Do Cats Change Their Routine?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Have you noticed your cat’s routine changing? Maybe they’re sleeping more, or using the litter box less. Here’s what you should know about why cats change their routine and how to help them adjust.

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Cats are creatures of habit. They like to know what to expect and when to expect it. This preference for predictability extends to their daily routine. A 2001 study published in “Applied Animal Behaviour Science” found that most cats prefer a routine and resist change. However, that’s not to say that all felines are averse to some variety in their day-to-day lives.

The Science of Why Cats Routine

Cats are creatures of habit. They like predictability and routine and they do best when their lives follow a regular pattern. But that doesn’t mean that cats never change their routine. There are times when even the most set-in-their-ways cat will need to or want to change things up.

There are a few different reasons why your cat might change their routine. Maybe they’re bored with their current routine or maybe something in their environment has changed and they need to adjust. Changes in routine can also be caused by changes in your cat’s health or by changes in your own schedule.

If you notice your cat changing their routine, it’s important to try to figure out why. Start by looking for changes in their environment that might be causing the problem. Has there been a recent move? A new pet in the house? A change in your work schedule? Once you’ve eliminated external factors, take a look at your cat’s health. Have they been to the vet recently? Do they seem sick or injured? If you can’t figure out why your cat is changing their routine, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. They may be able to offer some insight or suggest some changes that can help get your cat back on track.

How to Change Your Cat’s Routine

Dogs aren’t the only ones that benefit from a routine. Cats like routines too! It helps them feel comfortable and safe. But sometimes you may need to change your cat’s routine. Perhaps you’re going on vacation and need to leave your cat with a sitter. Or maybe you’re moving to a new home.

Here are some tips for changing your cat’s routine:

-Gradually introduce changes. If you’re going on vacation, start by leaving your cat with a sitter for a few hours at a time. Then gradually increase the amount of time until your cat is comfortable being left for the entire trip.
-Make sure there is still plenty of predictability in the new routine. For example, if you’re moving, try to keep mealtimes and playtimes the same as they were in your old home.
-Provide plenty of comfort and security. Cats like to have their own space where they feel safe. When introducing changes to the routine, make sure your cat has a place to retreat to when feeling overwhelmed.

The Benefits of a Changed Routine

When it comes to domestic cats, routine is important. A set feeding schedule, regular playtime, and knowing when it’s time for bed all help a cat feel secure in its home. But that doesn’t mean that a little change now and then can’t be beneficial for your feline friend. In fact, mixing things up every once in awhile can help your cat stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

A study published in 2008 in the Animal Behavior journal found that cats kept in environments with little opportunity for stimulation (no toys, no windows to watch the birds outside, etc.) were more likely to show signs of stress than those given more stimulating surroundings. And we all know how destructive stress can be — not just for our mental health, but our physical health as well.

So if you’ve been noticing your cat seems a bit “off” lately, or if Fido always seems happy to see you but kitty just stares blankly when you walk in the door, try shaking up their routine a bit. Here are some ideas:

-Change up mealtimes: If your cat is used to being fed at 6am and 6pm every day, switch it up and feed them at 7am and 7pm instead. Or vice versa!
-Make playtime more interactive: If your cat typically plays alone with her favorite toy, try getting in on the fun and playing together. Use a toy on a string or a wand toy to get her running and leaping — she’ll love it!
-Alter their napping spots: If your cat always sleeps in the same spot, try moving their bed to a different part of the house. Or put their scratching post next to where they normally like to nap so they can have a little scratch before dozing off.
-Create new hiding spots: Cats love to hide away in small spaces — it makes them feel safe and secure. So try putting a box or two around the house in different places (underneath a table or behind the couch) and see if kitty likes them!

The Drawbacks of a Changed Routine

While there may not be a “one size fits all” answer to this question, there are some potential drawbacks of a changed routine that you should be aware of. For example, if your cat is used to having a regular sleep schedule, a change in routine can disrupt their sleeping patterns and cause them to become restless or agitated. Additionally, if your cat is used to having regular mealtimes, a change in routine can cause them to become hungry at unpredictable times or miss meals altogether. Finally, if your cat is used to having regular access to the outdoors, a change in routine can limit their opportunities for exercise and play, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

How to Make the Transition Easier for Your Cat

Whether you’re moving to a new home or just changing your cat’s routine, there are some things you can do to make the transition easier for your feline friend.

Cats are creatures of habit and like having a set routine. If you’re moving to a new home, try to keep your cat’s daily routine as similar as possible. This means keeping mealtimes and playtimes the same, if possible.

If you’re just changing your cat’s routine, such as introducing a new baby or another pet into the household, again, try to keep their daily routine as similar as possible. This will help reduce stress for your cat.

Here are some tips on how to make the transition easier for your cat:

1. Keep mealtimes and playtimes the same: If possible, keep your cat’s mealtimes and playtimes the same when you introduce a new baby or pet into the household. This will help reduce stress for your cat.
2. Create a safe space: When you introduce a new baby or pet into the household, create a safe space for your cat where they can go to escape the commotion if they need to. This could be a bedroom or laundry room that is off-limits to everyone but them.
3. Give them attention: Make sure to give your cat attention and affection throughout the day so they feel loved and secure.


To conclude, cats do not generally change their routine unless there is a significant change in their environment. If you’ve noticed that your cat’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, or bathroom routines have changed, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes. However, if there is no obvious reason for the change in behavior, it’s likely that your cat is just fine and hasn’t changed their routine at all.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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