Feline Full Moon Fever

It seems like every few weeks, I’m looking at the calendar to confirm a suspicion.  My cats are still pretty young and active, but some nights they seem a bit more frisky than others.  This usually involves a lot of puffed tails (known as piloerection), dilated pupils, howling meows and racing around the apartment, often skidding around in a 360° spin.

My suspicion?  That this behavior increases during the full moon.  Although I haven’t attempted to officially track it, it appears as though their wacky behaviors correlate to the full moon.

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Of course, it could be that I am more likely to check the calendar when I’m aware the moon is full, and ignore the behavior on other nights.  Or perhaps my own behavior changes around the full moon, which causes my cats to act differently.  So, I thought I would do a little research.

It appears that the evidence is inconclusive — does the full moon effect our behavior?  Some studies say maybe, others say no.  One study (Wells, R.J., Gionfriddo, J.R., Hackett, T.B., & Radecki, S.V. (2007). Canine and feline emergency room visits and the lunar cycle: 11,940 cases. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Associatio, 231, 251-253)  found an increase in emergency room visits for pet cats and dogs during the full moon.  One thought is that the increased moonlight allows for greater activity.  Tell that to my indoor cats who don’t spend much time in direct moonlight!

Without more proof, it’s hard to say the full moon is in fact causing this frisky behavior.  So, next time I’ll just enjoy their excitement and try an extra play session with a feather wand!  Perhaps more research will help us learn about whether Feline Full Moon Fever is real, and in the meantime, feel free to share your cat’s full moon antics with us.

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2 Responses to “Feline Full Moon Fever”

  1. Linda Lewis Says:

    Hi felineminds, We have a beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat (pure white) that seems to have manic behaviour changes 3-4 days before a full moon. We have had him for 2 1/2 years and did not notice this at first as we adopted him when he was approx. 3-4 yrs old.
    As time has moved on and Frosty has become a loved member of the family it is still very noticable if not more that he changes around a full moon. These changes include howling, growling,spitting and not allowing anyone to touch his cat flap when he is in his room, basically he becomes a wild cat!!!!!

  2. felineminds Says:

    Linda,
    Very interesting! Of course we can’t rule out the possibility that Frosty is being affected by animals outdoors who may be more active when the moon is shining bright. Do you know if there are cats or raccoons outside? You may want to keep a journal of these changes to see if they are consistent. Major changes in personality/aggression call for a vet check to make sure there are no medical conditions that might lead to this behavior.
    Otherwise, if you know Frosty’s “time of the month” is coming, that might be a good time to either keep his environment very controlled calm, and encourage other types of interaction with him, such as interactive playtime with wand toys.