My cat Fred has been waking up at all hours of the night meowing, running around, and creating a lot of noise. It’s been difficult to get a good night’s sleep, can you help?
Most cats tend to be nocturnal animals, meaning that they rest and sleep during the day, preferring to be more active at night. Although cats do need an average of 14-16 hours a day of sleep, some cats may sleep more or less than this amount depending on their age, activity level, health, breed etc. It sounds like your kitty Fred may have decided that a nocturnal schedule is the best way to go.
To help your cat transition to a diurnal schedule, more active during the day and resting or sleeping at night, you may want to start with providing more exercise and playtime during the day. This could include engaging Fred with long wand toys, letting Fred chase after small felt toys of various shapes and sizes, or providing Fred with a window hammock or cat tree allowing Fred to watch the birds and squirrels outside. Engaging Fred in this way will provide much needed mental and physical stimulation during the day, also tiring Fred so that he sleeps more at night. If you have a busy work schedule, try to incorporate play time before and after work, and leave out some puzzle toys for Fred to work on while you’re gone.
Once it’s time for bed, remove the toys that may be laying around so that Fred doesn’t decide in the middle of the night that it’s playtime. Instead try to provide Fred with a wind down routine, by putting away the toys and turning on some relaxing music if needed. Some cats may become hungry during the night and providing a little extra food before bed can help curb their appetite until their morning breakfast. The transition from active during the night to active during the day is a gradual process but in the long run will eventually bring you a better night’s sleep.