Cats have different sleep-wake cycles than humans, meaning they often spend more time awake at night.
This can be frustrating for many cat owners who try to get a good night’s sleep but are continually interrupted by their feline friends. This is why it’s important to learn how to deal with a restless cat at night
Cats are crepuscular
A lot of cat owners have a hard time sleeping at night because their cats will often meow, scratch, and play when they should be asleep. This behavior is sometimes referred to as “night crazies” and isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s just natural for them.
Many people believe cats are nocturnal animals, but they’re actually crepuscular — which means their peak hours of activity occur at dawn and dusk. That’s according to veterinarian Dr. Michelle Meyer.
Crepuscular animals include most raptors, rabbits, deer, skunks, bears, bobcats, and other species. Animals that fall into this category are able to see better in dark light, enabling them to hunt prey at dawn and dusk, explained Mother Nature Network.
Crepuscular animals also tend to be less active during midday, when the sun is at its hottest, reserving their energy for later. This is why crepuscular animals like cats can be active at twilight, and why they’re so good at hunting prey when it’s dark out.
Cats are restless
If your cat seems to be up pacing around the house all night long, there may be a reason. Some cats have a natural crepuscular or nocturnal sleep pattern, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
If this is the case, you can work with your kitty to establish a sleeping schedule that is more aligned to her needs and preferences. This may mean you have to feed your kitty earlier than usual, but you’ll also need to make sure she gets enough exercise and playtime during the day so she’s less likely to act restless at night.
Another common reason cats are restless is that they’re feeling anxious or stressed. This can be due to the death of a pet or new baby, a change in residence, or loud noises at home such as construction.
Cats are bored
Despite their independent nature, cats still need attention from their owners in order to thrive. When they’re not getting that, they tend to get restless, anxious, and destructive — all of which can be a sign that they are bored.
Cats normally sleep about 15 hours a day, but if they seem to be laying around doing nothing, it’s likely that they are feeling a bit lethargic from boredom.
Bored cats may also scratch your furniture, carpet, or rugs. This is a good way to release their energy and get some mental stimulation, but it can be a very frustrating behavior.
They’ll also start grooming themselves excessively to keep their coat looking shiny, but this can also be a sign of boredom.
If you notice these signs in your cat, make sure to speak with your vet. They may be symptoms of medical or behavior problems that you can treat. They’re also very common with cats, so it’s important to address them as soon as possible.
Cats are anxious
Cats are creatures of habit, so any major change in their routine can be stressful. These can include changes like a move to a new home or the adoption of a new pet.
The same is true of traumatic events, such as death in the family or a divorce. Cats can also become anxious when a past trauma is triggered.
A change in appetite: Sometimes cats will suddenly stop eating or be unable to finish their meals. This can be a sign of anxiety or a health issue, and it’s best to get them checked out by your vet.
Aggression: Anxious cats can become aggressive toward you or other pets in the home. This is a normal reaction to fear, but it’s important to be sure it’s not a symptom of something serious.
There are medications available for cat anxiety that can help calm your kitty down. These can be short-acting (like gabapentin) or longer-lasting, such as buspirone or amitriptyline.