Most kitties are creatures of habits very simple to understand as an owner. The sooner you learn your cat’s routine, or establish one for your kitten, the happier both your lives will be.
Reading the Signs
Since I spent half of 2014 at home, Leo and I spent almost all of those 182 days together. Needless to say, he got sick of me super quick. He developed quite the attitude, a short temper, and became aggressive (showing behaviors like destructive scratching, increased frequency of yowling, breaking blinds, and generally being stand-offish) when we were home alone. This was very out of character for him, as he’s normally overly cuddly with me, and I knew something had to be wrong.
I headed out for my first follow-up appointment in July, and was at the hospital for about four hours. I came home to find Leo curled up in “nautilus mode” on the sofa. I hadn’t found him napping at that time in June. That’s when it clicked for me, that I’d disturbed his everyday routine. He was so put-off about it, he was exhausted when I finally did leave.
Learning Leo’s Routine
Leo’s always loved getting attention from me. I assumed if I was home all the time, he’d want my love all the time. After I realized I’d ruined his routine,m I left him alone as much as possible, allowing him to tell me when he wanted attention. Sure enough, he began going about his day as he would if I wasn’t around; he’d sit at my feet when he wanted held or pet.
All at once he began guiding me through his day. He’d wander off and do his thing coming around with a ball in his mouth for play time, sitting by his cabinet in the kitchen when he was hungry, and sitting at my feet for love. Here’s what I discovered after watching him:
11:30A: snack, followed by play
4P: VERY small snack, followed by nap
5P: greet Trevor, play
6P: nap7P: food
9:30P: first bed time. if we don’t go to bed then, see below.
11P: second bed time.
*If Trevor and I stay up past 12:30A, Leo will beg to play and for food.
**Leo sleeps when we sleep, but wakes throughout the night to run around.
Sticking with It
Like most people, Leo is very happy following his routine. Also like most people, he get’s cranky when he doesn’t get to follow it.
If for some reason his routine is disrupted, I’ve found play to be the best way to reset him. 30-45 minutes of very good play wears him out enough to trigger a nap, regardless of the time of day. He’s much more pleasant following a nap, and resumes his routine as normal.
Some cats aren’t as attached to a routine as Leo is, but adding some sort of structure to their day will more than likely keep them in a happy place.