A Limited-Duration Examination
of the Environmental Temperatures Experienced
by the American Housecat
(Felis domestica/Felis catus)
Mr. A's Day Out
Mr. A (at left) is my cat. The A stands for "affection." It was one of
those temporary names that stuck.
Mr. A is a ten-year-old all-black domestic shorthair of unremarkable
lineage. He is obese (15 lbs, but who am I to talk?), but quite
active for his age. He enjoys his catnip, but tries to keep it from
becoming a habit. Though often ill-tempered, he can be charming when
he wants to.
On October 7, 1999, Mr. A wore a
Dallas Semiconductor Thermochron iButton around his neck all
day. (He wears a dashing red collar by Hertz with a bell to keep him
from killing little critters; the Thermochron was affixed to the
collar.) October 7 was a crisp autumn day--cool in the morning and in
the evening, and sunny throughout the day. His owners--me and my
wife--were at work most of the day, but there for breakfast and
dinner. In short, it was a fine day to be a cat.
The Thermochron was programmed to take temperature readings
every two minutes.
Things You Should Know When Interpreting the Data
In an attempt to keep him from biasing the results, Mr. A was not told
about the experiment. Mr. A was not harmed in any way during the
Mr. A has a cat door which is open from around 6 AM to 9 PM; during
those times he's free to come and go as he wishes.
Mr. A's body temperature was not measured. Rather, it was inferred
from his cool, moist nose and shiny coat.
The outdoor temperature was measured at nearby Willard Airport (CMI)
in Savoy, Illinois.
Mr. A is much more active overnight than expected; he was thought to
sleep on the bed continuously between 10 PM and 6 AM. He is
either getting up periodically or he is shifting sleeping positions
Mr. A's morning nap is of considerable duration. This may explain the
extent of his grumpiness on weekends when he is distracted from his
Mr. A can warm himself quickly when he wants to (see 7:00 AM
and 3:05 PM).
Mr. A can cool himself quickly when he wants to (12:45 PM,
5:00 PM) or when getting us up to feed him breakfast
(4:45 AM-6:00 AM) necessitates it.
Mr. A is most active in the afternoon and early evening. (Hypothesis:
a little sun, a little snack, a little nap; repeat until the people
Despite all his grousing, Mr. A has it pretty easy. (Not bad for a
cat born on the streets of Tucson!)
Remaining Research Questions
Where was Mr. A around 3:05 PM?
How do I submit this work to the Swedish Academy for consideration?
(last updated 10/12/99)
Thanks to Brian Lovdahl for the swell idea!