Full moon and cats

Do Full Moons Affect Cats? – Express Vet

Medically Reviewed by Taylor Froiland, PharmD, RPh
Written by Adam McCown, PharmD

It’s an age old question, and considered by many to be one of the oldest old wives’ tales: does the full moon change people’s and animal’s behavior? Well, human and veterinarian medical professionals, especially those who work in emergency rooms, may tell you that, for whatever reason, they see some weird things and some odd behavior whenever the full moon comes around. Many pet and human medical personnel will say that they dread working nights with full moons.

But the question is, is there actually any truth to these claims when it comes to cats? What types of behaviors, if any, are common for our feline friends to experience during the short period of the full moon each month? Let’s look at the facts.

Cats and the Moon

There are near endless anecdotal stories and accounts by owners of their cats acting strangely during the full moon. And there have been several studies that may back this up. The University of Colorado, College of Veterinary Medicine conducted research and concluded that cats were 30% more likely to become injured near or during the full moon. Another, unsubstantiated study claimed that there is a 23% increase in cat visits to veterinary clinics during the full moon.

Other than visiting pet emergency and medical centers more often, owners often report specific actions or behaviors for their cats during the full moon. These typically include hiding, often in very unusual or abnormal spots for them where they don’t normally hide. Another reported behavior is cats being very clingy and attached to their owners, even when they are usually aloof or not very cuddly or loving very often.

Additionally, owner’s have reported that, during the full moon, their cats do or experience the following:

  •       Higher levels of restlessness
  •       Greater playfulness
  •       Are more mischievous
  •       Enjoy the company of other cats more than normal
  •       Meow more and are generally louder

However, none of these behaviors have been scientifically proven to be directly or indirectly connected to the moon cycles.

Cats and the Moon: Why Does It Affect Them?

Although science and pet medical professionals have not fully proved or debunked most of the claims about cats and the moon, there are some possible reasons why the moon may cause abnormal behavior. One of the most common theories about pets and the moon is that owners spend more time outside with their animals when the moon’s light is at its peak. This is because there is more light outside so it is easier to be out there with them.

The theory is that, although there is more light, there is still not that much light, so the risk of injury for your pet goes up because they can’t see as well. This may explain the phenomenon of increased pet emergency room visits during the full moon.

Another theory for moon related odd cat or pet behavior is a disruption of their circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is something that all pets and humans share and refers to the physical, mental, and behavioral fluctuations and variations that occur over the course of a 24 hour cycle. Animals, plants, and most living things display circadian rhythm in some form, which includes changes in heart rate, sleeping patterns, hormones, body temperature, and blood pressure. With the moon affecting many factors on earth like gravity and greater night time light, some pet medical professionals believe that this then has an effect on the behavior of cats.

What to Do about Cats and the Moon

With all the stories and tales of “lunar madness” (the word lunacy actually stems from the word “lunar”) in cats, other animals, and humans, is there cause to be worried or alarmed? Probably not. As we said, most of the claims about cats and the moon have not been scientifically verified. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that your specific cat will experience any problems or exhibit any strange behavior.

If your cat does act oddly during the full moon then just be aware of their behavior, indulge their playfulness, or comfort their anxiety as best as you can. If they experience intense anxiety or fear, then it might be a good idea to talk to your vet who may prescribe your cat anti-anxiety medication.

If a vet does prescribe your cat or other animal any drug or medication, remember that you find it quickly and easily online at Express Vet Pharmacy. 

Does the full moon affect my cat?

Our young cat Misty, is an outside cat, but returns home early evening and sleeps indoors at night. If it seems she has lost track of supper time, a good shaking of the treat box whilst calling her name usually sees her bounding home. However, there have been a few occasions when I’ve been out calling her, and it’s either been very late when she finally returns, or she hasn’t retuned at all until the next morning. And it suddenly dawned on me one night whilst I was pacing the gardening, well past midnight, calling her name, willing her to return home, the full moon shining brightly……. was the full moon responsible for this? Was there a pattern?

Does the full moon affect my cat?

In our experience, is certainly seems to! Of course, this is based purely on our own personal experience, but the coincidences certainly seemed to justify a little further investigation. And it seems Misty isn’t the only cat to exhibit uncharacteristic, quirky and rebellious behaviour during the full moon. There are many posts, blogs, questions from cat owners, all with their own story to tell, and answers to seek regarding strange full moon behaviour.

Cat behaviour during full moon

Cat owners and veterinarians have noted that cats certainly seem more mischievous during the full moon. The most common behavioural characteristics that have been noted amongst cat owners during the full moon include:

  • their cats seem more prone to hiding,
  • restlessness
  • increase in playfulness and mischievousness
  • keeping the company of other cats
  • more meowing and generally noisier

There are various statistics and studies which record an increase in admittance to veterinary clinics during the full moon period. One unfounded study claimed a 23% increase in cat visits to the clinic during full moon, and 28% increase in dogs. The University of Colorado, College of veterinary medicine concluded from their studies that cats were 30% more likely to become injured near or during full moon time. Whether this was because cats spent more time outside at night due to the bright moonlight, and night time in itself poses a higher risk of injury to pets, or due to an unknown effect of the moon, the answers remain inconclusive.

Some believe the moon influences cats, and other animals, circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the physical, mental and and behavioral fluctuations and variations that occur over the course of a 24-hour cycle. Animals, plants and most living things display circadian rhythm in some form, these changes include heart rate, sleeping patterns, hormones, body temperature and blood pressure. With the moon affecting factors on earth such as gravity and night time light some theorists believe that this then has an effect on the behaviour of cats, dogs – and people.

What should I do if my cat is exhibiting strange behaviour during full moon?

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much that a cat owner can do to regulate this strange behavior. It may be an idea to track the lunar cycle to become aware and unsurprised when these changes occur. You could keep your cat indoors for the few days over the full moon if it keeps her safe.

Other phases of the moon and possible effect on cats

The full moon is merely one phase of the lunar cycle. Many astrologers have presented theories of how other moon phases may affect your cat and pets.

New Moon:  A new moon is the first phase of the moon. It is when the Sun and the moon are aligned, and the Sun and the Earth will be on opposite sides of the moon. This occurs every 29.5 days and the moon will not be visible except when silhouetted during a solar eclipse. The new moon supports intention and a time to tune wholly into nature. Cats seem to naturally attune to the need to relax during this phase.

Super Moon: A super moon is a term used to describe a full moon or super moon which coincides with the moon being at its closest point to the Earth in its orbit. During this period, senses are heightened, and cats use their instincts to stay away from any dangers and to stay where they feel safer.

Waning Moon: A waning moon is the moon at any time after full moon and before new moon when the illuminated area of the moon is decreasing. During this phase, animals will hunt, gather food, prepare homes – a real nesting instinct mode is activated.

Waxing Moon: A waxing moon is the opposite of a waning moon – the moon at any time after new moon and before full moon, so called because the illuminated are of the moon this time is increasing. This is a calm period for the animal world, a time to slow down, to rest and sleep.

Blue Moon: This is a rare event that occurs only once every three years. It is when there are two full moon occurrences in one month. For our pets, it’s as if it’s a double dose of the full moon – another opportunity to witness your cat’s playfulness and games of hide and seek!

How the moon affects the earth?

There is a strong magnetic pull between the Earth and the sun and the moon. It is this magnetic pull from the moon that affect the large bodies of water on the Earth. The moon, and its location, has the biggest effect on the tides, with the Sun and Earth’s rotation also having some impact. During full moon the tides are at their highest.

Does the full moon have an effect on humans?

There is very little scientific evidence to support this theory with many studies remaining inconclusive. However, many midwives claim they always seem busier at full moon, accident and emergency units at hospitals see increases in patient admissions and I wonder how many of us have a poor night sleep at this time too? Prisons claim an increase in violence amongst inmates, admissions to psychiatric hospitals increase and claims of many more human miseries. There are several myths and legends, over many centuries and from all around the world, regarding the full moon’s effect. There is no denying the beauty, intensity and the magical feel when you look up in the night sky and see the bright full moon. Quite possible, all a coincidence, who know, the mystery remains at present. Given all these occurrence or coincidences amongst humans, it is no surprise that a change in behavior has been noticed in the animal world too.

Therefore, do we really need to consider the moon when considering our cat’s needs and behaviours?

The tales of moon madness, lunar lunacies and unexplained animal behavior – do we really need to worry? We all get to know our cats, and pets, better the more we discover about them and their environments. If a pattern emerges around times of full moon, or indeed the other lunar phases, maybe we can simply just be aware and fascinated at mother nature’s power.

You may be interested in reading our article on catio’s / cat enclosures which we have used to solve the problem of keeping our outside cat safe at night.

Other articles you may find of interest:

Can cats sense a storm? And how to keep cats calm if they are anxious

The energetic power of cats and their spiritual meaning 




On the full moon, children are hyperactive, and cats go crazy: 7 myths about the moon that can be safely ignored | Science

The full moon is not blamed for anything. The most incredible things are associated with him and even the origin of non-existent werewolves and vampires. We invite you to learn about the most common myths associated with this night star. It's time to debunk them!

Myth #1: you can't cut your hair on a full moon!

There is a common myth that all beauty treatments should be planned according to your astrological forecast. According to one hypothesis, ocean tides, arising under the influence of lunar magnetism, can affect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Actually it is not. nine0003

Studies have been repeatedly conducted that prove that none of the phases of the moon has any negative impact on human health, although the satellite of our planet is indeed capable of slightly affecting fluids in the body. Therefore, when planning a trip to a beauty salon, do not put it off until later if the full moon comes that day.

Myth #2: The Dark Side of the Moon

Despite the fact that this is the name of one of the hits of the legendary band Pink Floyd, in reality there is no dark part of the night luminary. What we call the "dark" side is actually the "far" side: the Moon rotates, and there is always more than 40% of its surface that is never visible from the Earth. nine0003

Despite the visually apparent darkness, scientists have found that in fact there is a completely different environment. The few dark spots we see are lunar volcanic plains.

Myth #3: Cats and dogs go crazy

It's amazing, but some people, even those with a medical background, believe that pets behave strangely because of the full moon. They believe that the effect of a special lunar force on the psyche of cats, dogs and other animals is to blame. nine0003

Meanwhile, statistics show the following: during the period of the full moon, as well as in the days before and after it, there is a sharp increase in calls for emergency veterinary care. Scientists find a more logical explanation for this. The thing is that during the full moon at night there is more light, so the animals frolic longer.

Myth #4: The full moon causes insomnia

A team of scientists in Switzerland was shocked to find that most adults sleep less during this moon phase. They conducted several experiments and proved that the people participating in the study, on average, took about five minutes to fall asleep. At the same time, they woke up 20 minutes earlier than a normal day. nine0003

In addition, during the full moon, the period of deep sleep is reduced by an average of 30%. Researchers have not yet fully figured out this issue, but do not rule out that this may be directly related to our natural biological rhythms. That is, such changes would become permanent for us if the Moon disappeared forever.

Myth #5: Children are more active

It is widely believed in many cultures that the full moon makes children hyperactive, restless and restless. But when scientists finally began to study to confirm or rule out this assumption, they found that children are active in any phase of the moon. They don't need a new moon, a full moon, or anything else to be fidgety. Toddlers will jump on the bed, run, jump and walk until midnight, just to stay awake. nine0003

According to the results of the researchers, the duration of sleep in children during the period of the full moon was reduced by 1%, which is of no fundamental clinical significance.

Myth #6: The moon landing didn't really take place

The essence of people is such that they constantly find or try to find refutations of generally known facts. So, for example, there is unreliable information that the landing of astronauts on the moon in 1969 did not actually happen. None of the suggestions remained unanswered. nine0003

Opponents of the official version carefully studied all the photographs allegedly taken by astronauts on the Moon. Their attention was drawn to the flag that flutters in the photo, although there is no wind on the moon. In fact, this moment was captured in motion, just at the moment when the astronauts twisted the pole and unfolded the fabric of the banner.

Also many wonder why there are no stars in the background. It turns out that the camera technology of that time had weak technical characteristics, so it could not capture them. nine0003

Myth #7: A full moon causes madness

The word "crazy" is Latin for "moon". Also called the ancient Roman goddess, who patronized the night luminary. For centuries, people have associated the full moon with crazy behavior. Even Hippocrates, who is considered the progenitor of modern medicine, called the reason for the loss of reason "the trip of the moon goddess through the sky in her chariot."

It is on the full moon that werewolves and vampires wake up - they write about it in books, make fantastic films. Coincidence or not, more crime is indeed committed during this period than during any other lunar phase. At the same time, while scientists do not have enough weighty arguments to connect the worsening of the crime situation with the full moon. nine0003

Medical myths. Can a full moon drive you crazy?

  • Claudia Hammond
  • BBC Future

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Image copyright Thinkstock

Many people believe that the moon can influence human behavior - hence the word "lunatic". Correspondent BBC Future found out if this ancient belief has a scientific basis. nine0068

On the full moon, werewolves and vampires are known to hunt. The belief that ordinary people, under the influence of the Moon, can also slightly lose contact with reality, arose many millennia ago and spread widely.

(Similar articles from the "Journal" section)

If you ask the police or ambulance workers, some of them will surely say that there are more accidents, attacks and insanity on the full moon. In 2007, the police in the English resort town of Brighton even recruited additional officers during full moons. nine0003

The ability of the Moon to influence human behavior is undoubtedly a popular topic. It formed the basis not only of myths and fairy tales, but also of hundreds of scientific studies. Last summer, during the experiment, subjects who slept in the laboratory rated the quality of their sleep 15% lower if that night fell on a full moon - even though they did not see either the moon itself or additional light from it. In addition, it took them an average of five minutes longer to fall asleep.

This study attracted a lot of press attention, but only 33 people took part in it, and even the authors themselves were in no hurry to draw far-reaching conclusions from its results. nine0003

A meta-analysis that considers the results of multiple experiments can provide a more reliable statistical basis. In 1985, American psychologists James Rotton and Ivan Kelly used this approach. They analyzed data from 37 studies of the influence of the lunar cycle on humans and concluded that the moon has nothing to do with the number of mental exacerbations, murders, suicides, road accidents and crimes.

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While examining anecdotal evidence claiming the connection, they noticed that there could be other explanations for the relationship—for example, the full moon fell on holidays or weekends, when the crime scene in general gets worse. Research linking the full moon to unrest has been countered by an equal number of studies that have noted a drop in crime during the full moon. Rotton and Kelly came to the conclusion that the collected statistical data did not allow us to confidently predict the behavior of people. When they included the phase of the moon in their calculations, the accuracy of their predictions improved by only 1%. nine0003

Since then, other studies have also been conducted with mixed results. In 1992, an analysis of 20 works on the influence of the phase of the moon on the number of suicide attempts did not find any proven relationship between these phenomena. Again, those scientists who saw such a connection did not take into account other factors: for example, certain days of the week.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Image caption

Everyone knows that the full moon is the time for werewolves. But what about the impact on ordinary people? nine0003

Perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of the theory of the influence of the moon on humans is the way scientific journals work. They are more likely to publish studies where the authors claim a positive result than those where no relationship between factors can be found. So no one knows how many works debunking the popular myth of the full moon are gathering dust in the editorial archives.

One more question: how exactly can the Moon influence behavior? One theory says that the Earth's satellite attracts fluids in the human body in the same way as water during ocean tides. But the Moon is much smaller than the Earth, and its attraction is much weaker. In addition, the strength of the lunar gravity does not depend on the phase. There is also an assumption that moonlight can affect a person. But its intensity during the full moon is four times less than that of a candle. nine0003

What about the biting animals, ask the proponents of the lunar theory? Doctors at the Bradford Royal Hospital in the north of England studied two years of medical data and found that twice as many patients were admitted to the hospital with dog, cat, rat and horse bites on full moons than on new moons. But with what it was connected, it was not possible to establish. It was not even clear if all these bites happened in the dark.

Experts have suggested that the full moon may not directly affect animals, but the parasites that live on their skin. However, another study was published in the same issue of the scientific journal - scientists analyzed the annual statistics on dog bites in Australia and found that if you take into account the days of the week, then the full moon ceases to be a statistical factor. nine0003

So, there is very little convincing scientific evidence of the influence of the Moon on behavior. So why are so many people convinced that this connection exists? Perhaps the point is the so-called confirmation bias - a person tends to notice and remember information that corresponds to his beliefs. A police officer or an emergency doctor notices the full moon - and links it to the fact that the night has turned out to be tense. If a thin sickle hung in the sky, it is unlikely that the servant of the law would notice it or draw any conclusion. nine0003

How could this myth have arisen? There is an interesting theory: as long as mankind invented street lighting, homeless people prone to mental disorders could be prevented from sleeping by the bright light of the full moon, which in turn could provoke exacerbations.

There is also an opinion that the full moon affects only some people, and therefore studies of a general nature allegedly cannot give correct results. Supporters of this point of view argue that it is necessary to purposefully study only those individuals who believe that they are influenced by the Moon. nine0003

Perhaps this approach will sooner or later reveal that the full moon really awakens the beast in some people. But for now, it can be argued that this only happens in novels and horror films.

Legal information. This article is for general information only and should not be taken as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professional.

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