Do you know a cat who seems to have more energy than a Duracell battery? You’re not alone.
Many cat owners have been there, lying awake at 3 am, listening to the sound of their cats playing with their favorite toys, running around, and meowing like its daytime.
But what makes cats active at night, and is it something to worry about?
These are some possible reasons behind your cat’s nighttime shenanigans.
1. Boredom Strikes
Just like humans, cats can get bored too.
If your cat doesn’t receive enough stimulation during the day, they may take out their boredom on your sleep schedule.
Cats need to play, move around, and explore, especially during their brighter hours.
Ditch the old-fashioned string and offer your pet some puzzle toys, laser pointers, or interactive cat fountains.
That’ll keep your kitty entertained when you’re not around.
And if you’re going to use a string toy, use something like a cat wand with feathers on it.
2. Hungry Tummies
As creatures of habit, cats expect to have food available at certain times of the day.
If your feline buddy gets hungry at night, they may decide to go on a snack hunt, hoping to find an unguarded bag of treats or an open can of cat food.
To prevent that, you might want to consider switching to larger and more frequent meals during the daytime instead of one or two large meals a day.
3. Age Matters
Aging cats may experience changes in their sleep patterns, leading to more activity during the night.
Kittens are like “toy-seeking missiles” when they are young.
They have a lot of energy and are constantly looking for fun and playtime. This is their way of learning about hunting and honing their skills.
When they’re young, kittens are in a phase of development where they are learning how to hunt, and they may see your moving hands or objects as prey to chase and pounce on.
Older cats often sleep less as well, and their internal clocks may go haywire, causing them to be more active during the night.
If you have a senior cat, make sure their nighttime activities don’t keep you up, and provide a warm and cozy bed in a quiet, low-traffic area so they can rest comfortably when it needs to.
But if possible, try to keep your kitty’s normal routine consistent and give them lots of love, attention, and stimulation throughout the day.
4. Anxiety Woes
Cats can suffer from anxiety, usually due to environmental changes or lack of socialization.
If your cat is more active at night, it might be a sign that they feel more comfortable and secure when you’re around.
Try to offer some additional soothing support, create a stress-free environment, and, if necessary, seek help from your veterinarian.
5. Crepuscular Capers
Cats are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk.
This means they are biologically designed to be awake during these times.
While humans prefer to sleep when it’s dark, cats enjoy the quieter and cooler parts of the day.
This pattern of activity is believed to be an evolutionary response to predators, who are less active during those times.
6. Sleepy Day, Active Night
Obesity can make cats lethargic during the day, leading to increased activity at night.
If your kitty is carrying a few extra pounds, a healthier diet, and more exercise might be needed.
Incorporate more playtime and activity into their daily routine and switch to a high-quality, low-calorie diet to help them shed those extra pounds.
7. Too Much Energy
Cats, especially kittens, are full of energy that seems to never run out.
They require lots of playtime and activities to burn off that energy, or else they’ll end up releasing it at night.
If you’ve noticed your cat napping all day, it’s no surprise that they’re running around the house at night.
Don’t let your cat sleep all day; provide plenty of toys and playtime during the day to tire them out before bedtime.
8. The Midnight Crazies/Zoomies
Have you ever seen your cat get the “midnight crazies”?
This is when they just start running around the house, jumping on furniture, and knocking over everything in their path.
It seems to happen for no apparent reason, but it’s likely just their version of a midnight snack run.
In the wild, cats are nocturnal hunters and are sometimes most active during the night, especially when they spend all day sleeping.
9. Lack of circadian rhythm
Kittens don’t adhere to a set circadian rhythm like adult cats.
They do not have a predictable sleeping schedule yet in their younger years, and their activity levels can vary greatly throughout the day.
10. Health Concerns
If your cat suddenly starts waking you up at night, it could be a sign of a health issue.
Cats are known for hiding their pain or discomfort well, so it’s important to keep an eye on any changes in their behavior.
They might be restless at night due to a urinary tract infection, arthritis, or even anxiety. If you’ve ruled out any environmental or behavioral changes, a visit to the vet is a great idea.
How to get your cat to be less hyper at night?
To help your cat be less hyper at night, it’s important to understand that cats are naturally crepuscular animals.
This means they like to be most active when the sky is getting dark and light again, like right before sunrise and sunset. If your cat sleeps all day, they might be extra busy at night.
As much as we all want them to adapt to our human schedules, sometimes it’s just not possible. So, what can you do?
Give them plenty of exercise with appropriate toys
One suggestion is to up your cat’s exercise game and try to wear your cat out during the day.
Set up an obstacle course for them to navigate or play an energizing game of hide-and-seek. By the time bedtime rolls around, your cat should be too tired to cause any mischief.
Offer interactive toys like wand toys with feathers or a laser pointer to engage your cat in play to tire them out before bed.
Avoid using your hands or fingers as toys to prevent them from developing bad habits.
Stick to a routine
Another idea is to establish a consistent bedtime routine. It means turning off all your lights at the same time each night to help discourage your cat from playing.
Establish a feeding schedule for your cat, and incorporate playtime and meals into a predictable daily routine. This can help align the cat’s activity with your own schedule.
This can include having a warm and cozy sleeping spot, a pre-bedtime snack, and some peaceful quiet time with your kitty.
Consider getting a companion for your cat
Getting another kitten as a companion can help provide stimulation and companionship for your current cat.
They can play and learn together, which can reduce your cat’s hyperactivity and prevent loneliness.
Give and take with your cat
I don’t always get my way with my cat; sometimes, I just have to ignore her.
Let’s be real; some cats just want to party all night long, and sometimes I put my earplugs in and try to find the humor in my cat’s midnight zoomies.
Her restless nights do not have to be my experience either. That said, as my cat gets older, I am seeing her being less active at night so these days, her nights are more restful.
But I think my cat is so calm at night because of the schedule we keep in our home and the love and care she feels from us.
When we own cats, sometimes we have to be selective about the battles we fight with them.
Cats have different reasons for being active at night. Some may be out of their control, while others can be addressed with simple solutions from us.
Cat activity during the night isn’t necessarily a problem unless it interferes with your sleep or their quality of life.
Just like us, cats have different personalities, preferences, and tendencies.
Understanding your cat’s behavior and providing for their needs is the key to a happy, healthy, and harmonious human-cat relationship.
Embrace your kitty’s quirks, invest in interactive toys, and appreciate the fact that they’re crepuscular but sometimes nocturnal creatures who enjoy the world when we’re asleep.