Cat Behavior: Is Your Cat Keeping You Awake At Night?

Typical cat behavior is sleeping at least 10 hours a day, which can lead to them waking us up at odd hours.  An article we posted on our sister site, cat spells out some things that may be causing your cat to wake you, and ways to change the behavior:

  •  Illness. Even something as mild as a toothache can inhibit a good night’s rest for your cat. Other more sinister problems could be arthritis pain, hyperthyroidism, and high blood pressure. If your cat’s nighttime behavior seems suspicious, have your veterinarian exam him, especially if the nighttime awakening behavior becomes a repeated occurrence.
  • Boredom. Oftentimes, cats have nothing to do during the day and spend those hours sleeping, only to be lively and alert at two in the morning. Provide her with toys, window perches, or just unique ways of feeding, such as food dispensing toys. Play with your cat in the hour before bedtime to tucker her out.
  • Habit. When your cat was a kitten, maybe you welcomed those unexpected night calls with some cuddling time. Such habits were reinforced, but you can reclaim your sleeping hours. When your cat comes in for that nightly visit, simply roll over and stay still. Eventually, the cat will get bored and lose interest.
  • Instant gratification. Your cat may be hungry and may have learned that immediately upon awakening, you fill the food dish. If this is your habit, your cat may be invoking the feeding process, despite the ungodly hour. Provide a healthy snack to your cat before bedtime and when you awaken in the morning, do a few of your own activities before filling the food dish.
  • Lighting. Cats see better in the dark and even a minimal amount of lighting can be disruptive. Adjust and minimize the lighting (don’t sleep with the TV on; avoid night lights) and give it about a week to have an effect on your cat’s behavior. For older cats that may have failing vision, however, this could be the cause of their restlessness and a soft light will help for improved nighttime vision.
  • Harsh reactions. Attention, whether negative or positive, could reinforce your cat’s attention-seeking behavior. Instead of getting grumpy or upset when she awakens you, simply remain silent. After a while, the lack of a response from you will signal to her that this is no time to bother you.

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.