What do cats do all day when they are home alone?

Sleep? Eat? Play?

Pet food company Purina set out recently to determine exactly what cats do all day when their owners are not home. They fitted tiny cameras to the collars of fifty indoor cats. The digital cameras snapped off a still photo every 15 minutes. By examining the thousands of photos, animal behavior scientist Dr. Jill Villarreal was able to determine just what our kitty friends get up to during the day.

While cats have been known to sleep between 8 and 16 hours a day, when they are awake they are extremely active, seeking out sensory stimulation. Contrary to the belief that cats are solitary animals, cats spent a lot of time seeking out and interacting with other animals in the household. Not just other cats, but also dogs and other pets such as rabbits. The cats in the survey spent 12% of their time in the company of other animals, 6% of the time sleeping and 5% of the time playing with their toys. However the one activity that took up most of their day, in fact 21% of the time, was surprisingly staring out the window! Cats just seemed to love observing what was going on outside! Curious by nature, cats were able to lie in the sun and watch the world go by for hours.

Following on from her research, Dr Villarreal suggests that we make our home stimulating for our feline friends, by providing different toys, such as furry mice, treat-dispensing balls and catnip filled stuffed toys. She suggests hiding small treats around the house, leaving the blinds or curtains open and even leaving the television on during the day.

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