How to Calm a Cat Down at Night: 9 Possible Ways
It is not uncommon for some cats to get a bit rambunctious during the night. Rather than being nocturnal, cats are crepuscular animals that tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, but this can certainly extend into the wee hours of the morning.
Whether it’s their rowdiness keeping you from getting a full night’s rest or your cat is just hungry or seeking out your attention in the middle of the night, you would probably prefer to get in a full night of uninterrupted sleep. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can try to balance out your cat’s needs and your own. Here are a few tips on how to keep your cat calm during the night.
The 9 Possible Ways to Calm a Cat Down at Night
1. Set Aside Playtime Before Bed
- Laser Pointers
- Puzzle Toys
- Hide and Seek
- Prey Chasing with Toy Mice or Balls
- Pole or Wand Toys
Cats are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. If your cat takes it to the next level and likes staying up all night causing a ruckus, one thing to try is keeping them active with lots of play right before you go to bed.
Depending on what time you need to sleep, try, and carve out some time within a couple of hours beforehand to tire them out. If you keep them bouncing around and preoccupied with toys and activities, you may just convince them to go to bed around the same time you do, and just maybe you will be able to sleep peacefully.
In addition to keeping your kitty calm at night time, daily play has a ton of benefits for your cat. Play stimulates their natural instincts and provides their needed enrichment and mental stimulation. According to experts, playtime can reduce their anxiety, prevent destructive behavior, improve their mental health, and even increase their lifespan.
2. Stay on a Routine
- Feed adult cats twice per day at the same time (ideally right before bed)
- Set aside playtime for certain times each day
- Set aside time for bonding (snuggling, brushing, etc.)
- Clean the litter box on the schedule
Most households have a set routine throughout the week to keep up with work and/or school schedules. It’s a good idea to keep any pets in the home comfortable in your routine as well. For cats that like to stay up at night, having them get used to a routine can help change their own schedule to suit yours.
The best way to establish a routine is to feed them at specific times each day and set aside time for play, as mentioned above. If you provide some evening playtime followed by a hearty meal, your cat will be much more likely to snooze rather than romp around the house or pester you as you try and get a good night’s sleep.
Keeping on a routine isn’t just beneficial for you, it is also beneficial for your cat(s). Cats thrive on routine and rely on predictability in their life. Most cats experience stress and anxiety with any changes to a normal routine.
3. Try Using Pheromone Spray
By now, you may have heard that pheromone spray is highly effective for some cats. There have even been studies that have proven the positive effects that pheromone sprays can have on certain kitties. These synthetic pheromones are odorless for humans and mimic the natural calming pheromones that cats give off when they are feeling happy, safe, and secure.
Most owners opt to try pheromone spray for a wide variety of reasons including travel, visits to the veterinarian, combating destructive behavior or spraying, and relieving anxiety and stress. Trying out a spray or diffuser may just help keep your cat calm at nighttime and allow you both to sleep. Keep in mind that this may not work for all cats, but it’s worth giving it a try and these products come in a reasonable price range.
4. Make Sure They Have a Comfortable Place to Sleep
It’s no secret that cats love to spend time snoozing, from 15 to 20 hours a day. So, you must provide them with a comfortable place to rest. If your kitty is being a bit much for you in the middle of the night, getting them a cozy, secure cat bed may work wonders.
Individual cats will have different preferences, but overall cats enjoy a nice, safe place up off the ground to tucker away and get some much-needed napping in. There is no shortage of cat beds, hammocks, and tower options on the market, our favorite of course is the cat pod bed.
5. Turn on Some Classical Tunes or Some Cat Music
Did you know that turning on certain music has been proven to reduce stress in cats? There have been quite a few different studies that have shown promise for both classical and cat-specific music promoting relaxation.
So, what is cat-specific music exactly? It is music that is created using the same frequencies and tempos that mimic their own vocalizations. Overall, cat-specific music takes the cake for being the best choice, but classical music had some great results, too.
6. Feed Your Cat Before Bed
If your cat gets hunger pangs in the middle of the night, you can rest assured they are coming to find their human if there’s no food available for scavenging. To keep your cat’s appetite from waking you up in the middle of the night, try feeding them right before you go to bed.
This goes hand-in-hand with setting a routine that includes feeding. If you can make this a nightly habit, your cat is unlikely to have any issue going the entire night without any more food. If you have trouble feeding your cat at specific times due to your schedule, try investing in an automatic feeder. These feeders can be set to dispense at certain times, and you can automatically control them from your smartphone.
7. Keep Toys Accessible
You should always have toys easily accessible to keep your kitty entertained even while you are away. If you keep toys put up, it won’t give your cat the chance to keep themselves entertained. If they can spend some of their days getting some of their energy out, you may be in luck for nighttime.
If you have the space, you could even create a cat room just for toys and cat furniture. This would provide their own little safe haven and entertainment room all in one. In addition, it would keep the rest of the house from being filled with toys, tunnels, and various forms of feline entertainment. Just make sure to have a rotation of toys instead of always having the same ones available. This helps to maintain their reinforcement value and prevents your cat from getting bored of them.
8. Shut Your Bedroom Door
If your cat tends to get needy at night, try shutting your bedroom door and removing access to you entirely during the night. This may not work for all cats, as some will keep you up by scratching at the door and vocalizing, begging to get in to see you. That would defeat the whole purpose, after all.
If you have a cat that will just take a closed-door for what it is, you may just be in luck! Of course, we know it is hard to miss out on those beloved kitties’ snuggles, so if you desire to have your cat as your bedtime snuggle buddy, this option probably won’t be your ideal choice.
9. Get Your Cat a Friend
If you’ve heard the expression “the more the merrier,” that may just be the solution to your problem. If your cat is all over you at nighttime, it may be because they are a bit lonely and are seeking out attention. If you have more than one cat, they may just buddy up and keep each other company.
Of course, we know how cats can be finicky about who they share their home with, so you’ll need to consider your cat’s personality. What better excuse to get yourself a new cat though? If this is a consideration, try reaching out to your local animal shelter or cat rescue, as they are sure to have plenty of lovable kitties available for adoption.
Being kept up at night by your cat may be frustrating, but there are plenty of things you can try to tire them out and keep them calm during the night. There may not be a one size fits all approach, but these tips are sure to help along in the process.
If you ever feel that your cat’s behavior at night is abnormal or could be cause for concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for an examination. It’s best to rule out any health conditions or behavioral issues so that you can get this problem solved quickly and efficiently.
Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock