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How to Train a Cat to Sleep at Night: 5 Helpful Tips

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Cat sleeping

How to Train a Cat to Sleep at Night: 5 Helpful Tips

Your cat may sleep during the day, but once the sun goes down, they may start pouncing or playing, jumping all over. Whether you get up early or simply value your beauty sleep, this isn’t a fun way to spend the night.

The reason is simple: cats are crepuscular. They’re most active at dusk and dawn and sleep during the day. In the wild, this is to hunt their prey, but in the comfort of your home, that means toys, knickknacks, or your toes while you sleep.

Fortunately, you can train your cat to get on your sleep schedule and enjoy some rest and relaxation.

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The 5 Tips to Train a Cat to Sleep at Night

1. Try Keeping Your Cat Awake

One of the easiest ways to get your cat on a reasonable sleep schedule is to keep them from taking an afternoon nap. If you can keep your cat awake in the afternoon and evening, they may sleep fine once it’s time for bed. Playing games with your cat is a good way to tire them out and enjoy some bonding time.

Woman Playing with Cat Outdoors
Image Credit by: Helena Lopes, Pexels

2. Provide Enrichment While You’re Away

Sometimes, cats are up all night because they’re bored and lonely. If your cat is left alone all day while you’re at work, especially if you don’t have other cats or dogs, they may be bored and looking for playtime when you come home.

You can keep your cat entertained while you’re gone with techniques like:
  • Leaving the television on with nature shows or CatTV
  • Feeding your cat with a puzzle toy to make them work for it
  • Setting smart bowls to dispense treats at certain times

These can be great motivators but don’t go overboard with feeding. Instead of feeding extra food, use your cat’s dry food or reduce their intake to make sure the diet is balanced and your cat doesn’t put on weight.

3. Feed Your Cat at Bedtime

Cats tend to sleep when they’re done eating. If you offer your cat a meal at bedtime, you may get them to sleep a little easier. If your cat wakes you up early for food, setting an automatic pet feeder to deliver food is a good way to get some extra sleep while your cat indulges.

owner feeding his cat
Image Credit by: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

4. Keep Your Cat Out

If your cat is still active overnight, try locking them out of your bedroom or confining them to a separate space. Cats often do well in designated “cat spaces” that include food, water, some toys, and a litter box. It can take some time to get your cat used to being kept away, but eventually, they will adjust. Start with short periods of time so that your cat doesn’t experience anxiety over being confined.

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5. Don’t Give in to Demand

Cats may be active overnight, but your cat may just be seeking attention from you. If you respond by getting up and giving them food or playing, you’ve been inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. Worse yet, pushing your cat away when they try to play, or pounces turns into a fun game, teaching your cat how to get what they want.

Change the behavior by ignoring it. Your cat may respond by getting more persistent for a while, but they should settle into the new routine. If possible, prevent the behavior from happening by trying the other tips on this list.

cat playing with woman owner
Image Credit by: Oleg Ivanov, Unsplash

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If You Have a Senior Cat…

Older cats may not be awake all night because of their instincts. Senior cats that are restless and howling at night may be struggling with a medical issue causing it. Some of the symptoms may include howling at night, constant restlessness, pacing, or increased neediness.

If you think this is the case, have your cat seen by a veterinarian for an exam.

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Cats can be trained to sleep through the night, just like a dog, but it will take time, patience, and some interventions. Avoid punishing your cat for the behavior and teach them new habits so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Featured Image Credit: bones64, Pixabay

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