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Why Do Cats Stay Up All Night? The Interesting Answer!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

tabby cat at night

If you’re a cat owner, chances are you’ve been awoken at night by your cat at least once. Running about, jumping off furniture, and making noises are what most cat owners have had to deal with in the middle of the night, but why do cats do this? Do cats stay up all night? Your cat might seem to stay up all night because they’re crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk.

This instinctive wakefulness in the wee hours means that your cat will want to hunt, play, and expend energy during these times, making it seem like they’re running around all night. In reality, your cat will sleep at night for a time, but it will be for short bursts. Cats can spend up to 15 hours a day asleep and can have lots of energy left to spend in the twilight hours.

Do Cats Sleep All Night?

Cats don’t sleep all night usually since they have polyphasic sleep patterns. This means they have many cat naps over 24 hours rather than one long sleep like we do. Cats typically sleep after sunset and before sunrise in the middle of the night. They have similar sleep cycles to humans, including non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement. Cats can also dream.

tabby cat at night
Image By: Darkmoon_Art, Pixabay

Are All Cats Restless at Night?

Sometimes there are reasons your cat might be awake at night other than their crepuscular nature. For example, A lack of exercise during its waking time can lead to excess energy at night, so playing with your cat is essential to help expend some of this energy.

Health issues such as hypothyroidism can also cause increased excitability and wakefulness, along with weight loss and an increase in appetite. If you’re worried about these symptoms, speak to your vet.

Are Indoor Cats Crepuscular?

Evidence suggests that all cats (including indoor cats) are crepuscular due to their predatory natures. Because cats in the wild hunt to survive, they have to get the upper hand on their prey.

Prey, like mice and birds, have different sleep cycles than cats. Because a cat’s circadian rhythm (their internal biological clock) is set to wake them early in the morning before the sun rises, it allows them to take advantage of sleeping prey. This evolutionary quirk is carried on and expressed in domesticated cats today.

cat on a table at night
Image By: mariavp, Pixabay

Why Do Some Cats Sleep So Much?

Some cats, like some people, need more sleep than others. For example, it’s normal for older cats and kittens to sleep a lot more than adult cats because of the energy they have to expend. Kittens need all that energy for growth and often charge around to tire themselves out.

For elderly cats, their bodies’ processes are slowing down, and they need to conserve energy and exercise less. Some medical conditions, such as kidney disease, make your cat sleep more. If you’re worried about your cat sleeping too much, take it to your vet for a complete examination.


It’s normal for healthy cats to be more active at night, dawn, and dusk. They sleep in short bursts totaling 12 to18 hours a day, rather than one long slumber. As long as your cat is healthy, try adding more stimulating activities during the day, such as games or training, which will help to tire them out and hopefully lead to a full night’s sleep for them and you.

Featured Image Credit: Mookmixsth, Shutterstock

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