Thursday 15 February 2024

Routine is important for both kids and cats

There is a similarity between kids and cats in one aspect of their desired lifestyle: routine. Cats love the reassurance of routine. They can sleep better. They have less anxiety. They enjoy life more. Life becomes more predictable. This is important because the wildcat is just below the surface of the domestic cat and they live in the human world. They are out of place in many ways despite almost 10,000 years of domestication.

And so routine is important to cats. I don't know of a study to support this but it is probably fair to say that cats who live a life of routines and rhythms live longer in general than those who live a disjointed and fragmented lifestyle with uncertainties.

Today, in The Times, there is a report on research carried out at Colorado State University in which they enrolled 94 children aged between five and nine from a wide range of economic backgrounds. They concluded that routine was "key to a healthy, wealthy and wise child". The underlying reason for this huge benefit was that they slept better.

The lead author of the study, Emily Merz, said: "Shorter sleep duration was significantly associated with reduced cortical thickness in frontal, temporal and parietal regions and smaller volume of the amygdala (a brain region key to emotion processing)."

I'm not saying that when cats have a life of routines and rhythms that they necessarily sleep better but they probably do because they will be less anxious. Because of the reassurances that routine and rhythms bring them, they are better able to sleep soundly.

I see a great similarity between kids and cats and interestingly we keep our cats as 'feline kids' because we look after them all the time and so emotionally and mentally they behave like kittens despite being adults. This is another similarity to the results of this study.

Children need dependable schedules as cats do. The best cat caregivers live a life of routines and rhythms themselves and their domestic cat companion fits in with them. Both parties are content with this lifestyle and relationship.

The routines of the children included whether they did the same thing each morning when they woke and whether their parents had a regular playtime after coming home from work. And further whether the parents read or told stories to their children regularly and whether the children went to bed at the same time and so on and so forth.

Routine is good particularly for the more vulnerable of us and the more timid or anxious of us. I would argue that domestic cats are inherently going to be a little anxious because, as mentioned, they live in the human world, a land of giants and of human activities which are essentially alien to them. I believe that cat caregivers need to be aware of this and do all they can to reassure their cat companions.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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