Is your cat keeping you up at night? Whether it's yowling loudly down the hallway or pouncing on our feet and faces while we sleep, some cats just don't know when to say goodnight. It can be frustrating when all you want to do is get a good night's sleep and your cat seems more determined to hunt your toes! But a cat looking to play or eat at night is only acting on its natural hunting instincts.
Cats are naturally crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk; for a cat in the wild, this is the ideal time to stalk and hunt their prey. But just because your humble house cat isn't in the wild doesn't mean they don't have the same powerful instincts. And while nighttime activity is completely normal for a cat, there is no denying that it can be frustrating for us humans who need to get up early the next day. Here are 5 ways you can help your cat settle down for the night - so you can get some rest!
1. Keep Them Active While You're At Work
If you're not home during the day, leave your cat toys that will that provide indoor enrichment for your kitty in your absence. Provide your favorite feline with toys that they can bat around and play with at their own leisure. Catnip-filled toys are a great choice as the catnip also stimulates and encourages your cat to play - instead of nap all day. If your cat is not a fan of catnip, try silver vine - a catnip alternative that is proven to attract cats that catnip doesn't.
Be sure to rotate out your cat's toys! Just like humans, cats can get bored with the same toys, no matter how fun they are.
You can also set up videos that play videos designed to entertain cats! These videos often feature clips of birds or squirrels darting across the screen and keeping your cat enraptured for hours!
2. Tire Them Out Before Bedtime
In this fast-paced lifestyle, it can be difficult to take time out of your day to play with your cat. But it's important to keep your cat mentally and physically active for them to be their happiest, healthiest selves - and for you to get a good night's rest! When you get home from work or a few hours before bedtime, try taking 15 minutes to play with your kitty. Try a few toys to see what type they like best. Do they prefer a wand or teaser toy? Or are they more of a laser pointer fanatic?
Ideally, you'll want to find a toy that is fun for both you and your cat. The Mouse Hunt Toy is an interactive toy you can control from your phone while your cat does all the work. It's a fun, enriching way to play with your cat after a long day at work.
3. Feeding Before Bed
If your cat's nighttime prowling is more food-related, trying feeding them before bed. Digesting food takes a lot of energy, and you may notice that your cat will sleep through the night more happily. Try altering your cat's daily routine and splitting up their normal mealtime to include a light bite before bed. You could also try using a timed feeder that will release food according to a preset schedule. Your cat should learn to wait by the feeder for food instead of meowing at your door.
4. Don't React
If your cat is persistent in trying to get you to wake up and play, one key factor is to simply stop reacting. Don't respond to their meows, don't react to their playful taps at your face. If you react to your cat's unwanted behavior, you're actually encouraging that behavior. Your cat will keep meowing or pawing if she learns from past experience that it will get a reaction out of you. Do not reprimand your cat or give positive attention, instead go about your nightly routine as normal and have a strict "no reaction" policy. It might take some time, but your cat will learn that it's not playtime, it's bedtime.
5. Keep The Door Closed
This one is fairly obvious, but some cats need a boundary or barrier to make it clear that it's not the time for play or food, especially those that bite and claw at toes poking out from under the covers. If your cat meows and scratches at the door, try placing something they dislike in front of the door, such as double-sided sticky tape, which would make it uncomfortable to walk on. Be sure to give them their own special sleeping spot as well, providing them with a comfortable cat bed and encourage them to lie down when it comes time to go to bed.
If your cat is typically well-behaved cat suddenly begins to restlessly wander the halls at night, crying or meowing and increasingly more hungry, there may be an underlying health issue. You should have your cat checked up by a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.