Managing Your Cat's Night-Time Activity

Cat up at night

How to Keep Your Cat Calm at Night

It's 2 a.m. and everyone is fast asleep, except for your cat. Your feline friend races through the house, skidding around corners and knocking over everything in its path. Although your cat might think that the middle of the night is the perfect time for these frenzied runs, you probably disagree.

What to Do If Cat Capers Interfere with Your Sleep

You and your cat have different opinions about the perfect time to sleep. In the wild, felines often hunt at night. Those natural instincts are still active even though your pet may not need to hunt for its food. Fortunately, you can prevent or reduce the behavior by trying a few of these suggestions.

Just Ignore Your Cat

If your parents ever advised you to ignore an annoying brother or sister when you were young, you know that advice wasn't always helpful. The same is true of cats. Ignoring them when they bat at your forehead or meow in your ear may encourage some cats to give up but won't deter others. Still, it's worth a try.

If you can't ignore your cat, don't offer food or pet him or her. Those actions reward your cat for the behavior and make it more likely to continue.

Keep Your Pet Active During the Day

Busy cats are tired cats. Playing with your cat in the afternoon and early evening may help release some of that excess energy. Choose games and activities that involve stalking, pouncing, or chasing, such as:

  • Fetch. Many cats enjoy a game of fetch just as much as dogs do. Fetch requires very little effort on your part and can keep your cat entertained and active for a long time. Toss toys your cat can easily hold in its mouth or other small objects that don't pose choking dangers.
  • Chase the Light. Turn on your laser pointer and play a rousing game of chase the light with your pet.
  • Fishing. Cats love pouncing on a dangling toy at the end of a kitty fishing rod. You'll find the rods at any pet supply store.
  • Bird and Squirrel Watching. Stimulate your furry friend's brain by providing the perfect spot to watch birds and squirrels outdoors. Adding a resting shelf to a window overlooking your yard provides hours of fun for cats. Encourage birds to fly by the window by adding a bird feeder outside.
  • Videos. Your cat may enjoy watching videos that feature birds, squirrels, mice, fish, and other creatures darting back and forth on the screen. YouTube offers several videos that run seven hours or longer.
  • Electronic Toys. Electronic toys keep your cat entertained when you're not at home. From electronic laser tag games to battery-operated mice, you'll find plenty of toys your cat is sure to love.
  • Tag. Some cats enjoy rousing games of tag with their people. When your cat starts dashing through the house during the day, join in on the fun.

Change Feeding Times

Have you noticed that your cat likes to nap after eating? Your pet may be less likely to roam your house or apartment at night if you offer the last meal of the day later than usual or give your pet a treat at bedtime. If you add an extra treat, decrease the number of treats you provide during the day.

Close the Bedroom Door

Your cat may still enjoy a midnight romp through your house, but at least you won't notice it as much if you keep your door closed. Your pet might complain at the door for a few nights before he or she finally realizes that the bedroom is now off-limits when you're asleep.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

If your formerly calm cat is suddenly more active or won't stop meowing at night, let your pet's veterinarian know. A health condition that causes pain or discomfort may be to blame.

Are you concerned about a behavioral issue? Try these tips to improve your pet's behavior.

Sources:

YouTube: Videos for Cats and Dogs

Pets.WebMd.com: Nightime Activity in Cats

Petfinder.com: Keeping Your Cat Calm at Night

Modern Cat: How to Stop Pesky Meowing at Night

Inverse: Why Your Cat Runs Around at Night Like a Maniac According to Science

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