It’s All a Big Lie

I keep hearing people talk about how cats are nocturnal animals, but the three cats I have known best- Mr. Purr Puff, the family cat, Tunch, and then Steve, and other than a few episodes when someone gets the zooms, I have never witnessed any nocturnal behavior other than this:


I guess if WEIGHING DOWN MY FURNITURE counts as nocturnal activity, I will reassess.

37 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Mary says:

    So how does Steve fill his hours until 5 AM when he comes to bed and oppresses you with his snoring and his paws andimsodamnjealous?

  2. 2
    Comrade Mary says:

    You said HERE that he carouses at night, and now you say he naps! Make up your mind, damn it!

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    I remember getting caught at a friend’s house overnight, and his cats rocketed around the living room after everyone else had gone to bed.

    But they stand out for that. My only and long gone cat slept well, the better to be up too early for breakfast.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    he’s blogging

    puts up a lot of music links

  5. 5
    jl says:

    @Elizabelle: ANOTHER blog ethics scandal? I thought we were done with those.

    But, makes no difference. From my observations, starting in early childhood, pets consider weighing down the furniture a vital and exhausting activity.

    Except for dachshunds, who consider running around sticking their nose into everything and checking it twice (and then looking at you funny if they disapprove of things) is also a vital and exhausting activity. Which then leads to them weighing down the furniture.

  6. 6
    max says:

    Cat chasing the milk ring around the kitchen, and or patrolling the tables, other cat sitting in the kitchen watching the birds.

    [‘I find them sleeping during the day all the time though. But they’re indoors. Boring.’]

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Night is when my cat does all the things that the hairless apes yell at her for doing during the day, like lounging on the dining table and checking out all the appliances on the kitchen counters.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    Like everyone else said, they wait for you to fall asleep and then run off to do their nocturnal things. That’s why they get grumpy if you go to bed too late — you’re throwing them off their schedule!

    We can’t sleep in too late, not because of breakfast, but because for some reason Charlotte needs one of us to be nearby when she has her first pee of the morning. This morning, she stood at the end of the bed and yowled until G got up because, damn it, she had to pee, and she couldn’t do it all alone!

  9. 9
    Bob In Portland says:

    But what about that Danish giraffe?

  10. 10
    Beth in OR says:

    Catzooms at night sound dangerous for living/dining-rooms! I once lived with a midnight piano player. Scared the crap out of me the first time he did it!

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    That breaks my heart. Why could that young giraffe not have gone to a safari park that had giraffes? Understand they did not want to breed him, but life is life.

    Or neuter him. It’s not like he’d prefer to be lion food.

  12. 12
    KRK says:

    It’s my understanding that housecats are crepuscular rather than truly nocturnal. Awesome word.

  13. 13
    Mayken says:

    @Bob In Portland: seriously! It was clear the zoo just wanted to kill him for some reason because two different places in Europe offers to take him!

  14. 14
    Mayken says:

    @Bob In Portland: seriously! It was clear the zoo just wanted to kill him for some reason because two different places in Europe offers to take him!

  15. 15
    RandomMonster says:

    Cats can definitely adjust to human sleep/wake patterns. We have 3 cats these days, and all three come in in the evening and sleep around us through the whole night. They like to get up early to go outside, which is what they apparently think my primary role is in the household.

  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:


    I wonder if that zoo might be under new management soon. If we’re hearing about this in the US, cannot imagine Danes are thinking it’s their finest moment.

  17. 17
    Bonnie says:

    My cats rocket around only after they poop. When they were younger, the wildness lasted about 20 minutes. Now that they are 12, it’s about 2 minutes.

  18. 18
    JaneE says:

    Cats are supposed to be crepuscular – most active in the dim light of dawn and dusk. I can personally vouch for the just before dawn part. I need to turn on the lights to find the cat food so I can feed them and go back to sleep.

  19. 19
    Mayken says:

    @Elizabelle: one certainly hopes so. It was just so beyond the pale.

  20. 20
    Mudge says:

    @Elizabelle: Who has experience neutering giraffes? Two zoos offered to take him, were they willing to pay the shipping? I have never heard of such a thing and I do hope he was not named Yorick…

  21. 21

    @KRK: “crepuscular;” it’s so Lovecraftian.

  22. 22
    joel hanes says:


    cats are crepuscular

    Exactly. Our outdoor cats are free to come and go, and they hunt the before-sunrise and the after-sunset halflight, with a feed/groom/cuddle/sleep cycle after each hunt.

  23. 23
    sm*t cl*de says:

    It’s my understanding that housecats are crepuscular

    However, a diet of crepuscules does not provide a full complement of nutrients and you still need to feed them.

  24. 24
    billgerat says:

    My two cats sleep all day and all night. No zooming around, period, except when I give them a catnip toy. Then they zoom about for a bit, then it’s back to sleep. I think they sleep more than the dogs do.

  25. 25
    Montarvillois says:

    My neutered cat is nocturnal, no doubt about it. Age, he’s about 10, and this season’s very cold weather seems to have had the affect of slowing down his penchant for evening hijinks but as nights get warmer, he’ll be out spying on the skunks and raccoons.

  26. 26
    PurpleGirl says:

    Rowdy, when in an outdoor phase, was most active around sunrise and slept at several points during the day. If he was staying indoors, he just slept more often. But Rowdy was one of those aloof cats who destained lap sitting and hanging around humans. I think he spent most of his time in basement.

    If you watch the kitten cams, you’ll see random sleeping from the momcats or other adults who may be in foster care. Babies, of course, sleep almost the whole day and you wait for them to get to 3/4 weeks old when they start walking and stuff. At that point they become random sleepers and you never know when they’ll be awake.

  27. 27
    Gig says:

    I imagine any hunter species can adjust somewhat. my cats have hunted at night. for a house cat this has included hunting large roaches at night on wood floors which makes for loud thumps and a lot of skittering (from cat claw on varnished wood). My parents were dismayed she just left them flipped over helpless and not finished off. she really did think they were toys and had undeveloped killer instincts due to being always a housecat.
    they can definitely see better than we in the dark. supposedly they need to sleep more than we do to conserve energy. About 20 hours a day I’ve read. they never seem to be in the same place they were when I went to sleep too.

  28. 28
    Nicole says:

    Regarding the giraffe, it’s my understanding the zoo is a member of the European version of the AZA- American Zoo and Aquarium Association (I don’t remember the acronym for the European version), and so they aren’t permitted to send animals to anything other than an accredited facility- in fact, if it’s anything like the AZA, they can’t move animals anywhere, including another accredited facility, without the organization giving them the okay. Fewer than a tenth of zoos here are accredited, so it’s probably not something a zoo wants to give up.

    But I’m skeptical about their story that they couldn’t put him on birth control due to unpleasant side effects. It’s the females that would have been put on birth control and I know the Central Park Zoo’s late lamented polar bear Gus (RIP) was given a vasectomy when he was young, to insure he could still mate, even if he’d be shooting blanks. Mammals aren’t all that different from one other so I don’t know why that wasn’t an option (I’m assuming here that they weren’t permitted to neuter him). Or if it wasn’t allowed, why they didn’t say that rather than talking about unpleasant side effects of birth control.

    But as to the chopping him up in front of the public- yeah, no words. I really fail to see what the educational purpose was, as I think they basically just cut him up into hunks for the lions.

  29. 29
    Keith G says:

    Just think of all the money the zoo lost by not raffling his execution off to a rich American “hunter”.

  30. 30
    Betsy says:

    I always wondered why my kitties didn’t work at night, and then I learned (as others have mentioned above) that they are crepuscular, not nocturnal.

    It makes a lot of sense when you consider how well adapted they seem to be to humans who work — gone all day, home in the morning and evening, and sleeping at night.

    Works pretty well except when the cats want their breakfast at five a.m.

  31. 31
    Rarely Posts says:

    This picture is the first one that effectively conveyed Steve’s size to me. He is huge!!

    I wish Lily could meet my little dog – seeing the two of them on a couch together would be heaven.

  32. 32
    kc says:

    Geez, he looks bigger than Lily!

  33. 33
    JustPeachyAndYou says:

    Cats are nocturnal if the household entertainment (humans doing stupid human tricks) is nocturnal; otherwise, they hog the warm spot on the bed (where you USED to be), and occasionally wake in the middle of the night and demand to be petted by sticking cold, wet noses and sharp claws in tender bits of your skin, or get into squabbles with one another, for which your legs and pincushion-like butt are the battlefield.

  34. 34
    kmeyerthelurker says:

    Betsy you beat me to it. Cats are twilight animals. It explains why they have no problem sleeping 15-20 hours a day, and also why they tend to be so hyper when people who work normal hours are leaving for work/coming home from work.

  35. 35
    blondie says:

    @JustPeachyAndYou: You got this right. We inherited a very old cat. She’s so old that she’s skinny again, but it’s amazing how hard a featherweight cat can stomp, stomp, stomp on you when she decides to “visit” you while you’re in bed at night. And that’s before she decides to start kneading you (not declawed). I’ve never had an indoor cat before, and, the first time she woke me up by breathing on me with her nose about 1 mm away from mine, she startled the bwah out of me.
    Cats have antics.

  36. 36
    steverino says:

    I had two indoor/outdoor cats in an apartment in Florida. I had installed a cat flap to give them unfettered access, but at night slid an ottoman in front of it to prevent unwanted guests.

    When they got big enough, they would get up early and shove the ottoman out of the way to spend a few hours outside before I got up. Once they brought a live bird back into the bedroom to play.

    And I never had to clean the litter box!

  37. 37
    Ted and Hellen says:

    I wonder what kind of furniture your sister’s pit bull who tore Tunch to shreds lounges around on?

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