Friendly Claws is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Do Cats Feel Time?

Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Have you ever wondered how do cats feel time? They seem to know when to come to you to ask for breakfast even if you forgot about it that morning, or know when it’s time for cuddling before going to bed in the evening. How do they do it?

It’s a fact that we humans have a sort of internal clock that guides us even when we don’t know the exact time measured by our mechanical clocks, but cats? Do they have a way of telling time? Perhaps their funny tails?

How Do Cats Feel Time

As most animals – which includes us too by the way – cats have a way of knowing time and the big shifts during their everyday life.

But let’s see what research says, as there are some details they’re good and some to which they’re not as good at.


In general, cats are good at feeling the duration of something. For example, when chasing prey, they know how much it usually takes them to catch something, and they won’t waste time on anything that takes more than usual without any positive result.

At the same time, they’re bad at exact measurements of time as the case is with daylight saving times. That throws them off track as long as they don’t have cues to mark those measurements. For example, if you’re a little late with their dinner and they have no cues that point them to know it’s that time, they won’t notice it.


As we mentioned above, cues are what separate different chunks of time in a cat’s world. They can recognize schedules, like the time when we’re coming back home after work, but that is because they have a cue – parking our car in front of the house or keys rattling at the door – which tells them to come and wait for us by the door. Or maybe they see us holding a leash and they know it’s time to go out for a walk.

But if there are schedules that have no particular cues for beginning and ending, their sense of time goes haywire and cannot discern between different chunks of time. But that kind of happens with us as well, right? So no need to be judgmental with our feline friends.


When it comes to waiting for time to pass, cats feel time more or less the same way we do. When they’ve got a lot of things to do – here we mean play – time in their world passes faster, as they seem to get into the same kind of flow that happens to us too at times.

On the other side, when they’re bored, cats seem to go nuts and misbehave because there’s not much to do around. We’re sure you’ve come home earlier one day and found your little friend in the midst of doing something he was not supposed to do. But don’t we do the same?

About The Author

Scroll to Top