Five important things
- Cats are generally more active around dawn and dusk
- Does your cat wake you up early in the morning? This is a normal cat behaviour!
- Cats Protection recommends keeping your cat indoors at night to keep them safe
- Sadly, road traffic accidents or fatalities involving cats are more likely to happen at night
- Cats kept indoors can become restless. Playing with them can help to keep them stimulated mentally
Why is my cat awake at night?
Cats are naturally more active during dawn and dusk - kittens and young cats in particular. If you look at the behaviour of cats in the wild, such as the African wildcat which shares ancestry with our pet cats, they are crepuscular - meaning they're more active during dawn and dusk. A prime time to hunt for rodents and other small prey, it's no surprise that cats spend most of their time roaming around at night.
Why does my cat wake me up in the morning?
Most cat owners will be familiar with their cat trying to wake them up in the early hours of the morning - either by miaowing or pawing at their face!
While this behaviour can be annoying and endearing in equal measures, this is usually a normal part of being a cat. While cats have adapted over time to fit in with the waking patterns of humans, many will still be easily woken at the first sight of a sunrise.
If you're concerned about the four-legged furry alarm clock in your house, there are a few things you can do
- Rule out any medical issues. Some medical conditions cause cats to wake up in the night, cry excessively or feel restless and disorientated. Try not to tell your cat off for waking you up at night
- they could be trying to tell you that they're unwell - Finding out your cat's motivation to wake you up could be helpful. Are they waking because they're hungry? Try feeding them smaller and more regular meals during the day to stave off hunger, or install an automatic feeder to open during the night or early morning
- Provide your cat with plenty of play during the day to use up their excess energy. A fishing rod toy should do the trick!
Of course, if you're really struggling for sleep, visit your vet to get a referral to a qualified behaviourist to identify the underlying reason for your cat's night-time waking. Visit the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (www.apbc.org.uk) for more advice.