How Do Cats Tell Time: The Secrets of Cats and Time

If you own a cat, you may have noticed that they wake up around the same time every day, even if you sleep in. They may have slept later than usual the night before, but the next morning, they’re up at the same time. So, how do cats tell time?

Cats are an interesting subject. They have lots of different personality traits and behaviors that can be hard to understand, but we love them anyway. One thing about cats is their ability to tell time (which they do with a near-perfect accuracy)

Pidan and Hooli don’t sleep on a regular schedule, but when it’s dinnertime, they’re up and ready, without an alarm clock.

This article will explore how cats use to tell the time so you can better understand your feline friend!

Do cats have a concept of time? 

Yes! Cats do have a concept of time, but how they experience it is actually different from how humans do. Humans tell the time by using the sun and clock. However, cats likely don’t categorize activities by the time they occurred. Instead, they are aware of the rhythm that is typical for a given day–and this includes how different hours of the morning differ from other hours later in the day.

How do cats know what time it is? 

According to Dr. Pete Wedderburn, cats have an internal clock that is very accurate, and they just “know” when things are about to happen. ​They are also good at picking up on other regular indicators of the time, like bird songs and daylight.

We can tell from this that cats are not able to read time literally. However, they gain perception of time from their surroundings and their past experience.

Cats are creatures of habit. They get used to having certain activities occur at the same time each day, such as mealtime or playtime. This means that cats do measure their passing days in some way; they just can’t think about it like we humans can because cat brains work differently. That’s also why when you change your clock and lose an hour on Daylight Saving Time, your kitty doesn’t reset her internal clock accordingly – she’s not able to keep track of how long a minute is for instance!

Can cats tell the difference between day and night?

Yes, most cats can tell the difference between day and night. They’re nocturnal animals, which means they prefer to be awake at night, hunting and looking for prey. Cats also have a keen sense of time and know when it’s day and night, so they know when the owner is away or returning home.


Cats may not have the same concept of time that humans do, but they are good at picking up on regular indicators. They also know when it’s time to start doing things like eating or playing – and because cats get used to having certain activities occur at the same time every day, this means that they measure their passing days in some way!

If you want your cat to be happy and healthy (and well-behaved), then make sure you’re providing them with a schedule for food/water, playtime, grooming needs, litter box duties etc.

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