November 2010 Issue

Your Cat’s Purrfect Sense of Time?

He can be more reliable than an alarm clock. Hereís why.

You have to get up at 6:00 a.m. during the week. But you donít even have to set your alarm, because your cat comes in and licks your fingers or jumps up and purrs on your chest just before you wake up. How do cats do it? Do they really sense what hour it is, or is it something else? Alas, this is one of the many enduring mysteries about cats, says Larry Myers, DVM, PhD, of the Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama. "Some of what appears to be cats telling time is entrainment. Itís routine reinforced. Cats very quickly become aware of when human family members wake up, eat, go out and come home," says Dr. Myers, whose 18-year-old female cat wakes him at 6:00 a.m. daily for breakfast.

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