Cats and the Solar Eclipse

Here’s an article about cats and the upcoming solar eclipse from our resident feline expert (who is a feline) – Issac Newton.

Newton’s Purrspective – The Great American Solar Eclipse

In ancient times a solar eclipse was a frightening event often attributed to powerful animals. Ancient Chinese believed a dragon was swallowing the Sun. Medieval Vikings blamed wolves wandering in the sky for the loss of light. Potential consequences of an eclipse were always tragic: plague, blindness, and political upheaval, to name but a few. Change in the established order has always been feared.

On August 21st the United States will experience its first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Naturally, this rare event has generated a lot of excitement, though not of the ancient variety. People plan to travel to areas where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the path of totality, where the sun will be totally blocked by the moon) and are purchasing special glasses to protect their eyes while observing.

Isaac Newton

But what about animals? Should cats be wearing protective goggles? Will the eclipse alter their behavior? Will they be frightened? All of these are valid concerns so let’s look at what is going to happen on the 21st.

The total eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the US. (Adjacent areas will witness a partial eclipse which can still be dramatic.) It will last less than 3 minutes, but the skies will darken for approximately 90 minutes. Wildlife may be confused by the “short day”. For example, birds could start roosting, a natural behavior at dusk or when a storm is approaching.

The total eclipse will first be visible in Oregon near 10:15 am local time. It will end in South Carolina around 2:50 pm local time.

Despite centuries of living with humans cats have not lost the sleep patterns that are essential to survival. They sleep many hours to conserve energy and are most active at dawn and dusk when their natural prey is foraging for food. They also sleep lightly and wake up frequently (the origin of the term “cat nap”).

The middle of the day is prime naptime for cats. They may miss those rays of sun on the floor but it’s not likely to be cause for alarm. The biggest potential stressor is for outdoor cats disturbed by crowds of people and their dogs jostling for the best viewpoint.

Cats do pick up on the moods of their people. So if there is a lot of excitement and activity at your house during the eclipse Kitty might choose to hide. Cat Faeries mood music and flower essences can be helpful, not just during the eclipse, but in any stressful situation.

NOTE: Protective glasses for cats are not needed. Cats love to sleep in the sunlight, but they have no incentive to look directly at the Sun. In fact, when outside cats are focused on the environment around and below them — they rarely look up. Cats may be known for their curiosity, but I know I won’t be wondering where the Sun went. I’ll be napping!


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