How many cat owners do night shift to interact with their cat to a maximum?

Most of us realise that humans are out of step with their domestic cat companions. Domestic cats, although highly adaptable, are crepuscular animals at least. Some are distinctly nocturnal and they are also active in the daytime but I suspect most sleep during large parts of the day. It is in their DNA to be active at night, particularly the early hours of the morning and in the evening.

Cat active at night under the full moon
Cat active at night under the full moon. Image: Anne Sudworth.
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This certainly applies to my cat and I am very aware of the fact that during his active hours, I am fast asleep. I also know that my cat loves me to go outside with him to accompany him on his travels. I don’t do enough of it. Due to poor sleeping habits, nowadays, I can, however, interact with him during the night at least for 2-3 hours.

It is a sadness that humans are so out of step with their cat companions in this regard. It is an aspect of cat domestication which presents a barrier to its success as a process, which is ongoing. It sounds bizarre and no one will do it but in an ideal relationship with their cat companion people should do what I have referred to as ‘nightshift’ and alter their activities to match those of their cat.

Obviously this wouldn’t be possible unless the person is retired as I am. But there are many retired people who depend upon their cat companions for company. It might be suggested that they should consider being awake and interactive at least during the early hours of the morning which would not be too much of a hardship for most elderly people because I’m convinced that a lot of them are awake at this time in any case.

In case you are not aware of it, the reason why domestic cats are active in the early hours and in the evening is because this is the time when their prey is also active. It is inherited from the North African wildcat’s behavior.

Of course, there are millions of domestic cats in America who are full-time indoor cats and in which case their natural instincts will be stunted. They will adapt to the activities and, at night, the lack of activity of their human caretaker. It does somewhat annoy me, though, when commentators say that domestic cats are so good at sleeping and sleep for 18 hours a day.

If you are an indoor cat (and I fully understand the need to keep cats indoors in America) you are going to sleep 18 hours a day because you have nothing else to do. I tried to confine my cat to a cat enclosure in the back garden but he broke out of it and is now a typical British wandering cat with all the risks that that entails to his safety. However, I can say that there is an upside, namely that he is very fit and fully active at night. He spends hours outside at night. His version of “the middle of the night” in respect of sleeping is about 2 pm in the afternoon when he is in deep sleep.

It can also be said that even when cats are full-time indoor cats and apparently sleeping for 18 hours a day they are not actually in deep sleep because they are forever alert as demonstrated by the instant movement of their ears when they pick up sounds.


2 thoughts on “How many cat owners do night shift to interact with their cat to a maximum?”

  1. I do occasionally join my outdoor cat friends at night (usually community or neighbors’ cats) for a little roaming about, exploring and running around. They do appear to love when we join them and seem to understand it’s a fun thing, that we do it for them. They know it’s not our normal time to be awake and up and around. When it’s one or two of my cats (which I’ve actually taken outside for just such an occasion) I can tell they are delighted, almost beside themselves, so yes, I’m familiar with the idea. I think the dead of night is a relatively safer time for them to be outside as well, providing it’s a safe area to begin with and they come to me when I call them. My cats do that, and I’ll only let cats out who do. When other cats appear there’s usually an investigation but at worst a little posturing and maybe a chase. Strange cats don’t want any trouble from me either and usually split when they see me. It can be a fun excursion, even if just a short walk but keep it safe.

    • Great. Thanks for that Albert. My cat loves it when I go out. He comes after and wants me to stay out. He wants to explore and play together. When I come in he follows me in on my command almost.


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