No one told the cat about Daylight Savings Time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My cat is still on Daylight Saving Time. I know this because he expects someone up and feeding him at 5 a.m., which until Sunday was 6 a.m. We non-fur-covered creatures understand that the timed changed and it is not yet the hour to be awake scooping cat food out of a can.

It is interesting how this time changing works. One minute it is 2 a.m. and then with the act of moving the hand on a clock, it’s 1 a.m. And, we say we gained an hour to sleep, a benefit lost on my cat that sleeps whenever he wants for as long as he wants no matter what the clock says.

Anyway, back to this time changing idea. Does time change or is it our perception that it changes? Of course, the daylight hours do get shorter this time of year, but that happens no matter where the clock is set. If it is 3 p.m. and the clock says noon, it’s still 3 p.m. sun time.

We watched a documentary the other night about a family that decided to spend a year making as little impact as possible on the planet, kind of an extreme case of “going green.” One of the first things to go was the television and then even electricity left their lives.

The wife said she discovered that without a TV to watch and air conditioning to keep them cool, they spent more time outside enjoying instead of indoors sitting. To her surprise, without a television to hold their attention and with a world to explore outside their apartment, time shifted and the days seemed, in her words, “endless.”

I guess that must be how days seem to my cat who has no interest in television or what a clock tells him. Seconds, minutes, hours, days and years don’t measure his life. He lives on cat time, which revolves around eating, chasing squirrels, napping, eating again, playing, more napping, being petted, napping … Just in general exploring his own wide world.

He, like all of nature, lives in the moment, following the signals of the seasons, feeling the changes in the world around him. I, on the other hand, live in memory and expectation far more than in the now of this moment. Thoughts about what happened yesterday and about what tomorrow might bring keep me so occupied that I often lose touch with what is happening right now. Unless what is happening right now is my cat slapping me with his paw because he wants food.

Maybe my pet, along with the whole natural world outside this window where I sit writing, has something to teach me about living more fully without so much attention focused on baggage from the past or concerns about the future. I wish there was a way to set my clock to stay on “present” time all the time.

Oh but I wander from my subject, which is my cat and his lack of understanding Daylight Saving Time. I know he will get himself back on human time, mostly because his humans are not getting up at 5 a.m. to feed him no matter how loud he cries or how much he tries to knock things off the beside table to wake us up.

Just like humans when the clock rolls back or springs forward, it might take a week or so for him to adjust, but I know a change in cat time is coming.