Do moon phases affect cats? Can some of their odd behaviors be tied to a full moon?
These are interesting questions, and something pet owners and scientists have been looking into for some time – with interesting results as I’ll explain.
The Effect the Moon Has on the Earth
I don’t want to turn this into an astronomy lesson, but there are some interesting effects on the earth from the moon.
For example, did you know that the moon’s gravitational force is what pulls the water in the ocean and causes the waves, as well as dictating the tides?
That’s pretty powerful. So, to think that it doesn’t have any effect, even one we can’t see is something to dwell on for sure.
How Do Cats Act When It’s a Full Moon?
There are a few behaviors that cat owners have been attributing to a full moon for as long as I can remember, the most common things to look out for are:
- Running around more than usual.
- Being more playful than usual.
- Meowing more than normal.
- Puffing up the fur on their tails and backs (as cats do when they feel threatened).
- Hiding or retreating somewhere usual in your home.
Now, I’ve spoken to a lot of cat owners about this, and I know I’ve seen my cats acting up when there is a full moon out, but I’m still on the fence.
I’m a big skeptic by nature, so it takes some concrete evidence to make me believe something. To date, I haven’t really seen enough of a direct link between a full moon and my cats being erratic to totally say it’s the reason.
As for ‘proof’ or evidence that a full moon causes cats, and other pets for that matter to act differently, a study carried out by Colorado State University (source) found that risk of injury was 23% greater during a full moon.
That’s quite a spike in emergency visits to the vets. Just that number alone makes me wonder if there really is something to this.
The study went on to say that there was no evidence of increased aggression or fighting-related injuries. More so that it’s likely due to the effects of a full moon causing cats to hunt more and get into bother that way.
Is Your Cat Meowing During a Full Moon?
One of the most common behavioral effects of a full moon is excessive meowing. Much like the myth of werewolves howling at the moon, or even domestic canines, cats too are known to make more noise than they normally would.
I’ve also done some research into this and read stories on both sides of the fence. Some owners are convinced their dogs and cats will howl, bark, or meow more during a full moon cycle.
While the cynics are convinced it’s purely coincidental. I couldn’t find any scientific evidence to tie the two together, but at the same time, I can’t tell the owners who experience this that they are wrong.
What You Can Do If Your Cat Is Affected by a Full Moon
There isn’t anything you can do to lessen the effects of the full moon as far as I know and from all the information I’ve read on the subject.
I would however advise not letting them out. As I explained above, there is an increase in injury rate when the moon is whole, and you can reduce this number by keeping your kitty inside where you can keep an eye on them.
They may be darting around like crazy and making a load of noise. But that’s a lot better than hunting with a bloodthirst and getting themselves into trouble.
If they are bothering you too much and you really want to let them out then the least you can do is make sure they have a reflective collar and their name and contact number on a tag – just incase.
Black Cats and Full Moons – Superstition or Real?
There have always been superstitions around black cats. Such as not letting one cross your path as it means you’ve got some bad luck coming your way. Or, if a black cat is following you it means something bad is going to happen.
I bet you’ve heard those and probably more, right?
Now, I’m not superstitious. I don’t believe anything is or can happen just because a black cat is crossing my path or following me.
Unless of course the cat causes me to be distracted and I trip over. But, now is not the time for bad jokes.
There are also superstitions around a full moon. I remember hearing stories for as long as I can remember about a full moon making people act crazy, making hair grow quicker, and even that it’s the best time to find love.
So it’s natural that superstitious people tie the two together; black cats, and a full moon, and jump to some wild conclusions.
But, there is no scientific evidence, or common sense, to believe that black cats are affected any differently than another cat with a full moon.
What Does All of This Mean for You and Your Cat Next Full Moon?
It’s a super interesting topic. I’ve enjoyed looking into it in more detail and discussing it with other pet owners, but there’s really not much to do other than keep your cats in as I discussed above.
I’d love to hear any stories from the community about how whole moon phases have affected their cats so please drop a comment below and share your experience.
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2 thoughts on “Do Moon Phases Affect Cats? Full Moon and Cat Behaviors Explained”
I came to do this research just now. My cat usually stays in our yard. This morning and this evening at my call he came from across the street. This evening he ran without his usual caution and was too close to oncoming vehicle for my comfort. This minute he has not come in as he usually does. I only see moonlight on my porch. Can’t say full yet.
I have a mother cat and three kittens. Usually they don’t go out of our house, but suddenly yesterday on full moon day my cats went out of the house and three big street dogs chased them. And kittens hid under a car, and unfortunately the dogs killed the mother cat.