What Do Cats Do All Day? Unlocking the Mystery of Feline Behavior

As a cat owner, you may wonder what your furry friend does all day when you’re not around. Cats have a reputation for being independent creatures that can entertain themselves. However, they also have complex and fascinating behavior patterns that may be hard to understand. In this article, we’ll explore the typical behaviors of domestic cats and what they might be doing when you’re away.

The Natural Habitat of Cats

Cats are carnivorous animals that are native to deserts and grasslands. They are natural hunters that use stealth and speed to catch their prey. Domesticated cats have adapted to living in human homes and are often kept indoors. However, they still retain many of their natural behaviors, such as stalking, pouncing, and scratching.

The Hunting Instinct

Even well-fed cats enjoy hunting, and most will hunt given the opportunity. When they are not napping, many cats will spend their time stalking prey, such as insects, birds, or rodents. This behavior is especially common among cats that have access to outdoor space. However, indoor cats may still hunt if they have toys or interact with their humans in a playful manner.

Scratching and Clawing

Cats have a natural urge to scratch to maintain healthy claws and to mark their territory. This behavior can be destructive to furniture and carpets. To prevent this, cat owners are advised to provide their pets with scratching posts and to trim their claws regularly. Cats also use their claws to stretch and flex their muscles; it is an essential part of their routine.

Sleeping Habits of Cats

Cats are famous for sleeping almost all day. According to behaviorists, cats typically sleep for 12-16 hours a day, with some sleeping up to 20 hours a day. They also tend to be more active at night than during the day. This can be because they are crepuscular animals, meaning that they are naturally active at dawn and dusk.

The Importance of Nap Time

Cats need plenty of sleep to maintain their health and well-being. During sleep time, they regenerate their energy levels, build and maintain muscle tone, and process information from the day. Cats may sleep in various positions, including curled up, stretched out or belly up. The position they sleep in can indicate their comfort level and whether or not they feel safe in their environment.

The Night-Time Routine

Many cats are more active at night than during the day. This is because they have evolved to hunt around dawn and dusk. The nighttime activity may include playing, exploring, or vocalizing. Some cats may also become more attention seeking in the evening as they demand interaction from their humans.

Social Behavior of Cats

Cats are social animals that live in groups in the wild. However, domesticated cats may show varied levels of sociability. Some cats are friendly and outgoing, while others are shy and reclusive.

Cat Communication

Cats communicate with each other using body posture, vocalizations, and scent marking. They may also communicate through facial expressions, such as blinking or staring. As pet owners, we can learn to decode the various subtle messages our cats are sending us, including their emotional state and their communication of boundaries.

Playtime with Humans

Cats enjoy interacting with their humans, and playtime is an essential part of this interaction. Playing can help a cat to release pent-up energy and stress. It can also help them to maintain their hunting skills and stay mentally stimulated. Various toys and games can be used to engage and entertain cats, such as laser pointers or feather wands.


Cats are fascinating creatures that have unique and complex behavior patterns. They are natural hunters and sleep enthusiasts that communicate through body language and vocalizations. While they may adjust to living in human homes and adapt to changes in their environment, they still maintain many of their wild instincts.


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  • Hall SL, Mills DSW. What is the function of purring in domestic cats (Felis catus)? Behavioural Processes. 2019;157:82-89. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2018.10.007
  • Turner DC, Bateson P. The domestic cat: the biology of its behavior. Cambridge University Press, 2000.


  • Q: Why do cats sleep so much?
  • A: Cats sleep to conserve energy and regenerate their muscles. They are also crepuscular animals, meaning that they are naturally active around dawn and dusk.
  • Q: Why do cats scratch?
  • A: Cats scratch for various reasons, such as to maintain healthy claws, mark their territory, or stretch and flex their muscles.
  • Q: Do cats need to hunt?
  • A: While domestic cats may not rely on hunting for their survival, many enjoy hunting and will do so if given the opportunity.

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