If you have a cat, you may have noticed that they tend to sleep a lot during the day and become more active at night. This can be frustrating for cat owners who want to get some rest or enjoy some quiet time. You may wonder why your cat behaves this way and if there is anything you can do to change it. Is your cat nocturnal by nature? Or is there another reason for their unusual sleeping pattern?
Cats are not nocturnal, but crepuscular
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal animals. Nocturnal animals are those that are most active during the night and sleep during the day, such as owls, bats, and raccoons. Cats, on the other hand, are crepuscular, which means they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This is because cats are natural predators, and their prey, such as rodents and birds, are also more active during these times. Cats have evolved to hunt and feed when their chances of success are highest.
However, this does not mean that cats are completely inactive during the night or the day. Cats are very adaptable and can adjust their sleeping and activity cycles to suit their environment and their needs. For example, indoor cats may sleep more during the day because they are bored or have nothing to do, while outdoor cats may sleep more at night because they feel safer or have already satisfied their hunting instincts. Cats may also adjust their schedules to match their owners’ routines, especially if they are fed or played with at certain times.
How to help your cat sleep better at night
If your cat keeps you awake at night with their meowing, scratching, or playing, you may want to try some of the following tips to help them sleep better at night:
- Provide your cat with enough stimulation and exercise during the day. This will help them burn off some energy and reduce their boredom. You can play with your cat using toys, laser pointers, or feather wands, or provide them with interactive toys, scratching posts, or cat trees that they can use on their own. You can also hide some treats or kibble around the house for your cat to find and eat, which will stimulate their hunting instincts and keep them busy.
- Feed your cat their main meal in the evening. This will help them feel full and satisfied, and make them more likely to sleep after eating. You can also try feeding your cat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which will help them maintain a healthy weight and metabolism, and prevent them from getting hungry too soon.
- Create a comfortable and quiet sleeping area for your cat. Make sure your cat has a cozy and warm bed, blanket, or mat that they can curl up in. You can also provide them with some of their favorite toys or items that have your scent on them, which will make them feel more secure and relaxed. You can place their bed in a dark and quiet spot, away from any sources of noise or light that may disturb them. You can also try using a pheromone diffuser or spray, such as Feliway, which can help calm your cat and reduce their stress and anxiety.
- Avoid disturbing your cat when they are sleeping. Try not to wake your cat up during the day, unless it is absolutely necessary. Let them sleep as much as they want, and respect their space and privacy. If you need to move your cat, do it gently and slowly, and avoid making any loud noises or sudden movements. You can also try covering your cat with a blanket or towel, which will make them feel more secure and less likely to be startled.
- Establish a consistent routine and schedule for your cat. Try to feed, play, and interact with your cat at the same time every day, and avoid changing their routine too often. This will help your cat anticipate and adjust to your daily activities, and reduce their confusion and stress. You can also try to mimic the natural cycle of light and dark, by turning on the lights in the morning and turning them off at night, which will help your cat regulate their internal clock and sleep better.
Cats are not nocturnal, but crepuscular, which means they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. However, cats are very adaptable and can adjust their sleeping and activity cycles to suit their environment and their needs. If your cat keeps you awake at night, you can try some of the tips mentioned above to help them sleep better at night and improve your relationship with them.