Do cats have a sense of time

People say that time is a fickle mistress, always slipping through our fingers no matter how tightly we try to hold on. And yet, as we look around us, we see that time is everywhere, in the changing of the seasons, the ticking of a clock, and the passing of a day.

But what about our beloved cats? Do cats sense time in the same way that we do, or do they live in a world of their own making?  Or is there something deeper at work? So if you’re ready to travel into the mysteries of time and cats, read on.

What is a “sense of time” in animals

So, what exactly do we mean when we talk about a “sense of time” in animals? Well, to put it simply, it’s the ability to perceive and track the passage of time, whether that’s over minutes, hours, or even longer periods.

Now, you might be thinking, “But wait, don’t animals just live in the moment? They don’t care about what time it is!” it’s true that animals don’t have the same kind of rigid timekeeping structures that we do, with our schedules, appointments and deadlines. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have some sense of the rhythms and patterns that shape their world.

In fact, this idea of animals having a sense of time is something that has been explored for decades, even in movies. Remember Lassie, the intrepid collie who always seemed to know when her young owner was in trouble?

Or Garfield, the lasagna loving cat who was always on the lookout for his next meal? These fictional animals may have been exaggerated for comedic or dramatic effect, but they were rooted in the idea that animals have an intuitive understanding of the passage of time.

Of course, reality is a bit more complex than what we see on TV or in the movies. But as we’ll see, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that cats do indeed have their own unique way of perceiving time.

Do cats actually have a sense of time

So, we’ve established that animals can have a sense of time, but what about our feline friends in particular? Do cats have a sense of time, or are they just living their best lives in the moment?

Well, the answer is….. kind of both. On the one hand, cats definitely have a way of keeping track of time in their own meowi way.

For example, have you ever noticed how your cat seems to know exactly when it’s time for their daily nap or play session? Even without a clock or a calendar, they have an internal sense of what comes next in their daily routine.

But on the other hand, cats are also notorious for their love of living in the moment. They don’t worry about the future or dwell on the past. They’re all about the here and now. So while they may have some sense of time, it’s definitely not the same kind of obsessive timekeeping that we engage in.

What Do Research Studies Says about it 

Obviously, this hasn’t stopped researchers from trying to get to the bottom of just how cats perceive time.

Some studies have suggested that cats can differentiate between different durations of time, while others have found that they rely more on environmental cues like the position of the sun or the timing of meals.

Let’s not forget the anecdotal evidence that plenty of cat owners will swear that their cats have a sixth sense when it comes to time. Whether it’s knowing exactly when their owner is due home from work or insisting on being fed at the same time every day, cats seem to have an uncanny ability to keep track of their daily routines.

It also helps them to maintain a good memory, and if you want to know whether your feline buddy has a good memory or not? Look no further, just take a peek at “Do cats have a good memory”

How do cats use a sense of time in their daily lives

So, we’ve established that cats do have a sense of time. Though they spend most of their day sleeping and lounging around, when it’s time for food, play, or potty, they magically appear out of nowhere, demanding our attention.

It’s almost as if they have an internal clock that’s more precise than a Swiss watch, and they’re not afraid to use it to their advantage. Here are some way cats utilize time in their daily life:

Keeping track of meal times: 

Cats are just like the Ron Swanson of the animal kingdom: they love their food and they want it on time. Even if you don’t feed your cat on a strict schedule, they’ll probably start letting you know when they’re hungry at the same times each day.

Napping on schedule: 

Cats are the ultimate snooze button, and they often have a set routine when it comes to their daily snoozes. Whether it’s a mid-morning nap in a sunbeam or a post-dinner doze on the couch, cats seem to know exactly when it’s time to curl up and get some rest.

Knowing when their owners are due home: 

Did you know there is a furry version of the FBI? Yeah, you guessed it right, it’s your cat. They always seem to know when their owners are due home from work. They may not be waiting with a welcome home sign like in a cheesy rom-com, but they’ll definitely be waiting at the door to give you a cool, aloof nod of acknowledgement.

Following daily routines: 

Cats are like the Tom Cruise characters of the animal world. They love a good routine. Whether it’s a play session after dinner or a cuddle on the couch before bed, cats seem to have an intuitive understanding of what they should be doing at any given time.

Responding to environmental cues: 

They may use environmental cues like the position of the sun or the sounds of birds outside to help them keep track of time and know what to expect next, like a feline version of Sherlock Holmes.

What can affect cats’ sense of time

Time is like a slippery fish that we are constantly trying to catch. And when we think we’ve got it, it slips right through our fingers.

Well, guess what? Just like us, cats’ sense of time can be thrown off by various factors. So, let’s put on our detective hats and investigate what can cause our furry friends’ internal clocks to go haywire:

  1. Daylight Savings Time: Just like us, cats can get thrown for a loop when the clocks change. Suddenly their meal times are an hour off, and they’re not sure whether they should be napping or playing. It’s like a feline version of jet lag!
  1. An unpredictable schedule: While cats love their routines, they can also adapt to changes pretty easily. However, if their schedule is constantly in flux, meaning if their owners work irregular hours, it can be harder for them to keep track of time. It’s like trying to follow a plot twist in a Christopher Nolan movie.
  1. Traveling: If you take your cat on a trip, whether it’s a road trip or a flight, their sense of time can get a little wonky. Suddenly they’re in a new place with different smells and sights, and they may not be sure when they’re supposed to eat or nap. It’s like a cat version of “Lost in Translation.”
  1. Age: Cats’ sense of time may change as they get older. Senior cats may have a harder time keeping track of their daily routines, or may need more frequent reminders about meal times. It’s like trying to keep up with the latest TikTok trends when you’re over 30.

What are some common myths about cats and their sense of time

Once upon a time, in a mystical land far, far away, there was a legend that cats had the power to control time itself. Some people believed that cats could make the clock tick faster or slower with just a flick of their tail.

But as it turns out, cats are just like us when it comes to time. Unfortunately, there are many myths about cats and their sense of time that have been passed down through the ages. Let’s take a journey through the magical world of cat myths and legends:

Cats can tell time like us

Sorry to burst your bubble, but cats don’t have the same kind of time telling abilities that we do. They can’t read clocks or understand the concept of minutes and hours. If they could, they’d probably be late for their appointments with the vet and groomer like the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland.”

Cats are nocturnal and have no sense of daytime 

While it’s true that cats are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk, they’re not completely oblivious to daytime. In fact, many cats love to soak up the sunbeams during the day and take naps in the afternoon. They’re like the ultimate brunch squad, just lounging around and enjoying the day.

Cats don’t care about schedules

This one couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats love their routines and can get pretty upset if they’re disrupted. Just try feeding your cat an hour later than usual and see how quickly they let you know about it. They’re the divas of the animal kingdom, demanding their meals on time and on schedule.

Cats have a perfect internal clock

While cats do have a pretty good sense of time, it’s not infallible. They can still be thrown off by changes in their environment or routine, just like Marty McFly in “Back to the Future.” Remember how he was thrown off by the changes in the timeline and had to figure out how to get back to the present? Well, cats can feel just as disoriented by changes to their routine. 

[Also watch “can cats sense the passage of time”]

Tips for managing cats’ sense of time

Understanding and managing your cat’s sense of time can be a bit tricky, but it’s worth the effort to maintain a strong bond with your beloved cat. Here are some tips and tricks of mine to help you out:

  1. Stick to a schedule 

Cats love a good routine. My Persian cat knows exactly when it’s time for breakfast and dinner, and he won’t hesitate to remind me with his insistent meows. Keeping a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and cuddles can help your cat feel more secure and happy. “Same cat time, same cat channel!” as they say in the movie “Groundhog Day!”

  1. Be patient with changes

Cats can be creatures of habit, and they don’t always adapt well to changes in their routine. When I moved to a new apartment, my cat was confused and anxious for a few days. But with some extra attention and patience, she soon settled into her new surroundings.

Remember, your cat might need a little extra time and patience to adjust to changes, so be patient and understanding. Remember how it takes some time for Luke Skywalker to learn the ways of the Force in “Star Wars.”

  1. Offer plenty of mental stimulation

Cats are curious creatures and love to explore and play. Providing toys, scratching posts, and other forms of mental stimulation can help keep them entertained and happy. Whiskers loves chasing laser pointers and batting around small balls.

She also loves to sit in the window and watch the birds outside. It’s like how the characters in “The Hunger Games” need to stay mentally sharp to survive. 

  1. Watch for signs of stress

Just like us, cats can get stressed out from time to time.  is prone to stress when there are loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms. I know that when she starts grooming excessively or hiding under the bed, it’s a sign that she’s feeling anxious.

If you notice any signs of stress in your cat, try to identify the cause and provide some extra comfort and attention. It’s like the characters in “The Office” can get stressed out by Michael Scott’s antics.

  1. Remember that every cat is unique

Cats have their own personalities and preferences. My cat likes the morning sun and loves to play early in the day, while some of my friends’ cats prefer to play at night.

Pay attention to your cat’s behavior and adjust their routine accordingly. It’s all about finding what works best for your furball. Just like every member of the “Friends” gang has their own quirks and preferences.


Time is something that we can’t always predict or control. But by learning about our cats and their sense of time, we can gain a deeper understanding of this mysterious force that governs our lives.

Our exploration of this topic doesn’t have to end here. We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on cats and their sense of time? Have you noticed any interesting behaviors or quirks in your own pets? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article.

Leave a Comment