Written By : M Samy

Are Cats Nocturnal?

Even though cats are nocturnal, only those who lack activity during the day, are ill or have a behavioral disorder can remain up for long hours during the night, but you can always adjust their inner clock to yours.

So , for most of cats, we can say that they are crepuscular & semi-nocturnal, which means they are more active at sunset until before sunrise, but during this period the cat can sleep for a few minutes or hours. 

Are all cats nocturnal? 

are cats nocturnal and how to get them to sleep during the night ?

Not all cats are nocturnal , It’s sometimes related to their daily habits and may depend on their daily habits and the organic time of each cat breed as well . Usually cats sleep at night but wake up several times for plenty of reasons like when they hear something , to look for a snack , to get to your room …

Some cats don’t sleep at all at night but usually and because of their nature, cats take small naps that do not exceed 2 hours of continuous sleep , so during the whole day, your cat can sleep up to 16 hours without even you notice it . 

That’s why cats sleep during the day and night, but they wake up several times, so they are neither diurnal or nocturnal. They are semi nocturnal and the main thing is that they are crepuscular.

Nocturnal cat breeds

Nocturnal cats usually have a hyperactive character especially Bengals, Siamese, Sphynx, Balinese, Abyssinian, devon rex, german rex, turkish angora, turkish van

There are some breeds that are hyperactive only during the day and that wake up at night while staying calm, because they have a calm character like the munchkins. 

Diurnal cats breeds (non nocturnal)

The Himalayan cat is a very well-known cat because of its very calm and lazy character. 

He can move a little during the day, but once his owner is out at night or asleep, he will spend the night sleeping, if he is awake, he won’t disturb his owner and he will stay alone in his bed.

But in truth, a diurnal cat doesn’t exist, all breeds of cats must sleep at least 10 hours in 24 hours ( night and day) alternately. 

But this classification (nocturnal and diurnal cats) is not so accurate because there are other factors that make a calm cat very agitated at night. 

Why my cat doesn’t sleep at night?

As I said before, a cat can wake up several times during the night because it cannot sleep continuously like a human. But if your cat almost doesn’t sleep and stays hyperactive all night, it could be : 

Usually it happens when you have moved, because cats love routine. The move will break their routine and will induce stress that will disturb their sleep.

2- Frustration 

Frustration in a cat can cause sleep disturbance, frustration can sometimes come from a lack of affection (when its owner neglects it, lack of sexual relations) in short it’s  when a cat can not do all its needs. This can occur in cats that are not neutered.

3- Disease 

Some cat diseases will cause sleep disturbances for your cat, like hyperthyroidism (a gland that is responsible for the energy production), this disease causes hyperactivity even at night. 

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There’s also “Feline hypersensitivity” : this is a syndrome in felines that causes sudden changes in behavior accompanied by mood shifts from positive to aggressive: the cat seems to enjoy cuddling to suddenly bite hands.

4-  A new cat in the apartment

The presence of a new cat in your apartment next to him is a surrounding factor that can affect his sleep because it induces stress and then it will always try to gain your attention

So the cat in this case will try to meow all night trying to Wake you up to play with him, especially senior cats. 

5- Fleas

Fleas aren’t  well tolerated by most cats, they make cats itch, when a cat feels uncomfortable in bed because of fleas, it will have sleeping troubles, it may even meow at night. So you should always make sure to clean your cat’s  litter box & bed.

How do I stop my cat from being nocturnal? 

So , ho to get your cat to sleep during the night ? . It is very difficult to change a cat’s biological rhythm because it was naturally made that way. Like most cats, their sleep cycle is alternating. If you wanna try to stop your cat from being nocturnal, follow these steps : 

1-Keep your cat awake during the day

Cats that sleep more during the day, become more active at night. To keep your cat from being very active at night, make him active during the day:

  • Take a long walk with your cat. 
  • Play games with your cat throughout the day, or give him cuddles. 
  • Find other pets for your cat to play with (preferably cats). 

Adult cats have less desire to play compared to kittens. Take them on a long walk and let them spend time hunting.

While adult cats like to play the hunters, kittens usually prefer cuddles and searching for treats, so it’s up to you to decide what to do to get your cat active during the day depending on your cat’s age.

2- Follow his lead 

If you want to change your cat’s habits, you must first act like him, that’s  to say, don’t sleep during the day so that he doesn’t do the same, because a cat usually follows his owner habits, once you are asleep, he can join you in your bed to sleep too. Instead of sleeping try : 

  • Reading
  • Yoga exercises (to relax instead of sleeping)
  • Do housework (so the cat will follow the activity in the house).
  • Play with him

Be careful because changing your cat’s sleep schedule can make him aggressive at first, because he doesn’t sleep at the right time. Once his biological time is set, where his body is used to this routine, he will be fine. 

What can I do if my cat doesn’t let me sleep at night ? 

If you have tried all the steps I mentioned above, but it still doesn’t work, your cat disturbs you at night by meowing? Try increasing his food intake, maybe it’s because he’s hungry.

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Let your cat sleep next to you under the sheets. They love to sleep next to their owner and feel the warmth of the sheets with you. 

Another factor may be the nature of food he eats,  especially the use of additives or proteins in the formulations, which can cause cat  allergy and dermatitis. These diseases are sources of permanent irritation.

If the problem still exists, you should ask a cat behaviorist for help.

Is it dangerous if I let my cat alone at night ? 

Cats sometimes like to be alone, so it’s not dangerous to leave them home alone at night, besides they’ll spend half the night sleeping, the rest doing their stuff, so if you offer everything your cat needs, it won’t be dangerous , just keep in mind these few good practices  :

1- Available kibble at night

Cats have the same eating rhythm as sleeping. If you leave your cat alone at night, don’t forget his kibble which must be next to him all night long. The cat takes several meals per 24 hours. 

2- A clean litter

Before going out and letting your cat alone at night, you should make sure that it is safe and comfortable. One of the things that makes your cat comfortable is that its litter box is ready and clean. 

3- Cats night cage, is it okay ? 

The night cage is made only for very needed cases and only if it’ s necessary (aggressive cats).

 Your cat will certainly not like to be in a cage all night long! Instead of that you can prepare a room for him.

 You must first empty this room of your necessary objects that must be far from your cat, like plastic and chocolate that can cause intoxication to your cat- 

 The room must be almost empty except for the necessary objects for your cat, the litter box, his plate of kibble, some toys, and a little bit of light ( move the curtains a little bit). 

Cats night calling

It is very normal for a cat to meow when he needs something , so when your cat is waking you up during the night , it’s usually for one of these reasons : 

1- Your cat is hangry

In fact, cats should eat at night, your cat meows because he  is hungry, the kibble must be available for him all night.

2- He needs some attention

He needs affection, so you must play with him enough during the day. Or let it sleep beside you in your bed. 

your cat’s meowing can also be a :

3-  Sign of an aggression-causing disease like the ones I mentioned before.

4- Senility of the Senior Cat

The aged and weakened animal is often more anxious and sometimes more agitated. Senility can lead to a state of confusion with phases of hyperactivity: wandering with noisy and hoarse meowing, often at night. A medicated treatment exists, consult your veterinarian.

Do cats have nightmares?

Yes, cats have nightmares. Dreams and nightmares are part of sleep. When a cat moves its eyelids like humans do, fidgeting and shaking are signs that your cat is having a nightmare. 

However, nightmares are not the reason why your cat meows at night, it can follow you into bed if it is afraid, or meow very quietly 

Do cats like to go for night walks?

There is no problem for cats to walk around at night as long as they are not alone, you must accompany them. 

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Some cats find the pleasure of hunting at night , however, be sure not to leave a cat out all night.

It is enough for him/her to stay out for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Because they are looking for security and a safe home where they can take their naps. 

Hunting cats like the maine coon, the American shorthair, the Siberian, the Siamese and the moggies, like to hunt at night, because it makes the exit of their favorite insects (insects that follow the light at night, like the cicadas). 

Then there are other cats that come out and escape at night by frustration looking for mating, especially those that are not sterilized. 

Where can cats sleep at night?

Cats like to sleep in their beds, next to their owners, on sofas and armchairs, on soft carpets. But they have 2 favorite places, next to their owners under the same sheet, and their own beds. 

Pet cats don’t like to sleep outside, sure they like to spend some time outside doing their own stuff but they prefer to sleep at home or in a closed place to feel safe.

Even stray cats look for a safe and closed place to sleep because they are sensitive animals that are very afraid of danger. 

Avoid letting your cat in a cage. 

Are outdoor cats nocturnal?

Outdoor cats are used to not sleeping until sunrise. Because they move around as a herd . Unlike pet cats that try to follow the routine of their owners ( it’s because of their different conditions and environment) .

Do cats see well at night?

Yes, cats can see at night. Cats’ eyes glow at night, it is a substance that increases their visibility at night ; however, their ability to see at night is less than that of the day. 

Final Thoughts 

During 24 hours, cats sleep most of the time whether it’s during the day or at night, they keep napping, sleeping and waking up all the time. You can’t say that they are nocturnal because they spend time sleeping even at night.

 So they are semi nocturnal animals but crepuscular, that is to say they prefer not to sleep from sunset until dawn. But during this time they can also sleep, as there are cats that can not sleep all night depending on several factors; environment, stress, taking antibiotics, change of diet or disease. 

If you want him to sleep at night, keep him away from stress and try to make him active during the day so that he gets tired at night. 

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More