side supports like a box 1.7%
  • Sleeping 6.1% (I bet that surprised a lot of people. On the internet website repeat parrot fashion that cats sleep for endless hours. This is incorrect. They will snooze and rest but this not sleep).
  • Hanging out with other animals (if they are available) 11.8% or does this include humans?
  • Eating and drinking 4%
  • Looking at a computer 6.1% (this is very odd and can’t be right. Yes, some cats look at the television or computer and play sometimes with computer games but this is not universal)
  • Playing with toys 5%

How Do Domestic Cats Spend Their Time? – My Cat

My ‘active’ cat spends his time as follows (note: he is currently a fully fledged indoor/outdoor cat because he escaped the garden enclosure which is meant to be escape proof).

  • Exploring the outside and hunting 40% (this takes place almost exclusively at dawn, dust and in the middle of the night. His bedtime is from late morning to the evening).
  • Sleeping and snoozing on my lap, legs, sofa, cat condo etc. 30% (cats snooze a lot but are not genuinely sleeping)
  • Looking out of the window 7%
  • Eating 3%
  • Interacting with me 8% (my cat hardly plays with toys. This is partly because he is at present an outdoor/indoor cat and does not need artificial stimulation by playing with toys. He has real life toys: e.g. mice)
  • Grooming 9%
  • Sitting and looking in the garden 3%

Note: I am working on how to keep my cat in the garden enclosure. He is a particularly dynamic cat much like a high filial Bengal cat. He is slowing down but at about 4.5-years-of-age is still active.

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2 thoughts on “How Do Domestic Cats Spend Their Time?”

  1. An activity my cats enjoy is to go with me for a walk to the corner park where they can explore a little. This park is not active and we usually have it to ourselves. I also make a point of going early in the day when kids are in school, and I bring some kind of protection from dogs, just in case. They love the novelty of being in an area that’s different from their routine yard. In the summer I sometimes bring a blanket, toys, snacks and music and we stay awhile. Even if we only go for a few minutes I can tell they are rejuvenated by the experience and happy that I cared to do that for them.

  2. Make Gabs a water garden, plenty of marginal plants, in a large half barrel witha pond liner, it will look after itself. It will attract a lot of good insects – dragonflies etc. You may even get frogs! Some nice rough hewn cornish slate slabs piled up will provide a nice cover for the odd toad.

    Grow every type of catnip you can, plus a couple of honeysuckles. Shade plants like big ferns, low maintenance, good resting places, earthy wallows.

    Large log slices screwed onto a tripod of tree bough legs, different heights. Wood recycling projects have a lot of this stuff cheap.

    A big dead tree trunk, left on its side, maybe hollowed out a bit, cats love it.

    Different ground surfaces are good too.


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