Make daylight savings time less stressful for pets, (c) 2009-2016 Frania Shelley-Grielen all rights reserved
In New York City a Sunday in the fall or spring is usually
the beginning or end of daylight savings time. This mechanism for bringing more light to farmers and children waiting at rural bus stops leaves us city dwellers off to work and back in the dark. Daylight savings time means scheduled activities are set back one full hour in autumn or forward one full hour in spring, including the set times we may feed our pets.
This change may be upsetting to companion animals that are aware only of a sudden shift in feedingtimes. The disruption in schedule may no doubt stress your animals
and some pets, most notably some cats, will actively “petition” for meals at their “normal” hour.
Cats and dogs are crepuscular animals, which means they are naturally most active during twilight or dawn and dusk compared to humans who are diurnal, meaning most active during daylight hours. Domesticated animals being dependent upon us for food become accustomed to our diurnal routines. We feed according to our own patterns of when breakfast and dinner should be. Dogs being famously more obliging usually appear less put off by timing changes. While the change may be vexing for them the accommodation for their humans is usually more apparent. Why felines are more affected by waiting for a meal may be due to a number of factors. During the history of our domestication of the cat we have depended on this animal to partly procure its own food whether for utility, nourishment or for its own sport. Cats hunt
for mice to alleviate a rodent “problem”, for a meal or for the fun of it. Cats are focused predators with superior hunting skills.
Focus and anticipation carry over to meal time expectations. When observing stereotypic behavior in captive tigers (an indicator of poor welfare) pacing prior to meal times is not classified as being stereotypic rather
as “anticipatory.” This behavior is also apparent in the intertwining anticipatory dance your own cat may do while you open food cans or fill kibble bowls.
Now if you are leaving dry food down for your cat at all times your cat and yourself can be blissfully oblivious to the whole spring forward fall back routine. For the rest of us it will soon become apparent that your cat just did not get the memo about daylight savings time. Depending on whatever hour kitty expects breakfast expect a reminder at the pre-daylight savings time hour, you know the reminders: the pat on the cheek, the plaintive cry, the books toppling off the bookshelf.
Ease yourself and your pets into this new routine by adjusting feeding times gradually. For instance if dinner is usually served at 6PM start serving at 5:15PM for two days followed by two days at 5:30PM then serve two days at 5:45PM and finally at 6PM. A breakfast feeding at 7AM can be adjusted by serving two days at 6:15AM then two days at 6:30AM followed by two days at 6:45AM until you are serving at 7 AM.
A little flexibility for your pets in scheduling mealtimes during this transition will make the change less nerve-racking for your pets and less demanding for you.
(c) 2009-2016 Frania Shelley-Grielen all rights reserved
"This change may be upsetting to companion animals that are aware only of a sudden shift in feeding times. The disruption in schedule may no doubt stress your animals and some pets, most notably some cats, will actively “petition” for meals at their “normal” hour. "copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
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