Why are cats more active at night?

Cats that meow at night, cats that ask for food, cats that run from one side of the house to the other, cats that jump on you while you sleep or try to sleep … There are many varieties, some more annoying than others.

To understand what happens, it is crucial to analyze the cat and its behavior.

The cat is a nocturnal animal

In its natural and wild state, the cat has a more active life at night. Even your body is prepared to do it that way. You will have heard many times that cats see in the dark, they really need a little light to do so, but it is true that they have a better night vision than most animals.

Cats usually spend many of the daylight hours to sleep, not in vain,  an adult cat sleeps between 12-15 hours a day. If there is a dream king, that is undoubtedly the domestic cat.

After so much rest, and often coinciding with the fact that you, human, have finally made an act of presence at home, at night, the wild and hunter side of our beloved feline awakens.

That this coincides with the fact that it is just at the moment that you, human, want to sleep … is one of those curious things that life has. But is it always like this? Why? Can it be changed?

The cat hunts at dusk

The night is a perfect ally for cats that go hunting. Stealthy and intelligent, the minions use their privileged anatomy to stalk their prey when there is hardly any light.

So it is logical that cats are more active at night because it is the time of day they are prepared to hunt.

But … oh, wait! My domestic cat has never had the need to hunt for food, nor has he ever seen it done. Why do you wait for the night to “hunt” something that does not exist?

Well, as I always remember, the cat is wild at heart and retains many things from its origins. In short, it works a lot by instinct.

And with the theme of the night and hunting happens that, your cat has not seen or ever needed to hunt, but his instinct is there.

Do all domestic cats get upset at night?

Not all cats act the same, and there are cats that are not activated at night or are activated little and hardly noticeable, or their activity does not become incompatible with the sleep of the rest of the inhabitants of the house.

Sometimes these behaviors occur in specific seasons. A cat may not be one of those that activate at night frequently, but suddenly it has a few days in which it does, and then the tranquility returns.

In general, most domestic minions end up adapting their customs to living together at home. Each cat may have different wild behaviors more or less pronounced, and that of remaining active at night may end up disappearing.

It also influences the environment and the type of life the cat has. In fact, in this study of the University of Veterinary Medicine of Messina (Italy), it is concluded that domestic cats change their customs and their daily and nocturnal activity depending on the type of house in which they live, the access to the outside they have and of its total locomotive activity.

In the study, they divided ten healthy domestic cats into two equal groups; some lived in substantial houses (200-250 m2) with unlimited access to a garden of about 2000-2500 m2. And as a rule, they were out at night. (Note: I would like to live in a house like this: D). Instead, the other group lived in dwellings of about 80-100 m2 and a garden of about 20-40 m, which they could leave during the day, but at night they slept inside the house.

Obviously, those of the super houses that slept in the impressive garden had a more excellent night activity, and in general, they moved much more than those who lived in smaller dwellings. Observing their behavior, they realized that cats that have less access to the outside and, therefore, a closer relationship with living humans, adapt their lifestyle to that of the family.

In any case, separate gardens, it is widespread that domestic cats end up sleeping at night, like you. And if your pussy also rests with you, it will surely take advantage of those moments that coincide with your sleep hours, and will already discharge its energy during the day.

My cat doesn’t let me sleep; what do I do?

It is the million-dollar question, and there is no magic answer that works the same for everyone. But taking into account the comments in this article, you can find a way to redirect the situation.

If your nocturnal activity and your sleep are incompatible, the first thing: you must rule out that the pussy is suffering from some physical or mental pathology. Take it to the veterinarian, consult with an ethologist, talk to an expert in feline behavior … This is mainly recommended when nighttime activity has appeared “suddenly. ” Only with the diagnosis of a professional can we know what it is.

If your cat is healthy and has a habit of activating at night, see what his behavior is and try to understand the reason.

Sometimes the pussy has specific requests, such as food. And until you get up to fill the plate, it doesn’t stop. Usually, it is recommended not to “succumb” to such requests at night.

Other times we do not capture directly what he is telling us, but we can see the reason beyond. For example, if you spend all day alone and don’t see us until night, you will surely need us. It is healthy, he has spent the whole day sleeping, now he wants to march and enjoy and play with us.

How to make my cat sleep at night

Here are some recommendations you can practice:

  • Encourages the increased daily activity of the cat. The idea is that the cat spends the energy it needs to consume and that allows it to have a healthy life, and that it does so during the daylight hours in which we do not sleep. In order for us to help this energy wear out, we must play with the pussycat and dedicate time, especially if it is a cat that likes our contact. Through feline environmental enrichment, we can also contribute to more daily activity, offering adequate spaces, tools, scraper,  toys, etc.
  • Ten presence. In the moments we are at home we must offer our presence and company. How long and how much contact? Well, it depends on how your emotional relationship is. If your cat is of little physical contact and spends the day running and jumping, it may be enough for you to play for a little while with a pen tied to a rope. If, on the contrary, it is a cat that wants pampering all the time, give you your daily space to enjoy it.
  • It covers your basic needs. Apart from the physical exercise and care of the pussycat, it is vital that we also keep your rest spaces at home, your sandpit well placed and clean, your correct diet (healthy and balanced), etc. what is necessary to make it a healthy and happy cat.
  • Establish habits and routines. Cats are usually animals of customs, so if we have a dynamic of going to sleep in which we involve the pussycat, it can help to end up becoming a habit that the cat assumes. For example, every time you go to sleep, you put your food and your fresh, clean water. You say goodnight and sleep. This trick also goes in line with a standard recommendation, which is to feed the cats at night, because after eating, they need to rest and sleep.

Our experience

The truth is that neither Kato nor Conxa are cats that are very nocturnal and very “annoying” during the night.

Kato had a very active season when we found him on the street: he was tiny, and he threw himself to hunt our feet while we slept with his little pointed teeth … But luckily both the sharp teeth and that habit changed.

Conca is perhaps the most nocturnal of the two, and from time to time you wake up with some game (now the fashion is to roll the girl’s wooden balls in the early morning, with that sound that seems to wake up the whole building). But it is not often that their peak hours prevent us from sleeping.

It has always been that way, but it is also true that there is a slight change since we spent more hours with them since our little daughter interacts more and they play together for a little while – beyond her chasing them … There are more activity and contact during the day, and at night they don’t need to spend so much energy and rest more, they sleep with us …

And if you’ve ever read this far, prize! An extra recommendation: have a lot of patience, self-control, and affection, it will be the best way for your cat and you to adapt to each other.

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