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26 January 2007 @ 10:13 am
cats and midnight meowing  
Zilli has this habit of, shortly after we go to bed, going into the bathroom where the kitty litter is and scraping around in there for quite a while, and then frequently coming out and running around the house meowing his fool head off as loudly as he can. Doesn't seem to matter what time we go to bed. If we go to bed at the same time he does it after we're both in bed; if we go to bed separately he does it after the second person has gone to bed.

I think I figured out why.

Most nights, we throw the animals out of the second bedroom/computer room on our way to bed. (Some nights we don't because they're not there, but that's fairly unusual.) In order to do this, we usually have to wake the cats up.

So what's happening is Zilli is being awakened abruptly in the middle of the night. He staggers around for a couple of minutes trying to wake up, then realizes he's got to go to the bathroom. By this time we're in bed, so we get to listen to him scrape around in the kitty litter. Thus relieved, he's all awake and cheerful, and goes forth to see what's going on. Only it's the middle of the night and the humans have gone to bed, so there's *nothing* going on, and so he runs around the entire house saying, "HEY! Where ARE you guys? HEY! I'm AWAKE! HEY! Let's PLAY! HEY! Listen up! HEY! Come out and play! HEY!"

I am *convinced* that's what's going on. :)
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Genistagenitiggie on January 26th, 2007 10:30 am (UTC)
Our cats are also inclined to r-r-r-r-rampage in the evening, especially Libby. They go tearing around with their tails inflated making extraordinary growling noises and sounding like a million cats in army boots. However, contrary to your fine theory, we don't pitch our cats out of anywhere (although they do generally switch rooms when we do). Also, they will still rampage if only one of us has gone to bed. On the other hand, I do agree with you in part: I think it has something to do with "Hey! Nocturnal here! Bored! PLAY!"
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 26th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
sounding like a million cats in army boots.

I have this theory. OK, maybe only a hypothesis, since nothing is falsifiable when cats are around.

It's called the Feline Conservation of Weight Principle, and it goes like this:

Cats are averagely proportioned small animals, with a weight according to the physical principles of size, density and local gravitational field. However, they are exceptional hunters, extremely light on their feet when stalking, and so on.

It is obvious to an observer that a cat weighs less when stalking. We know this is not due to the gravitational field changing, since the prey don't suddenly also develop strange lightness, so it must be that the cat now has less mass. This is obviously contrary to the normal laws of physics, particularly the law of conservation of mass. Except that the conservation laws are actually slightly bendable - for instance, a subatomic particle may come into existence from nowhere for a suitably brief period - and this is one of the cases. So long as the average weight of the cat is constant over the longer period, it can vary up and down. When stalking, some of its weight is 'postponed' to the future.

The 'cats in army boots' phenomenon is merely the time that the extra weight comes into effect to rebalance the average.
kit: lucymizkit on January 26th, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
...this is so terribly obvious now that you've explained it I cannot understand how I've gone my entire life without having deduced it on my own.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 26th, 2007 12:18 pm (UTC)
*laugh*

We first formulated the rough idea about a decade ago, when our Abby kittens apparently morphed into elephants at night. I'd never actually worked it through before, let alone written it down.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 26th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
A friend has now pointed out:
Cats obviously have selective control of this phenomenon to some extent - witness that any cat who doesn't want to be picked up is always heavier than the same cat who doesn't mind or would like to be carried.