Reducing Nighttime Activity in Cats

Although felines are naturally nocturnal animals, their after-dark activity may be disrupting your sleep schedule. Whether you have a new kitten with loads of energy or an older cat that is a night owl, here are some tips on reducing nighttime activity in cats.


See a veterinarian

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for nocturnal activity. Sleeping pattern changes could also be a side effect of your cat getting older. Checking with your vet will help you determine if there is an underlying reason for the problem. If not, consider the following strategies. 


Discourage the behavior

If one of the distracting behaviors includes your furry friend jumping on the bed and running around in your room, you’ll want to consider keeping them out of your room at night. Along with keeping your bedroom door closed, you can place a towel or blanket between the shut door and door frame so there isn’t any door rattling. Make sure you’re not getting up to play, feed or get them out of your room as that will give your cat attention. You’ll want to avoid any responses which reward the disturbing behavior.


Change feeding

Try slowly altering your cat’s schedule to better fit your daily schedule. This adjustment may help change the cat’s sleep schedule. Consider offering small, frequent meals with one earlier in the evening and one close to bedtime. That way, they are less likely to wake you because of hunger during dark hours. You can also hide food around the house to fulfill your furry pal’s natural urge to hunt for food at night. Lastly, an automatic timed feeder can be useful by setting it at the time that your cat is active.


Encourage activity during the day

Getting your cat active during the day can help reduce their playtime in the middle of the night. Offer time to play in the afternoon or early evening to expend some of their energy. If you work during the day, try a feeding toy to keep their mind and body engaged or rotate toys so they have something "new" to play with. When you’re home, provide attention and company for them to adjust their schedule to anticipate activity times with you. 


Make an engaging environment

If your cat is acting up because of boredom at night, along with providing them with something to do during the day, you can make an environment for them to interact with. For instance, you can prepare scratching posts for your feline to play with. In addition to creating a cozy spot for them to rest in, try creating areas for hide and seek. This can include cardboard boxes or other hiding spots in different rooms and at various heights to keep them busy.


Sources:

My cat is very active at night and keeps waking me up, what should I do? – RSPCA Knowledgebase

Cat Night Behaviour Keeping You Awake? Causes of Cat Night Activity (webmd.com)

Cat keeping you awake? How to manage night activity | Animal Humane Society

How to Change Your Cat’s Nighttime Habits So You Can Sleep | Blue Buffalo