Harvard cat owners are noticing alarming signs of sleep deprivation in their pets ever since daylight saving time went into effect in mid-March. “For a cat, the loss of one hour’s sleep is really traumatic, even if it happens just once a year,” said feline psychologist Purrl Pettus.
In a typical day, most cats nap off and on for 22 hours, which means the hour they lose every March has to cut into their naptime or into time usually spent eating, clawing furniture, spitting up hairballs, or pushing pens under the refrigerator. All of these activities are essential to a well-rounded feline existence, Pettus says.
But the good news is that cats can quickly recover their lost sense of equilibrium. With the coming of spring, there are more patches of sunlight available for napping, and the most comfortable sofa cushions are more often accessible for a snooze as humans spend more time outdoors. “Cats really start to perk up then,” Pettus observes. “But they probably won’t return to normal until Nov. 7, when they get that hour back.”