Since the days have started turning colder and shorter, everything is different at my house. My cats show me constantly how the weather affects cat behavior.
They love outside, but they’re spending more time indoors now. Soda spends his days napping in a basket in a sunny spot on my dresser. Sizzle stretches out full length on my bed, also in a sunny spot. Muffitt cuddles into a pile of pillows on my bed. And Honey Cat has taken up residence in my bathroom, where it’s toasty warm.
They’re eating more, too. And that’s another way the changing weather affects cat behavior.
How The Weather Affects Cats’ Appetites
It’s not your imagination. Cats really do eat more in the winter. Researchers at the University of Liverpool’s School of Veterinary Science studied how much 38 cats ate at different times of the year.
They found that the cats ate the most between October and February. In the summer, the cats ate 15 per cent less than they did in the winter.
In the winter, cats need energy to keep warm. In the summer, they rest so they don’t overheat.
How Colder Weather Affects Cat Behavior
This isn’t exactly cat behavior, but did you know cats who go out shed in both the spring and fall? In the fall, they shed their summer coats to make room for the heavier fur they’ll need during the winter.
Cats who live strictly indoors shed all year, maybe because their bodies don’t know what season it is.
Colder weather affects cat behavior in a few ways. As the days get shorter and colder, many like to spend more time inside. And their favorite places to nap might change to warmer, sunnier locations. Soda never sleeps in that basket in a sunny spot on my dresser in the summer!
The dark, cold days of winter can make cats depressed, too. With no leaves to chase and very few birds to watch, outside can be really boring. And inside, there’s nothing for most cats to do but eat and sleep.
Leaving the TV on will provide some action for them, too. But avoid Animal Planet. It can be very violent and scary. My cats like the shopping channels because the people move around a lot, and the cats think they’re sort of fun to watch.
Cat Behavior In Hot Weather
Hot weather also affects cat behavior. Most cats rest more during the day and are most active at night.
For a cat who’s outside, humid days are the worst. To cool off, humans perspire and dogs pant. But cat’s don’t pant unless they’re in distress. They cool off by licking their fur.
Quoting the Oven Baked Tradition website, “When it’s humid, the air is already packed with water, leaving no room for extra water from the body.” And that explains why cats are miserable and don’t feel like doing anything but lying under a big bush on very humid days.
Rainy Weather Affects Cat Behavior, Too
Did you know your cats can help you forecast the weather? If your indoor cats are afraid of thunder and suddenly disappear under the bed, or if your outdoor cat is pounding on the door begging to come in, you can be pretty sure a storm is coming.
Although no one knows for sure how cats can predict the weather, experts think they sense changes in the barometric pressure, or notice changes in the bioelectric field or shifts in ionization. They also think cats can smell the rain coming from miles away.
Some cats love to play in the rain, but mine head for home the minute they sense a storm coming. And that’s how rainy weather affects my cats’ behavior!
Would you like to know more about how the weather affects cat behavior? Here are some links.