If you hear something in the middle of the night, it could be your hairy friend. Of course, it can come as no surprise to see your kitten or cat roaming around in your home all night. So you might be asking yourself, "are cats nocturnal?" Fortunately, we sat down with the Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about your cat's night activity and what it can really mean for your best friend.
Are cats nocturnal?
you have a kitten, an adult cat or a household with several cats, you may have seen or
heard your cat up and moving at night. So are your cats
nightly? Wilde points out what it can mean for your hairy friend.
"Cats are actually not nocturnal but rather" crepuscular ", which means
their peak activity occurs at dusk and at dawn. They have been developed to maximize
their activity around these hours as this minimizes their risk from their
natural predators, which are active during peak hours in daylight and darkness.
So some cats are more active very early in the morning, which most of them are
us would be perceived as "night hours", because people are daily.
Why do cats prefer night time?
Cats are unique and may have preferences regarding their schedule. While some hairy friends may want to play at night, others may want to explore their home. If you have a new cat or kitten they may want adventure without any interruption. For example, "some cats seem to be more active in the middle of the night, and this is due to their natural hunting instinct, as many of their prey species, such as rodents, tend to be more active at night". says Wilde. Of course, every cat is different and they may be prone to wandering at night. Consider securing your home for cats so that no unexpected situations happen while you sleep. For an additional resource on natural instincts, check out this guide.
The weight of the cat's naps
It can be
no surprise finding your best friend sitting in a chair or snoozing on a cat
perch. After all, cats can be known to take a cat's time. But are they really
sleeping? In fact, a fun fact about cats and power naps, it can be a bit of one
Myth. For example, “it seems like cats are
nap all the time, but what they do is actually dormant during the preparations
for short bursts of very intense activity, says Wilde. So next time you see it
your cat napping on the couch, maybe they are just resting to prepare for a night
Tips for Training Your Cat to Sleep at Night
All pets can be difficult to train, and your cat or kitten is no exception. In fact, your cat may be stubborn about their schedule or daily activities. Wilde points out some tips to facilitate and solve your hairy family member at night.
Consider the following:
- There is not much you can do to change the cat's natural instincts, but what you can try to model their behavior through positive reinforcement.
- A consistent schedule can be helpful for your hairy friend.
- Try to feed your cat at the same time each day, and if your cat cries for food during the night, remember to feed the cat at that time actually reinforces this behavior.
- You can also try to increase their daytime activity with play enrichment and toys in the hope that they rest at night.
Do you have a kitten with high energy? Check out this extra resource on kittens here.
Are cats nocturnal? Some cats like
to sleep while others like to roam
Cats and kittens can enjoy staying up at night for hiking and exploring their space. But by providing pet enrichment and toys, spending some interactive time with your hairy friends and talking to your vet with concern, your best friend can enjoy a quiet time to himself at night.
For more information on cat behavior, read Do Cats Know Their Names? Questions about cat owners answered
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