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What do cats do all day?


A recent experiment, which involved putting cat cams on 50 cats, found that indoor cats spend 22 percent of their time looking out windows and only 6 percent of their time sleeping.

That’s consistent with what my cat, Lily, does during the day if the weather is rainy and she wants to stay in. However, though she has a favorite window (my bed upstairs, where she can either sleep or look out the window), she moves from window to window, all around the house. I call this “patrolling.”

During the summer when the foliage is high, I rarely see her when she’s outside, and it’s not at all clear what she does. But, during the winter, I can see into the woods, and there are fewer hiding places, so I can watch from the windows and often see where she is and what she’s doing. Guess what. She patrols. Roughly, she makes big loops around the house, moving from point of interest to point of interest. Favorite places include the woodpiles (where she finds mice), the rock pile (where she also finds mice), the stream below the house (where I am pretty sure she fishes), and the woods (where she often climbs trees, just for fun).

I believe she seldom goes more than 100 yards from the house in any direction. She sometimes digs (for voles?) because she sometimes smells like fresh soil and moss when she comes indoors. All these are hunting behaviors, I think. Lily is a lucky cat, because she has a safe place for what cats instinctively do: solitary hunting. I have seen her with mice many times, but fortunately I’ve never seen her with a bird, though she has climbed on top of the bluebird houses a few times.





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