Cats Can Learn to Sleep at Night

More on PawNation: Cats, Kittens, Training
Some people say cats are naturally nocturnal animals (most active at night), others that they are crepuscular (most active at dawn or dusk). In either case housecats have a tendency to be awake when their owners are not, which can lead to conflict.

RELATED: Top 3 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Alarm Clocks

Here are a few tips to help you hasten the process along:

--Ignore your cat's nighttime activities. Yelling or throwing your slipper at her will inadvertently reinforce her behavior. From a cat's point of view, any attention is better than no attention. If necessary, confine your cat to a part of your home where ignoring her pleas for attention is possible.

--Feed your cat her largest meal right before bedtime to keep hunger at bay.

--Increase your cat's daytime activity level. Play with her as often as you can. Daytime exercise will make your cat more tired at night, and disrupts those long naps for which cats are famous.

RELATED: Excessive Vocalization in Cats

Big changes in activity levels shouldn't be written off as cats being cats, however. Many diseases are associated with a decrease in activity, but some (e.g., hyperthyroidism) can actually cause cats to become more active than normal. Pain or cardiovascular or respiratory disease can also make it hard for cats to sleep through the night, which might explain why a cat that previously let her owner sleep now will not.

Dr. Jennifer Coates


Daily rhythm of total activity pattern in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) maintained in two different housing conditions. G Piccione, S Marafioti, C Giannetto, M Panzera, F Fazio. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. Published online 7 January 2013.'

Cats Can Learn to Sleep at Night originally appeared on

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