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Journal Articles Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research Year : 2022

Seasonal effects on locomotor and feeding rhythms in indoor cats


Different synchronizers can modify daily rhythms during an annual cycle. Nevertheless, the fluctuation of these external factors is often ignored in studies on cat locomotor activity and feeding rhythms, thereby focusing on one single season. To fill this gap, the activity and feeding rhythms of six cats living in a research cattery, receiving natural daylight, were monitored during 3 weeks for each season. Although under minimal influence of seasonal fluctuations in ambient temperature and humidity, the cats showed maxima in daily covered distance during spring and autumn, and minima during winter. The activity and feeding rhythms followed 24-hour periodicity during all seasons and bimodality was detected, with decreased covered distance and food intake around midnight and midday. These daily rhythm troughs were robust and stable across seasons, whereas the inter-seasonal differences in activity level resided in the timing of daily peaks. However, the daily eating pattern was less affected by seasonal variations. Human interactions systematically enhanced locomotor activity and food consumption at the same time for each season, whereas spontaneous peaks of feeding and activity rose during the twilight times according to the season, confirming the crepuscular nature of the species. Human presence and attention seem responsible for more diurnal patterns in the studied cats. This study demonstrates that natural seasonal daylight fluctuations modulate the locomotor and feeding rhythms of indoor cats.
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hal-03547540 , version 1 (07-11-2022)



Marine Parker, Etienne Challet, Bertrand Deputte, Brunilde Ract-Madoux, Marie Faustin, et al.. Seasonal effects on locomotor and feeding rhythms in indoor cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 2022, 48, pp.56-67. ⟨10.1016/j.jveb.2021.05.005⟩. ⟨hal-03547540⟩
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