Nocturnal Cats – How To Stop The Night Time Crazies

A common complaint among cat lovers is that their cats keep them awake on a night. We hope to address how you can change your cat’s sleeping habits so that you are all in sync.

The cat’s sleep cycle

It is important to understand that cats are naturally crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn. Humans are diurnal, meaning we typically are awake during the daytime and sleep at night. The aim is to re-train your cat to follow a similar sleep pattern to you.

What can I do to re-train my cat to sleep through the night?

  • Immediately after playing with your cat, feed him a high protein meal. This
    mimics what happens in the wild. Ie: stalking, hunting, killing and eating the prey.
  • Discourage catnapping, especially in the early evening.
  • Start as you plan to continue. If you want to discourage cats from sleeping in your bedroom, it is easier to start from day one.
  • Close your bedroom door.
  • Get your cat a playmate. If your cat is home alone during the day, he may be more inclined to while away the hours by sleeping. If he has somebody to play with, he may be more active.
  • Schedule play during the daytime/early evening hours. Interactive toys are the best for this so that your cat can satisfy his hunting skills find something he can stalk, chase and finally capture.

What you should not do

  • Get up and play or feed your cat. This reinforces that disruptive behaviour will result in a
    reward, therefore they will continue to do so.
  • Use physical punishment on the cat. Not only is this cruel, but it will only serve to instil fear in your cat. Which is not the kind of relationship you want with your cat. If you are having problems with your cat scratching at the bedroom door try ticking some aluminium foil or bubble wrap over it as cats don’t like the feel. Confine your cat to another room such as the laundry (obviously put in food, water, and a comfy bed).
  • Re-training your cat may take time. With patience, it should be possible for you to get a good night’s rest.


If this wakeful behaviour is new it is worth having the cat checked over by a veterinarian as there could be an underlying medical reason for a change in routine.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio