Routines and Pets

Mar 15, 2014

Has anybody else noticed what time it is?
Credit Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

Your four-footed friend may not be able to tell time, but don't think they haven't figured out your daily routine.


Many of us experience stress in our lives, whether it’s related to our work or school or family or other issues. Our pets can also experience stress.

One thing that can upset our animal companions is a change in routine. Pets like routines. They know what to expect and can even anticipate.

For example, one of our cats likes to walk outside with us in the morning when we go to get the newspaper. As soon as we get up, he’s ready and eager to go. He knows that’s what we do every day and he looks forward to the early morning outing. That same cat greets us at the door when we come home in the evening. I know it sound like a dog – he’s a very unusual cat.

Another cat is on a special diet and gets fed a prescription canned food every morning. Before anything else, she wants to be fed as soon as we wake up. That’s her routine.

Routines are reassuring for pets. They like order in their world. They become accustomed to being fed at certain times, being groomed, receiving medicine, play time, even sleeping on a set schedule. When something interferes with their routine, it may take them a little while to adjust.

We humans are not so different. I’m still trying to adjust to the change to daylight savings time. It’s nice to have some extra daylight in the evening, but not so easy to get up while it’s still dark outside.

Daylight savings time also has an effect on our pets, because a change in our routine affects their routine. We don’t want to walk down to get the paper in the dark, so we wait a little longer and our cat is impatient. We get home earlier and sometimes surprise our cat that likes to greet us. His body clock tricked him into thinking it would be a while before we came back. You wouldn’t think a one-hour change would matter to an animal, but because it changes our routine, it ends up changing theirs.

Whether it’s daylight savings time, or a vacation trip, or something else that requires a change in your schedule, remember that may have an impact on your furry friend. A little extra attention and affection might be just the thing to ease the stress – for both of you – when you’re speaking of pets.