By their nature, cats are nocturnal animals and cats in the wild hunt during the night, when their natural prey is active. Our housecats, even the most pampered and well-fed ones, often retain this instinct to be active after dark.
To further compound the situation in many households, the human family is away all day, leaving their pets home alone. Many cats spend the day snoozing and their ‘day’ begins when everyone has returned home.
The “midnight crazies” is an apt description for the spurt of wild energy that many cats get in the middle of the night. During the midnight crazies, the cat may be content with running around the house or playing with cat toys, or may try to get her human family to join in the game by pouncing on beds or attacking moving body parts.
This late night activity tends to be more common in young cats or kittens who have lots of energy and have not yet adapted to the sleep routine of their human family.
Whatever the cause, the midnight crazies can be annoying to the human family, and the sooner you can break your cat of the habit, the better. One of the best things you can do is take time to play with your cat at more appropriate times during the day or evening. The cat that is kept busy and active during the evening is more likely to sleep through the night when the rest of the family is resting.
Just like you would do with a young child, do not play with a young cat right late at night since this will often get the kitten all charged up for more games. It’s also a good idea to put your cat’s toys away and otherwise cat-proof your home before going to bed so that there is less temptation for the cat to get into mischief.
If your cat does wake you up in the middle of the night, it is important not to encourage the behavior. This means that you should not cuddle the cat that wakes you up in the middle of the night, or otherwise join in the game, since that will only teach your furry friend how to get your undivided attention.
For tips on how to modify your cat’s behavior and stop the ‘midnight crazies’ see the article called “Nocturnal Activity in Cats” in the Pet Health Section of our Website, or call the clinic for specific advice.
Keep in mind that it’s unrealistic to think your cat should sleep all night if you haven’t taught her to do so or if you haven’t met her need for play during other times in the day. Remember, cats need recreation and sleep, just as humans do. The trick is coordinating your schedules so both you and your pet can be happy.
Caution: These news items, written by Lifelearn Inc., are licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn Inc. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by our clinic veterinarian.