Is Your Cat Catching Forty Winks While You're Out?

If you think your cats are going to be taking a catnap while you’re away at work, think again! Purina Friskies recently conducted a study to determine just what it is that our feline friends get up to when we’re away. The Scratchington Post reports their findings.
By Pets Team
Published on Thursday, 28 October 2010

If you think your cats are going to be taking a catnap while you’re away at work, think again! Purina Friskies recently conducted a study to determine just what it is that our feline friends get up to when we’re away. The Scratchington Post reports their findings.

50 cats were recruited to participate in an observational study designed to uncover the various activities that cats engaged in during the time that their owners are away from home. The roving reporters were equipped with a tiny digital camera that was attached to their collars for around-the-clock coverage. Every 15 fifteen minutes, the digital cat cameras would take a still photo and owners would upload 10 of the best on a Friskies Flickr community page. (You can view the photos here!)

The numerous photos revealed surprising facts about what our feline friends got up to when left to their own devices. Before the study, many cat owners were expecting to see lots of pictures of beds, reported Dr Jill Villareal (Purina Animal Behaviour Scientist). While it is true that cats usually sleep for about 8 to 16 hours a day, when they’re up and about, they literally are up and about!

These cat cams have debunked a few myths including ones that depict cats as asocial and solitary animals. Contrary to these myths, the photos proved that cats actually had active social lives!

The cat cam study showed that cats actually interacted with their environment; seeking out sensory stimuli around the home. They not only hung out with their feline housemates but with dogs and bunnies too. Villareal explains that when cats grow up together with other animals, they begin to see them as friends.

Interestingly, the cats spent nearly 12 percent of their time hanging out with other animals. They only spent six percent sleeping and five percent playing with toys. Their ultimate favourite activity? Looking out windows! The cats actually spent more than 21 percent of their time doing this!

Knowing that our cats are more interactive than they let on, cat owners can consider some suggestions that Villareal proposes. “It seems like they’re seeking novelty and variety,” she says. “Now that we know cats like variety, we can provide it in the home.” By hiding several small food bowls around the house, your kitty has to work to find its lunch. Mixing up your kitty’s toys such as changing its toys every few days will keep things interesting for him.

If your cat has a penchant for playing with its food, you may give him a treat-dispensing ball to wrestle with. Changing the flavours of the food inside the ball can keep your cat engaged. “If we gave them a treat ball, it would be a fun way for them to explore their food and have a multi-sensory experience.” Villareal explains.

Seems the cat cams have provided a much needed glimpse into our feline friends’ furry world!