Can My Cat Tell Time?

If we jump an hour ahead, or fall an hour behind, can our cats tell the difference in time?

Your cat doesn't need to watch a clock. Via PIxabay


My cat wakes me up at 6 a.m. sharp every day. Can he tell what time it is?


Well, he certainly knows early morning usually means breakfast! It’s not the clock on your wall but his internal clock that tells him when the sun starts to rise, it’s close to his feeding time. In my house I don’t even have to set my alarm clock. My sweet 13-year-old cat Abby starts climbing over me demanding a treat at around 4 a.m. — but I only have myself to blame.

When Abby was sick last year she would only eat treats. I kept them by my nightstand and she knew it. Now she is better, thankfully, but she still demands a sunrise treat. Even daylight savings time doesn’t make a difference. She’s there at 4 a.m. regardless and nothing dissuades her, not even if I put a pillow over my head. Fortunately, after she eats her treat we both go back to sleep.

Cats really have our routines down. They are aware of when we eat, sleep, get up, go out and come back. They like to have their needs met when we are home and sometimes it seems as if they are training us. For those who return from work around the same time everyday it’s not unusual to find the cat at the door, ready for attention.  Good hearing rather than clock watching usually accounts for that. When you come in, make sure you lavish praise and attention on him and don’t forget the treats — though you might not want to keep them by your bed. As always, I welcome your comments and stories.

Article Categories:
Behavior and Training · Cats