LifestyleWhy your cat disrupts your sleep and how to handle it

Why your cat disrupts your sleep and how to handle it

Does the cat wake you up at night? It doesn't do it maliciously.
Does the cat wake you up at night? It doesn't do it maliciously.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
12:01 PM EST, January 19, 2024

Cats are primarily nocturnal creatures. So, what does this mean? This means they are most active during the night, which is contrary to their human caretakers who would rather be sleeping. So why do our feline friends tend to wake us up in the wee hours? Is there a way to train them to not do so? Here's some useful advice.

Why does your cat wake you up at night? The answer may surprise you

Cats are indeed affectionate creatures, contrary to the common belief that they are markedly malicious. An example often put forward to validate this misconception is their seemingly random behavior of knocking things over and waking us up at night. This isn’t malice, rather, it’s a genetic predisposition. Unlike humans, cats do not have a strict circadian rhythm. Despite sleeping for an average of 16 hours a day, they are most active at night. This characteristic is probably a relic from their wild ancestors who were active predators; the rodents they hunted were nocturnal, thus aligning their own activity accordingly.

How can you prevent your cat from waking you up at night?

Does your cat not let you sleep at night? Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. This behavior is part of their natural instinct, and it's not something you can train out of them. Punishment not only proves ineffective but can also alienate your pet. So, what's the solution? One method could be to engage your cat in interactive play just before you're ready to turn in for the night in an attempt to tire it out. Post playtime, feed your cat. Much like infants, a well-fed and tired cat is likely to sleep through most of the night.

If your cat, however, suddenly begins to wake up at night when it’s not typically part of its routine, it should not be ignored as it might imply your pet is unwell. If your cat becomes lethargic, loses appetite or avoids play, has difficulty while defecating, or isolates frequently, it's time to get in touch with a vet.

Related content