How do I get my cat to sleep all night?

People are asking how they can get their cat to sleep all night. I am going to disappoint anyone who is looking for a quick, easy answer. The answer lies with the human to adjust rather than forcing their cat to change.

How do I get my cat to sleep all night?
Photo (adjusted) from Pinterest.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

A similar question using the human as the species would be, “How do I get my human to sleep all day?” It goes against the grain. It is unnatural to try and get your cat to sleep at night and I would doubt that you will consistently succeed unless you drug your cat.

Inherited Natural Feline Behavior

You are trying to alter a domestic cat’s basic inherited behavior (inherited from the cat’s wild cat ancestor). Humans naturally sleep at night while we know that domestic cats like to be active at night and often sleep during the day. In fact domestic cats can be active and sleep during any part of the day or night but tend to be active in the early hours of the day and late in the evening (crepuscular behavior). You can’t change this substantially and you don’t really want to.

This strong difference in behavior between the domestic cat and human is something which cat owners should to get used to. After a while you’ll sleep through it and your cat should do his own thing without bothering you. It is a minor barrier to a successful relationship. If a cat is howling at night that is a different proposition.

Cats Can Learn

Domestic cats do get used to human behavior and often fit in. My cat sleeps on my bed for a large part of the night but is also in an out of the cat flap during the night. You learn to ignore it and live with it. That’s the best solution. To try and force unnatural behaviour on your domestic cat is unwise.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Personally, and I’ll accept the thoughts of others of course, I don’t think it is either wise or sensible to shut your cat out of the bedroom at night. It does not seem right to me. Your cat will want to sleep near you because it is enjoyable. Why take away this enjoyment from your cat? It is the cat owner’s job to make their cat as happy as possible.

What You Might Do

They (‘experts’) say that you can feed your cat’s main meal just before bedtime. This may slow him down as will lots of play. But I’d doubt the end result will be to the satisfaction of cat owners who complain that their cat is too active at night.

Perhaps having two cats might reduce the disruption from cat activity during the night as they can keep each other company rather than look to their human companion for company. But as mentioned a domestic cat will normally get used to their owner being asleep during the night and non-responsive and get on with their own thing until 4 am when she’ll prod and poke you to wake you up!

There was a time years ago when people ‘put their cat out at night’. I can see the reason. In other words the cat was locked out at night. This is not wise either by modern standards and neither is is conducive to good cat welfare and safety.

I welcome the views of others on this topic.

2 thoughts on “How do I get my cat to sleep all night?”

  1. I like the way that the cats come to see me for a little chat and some fuss when I am rattling with insomnia. Sometimes, I swear they hear my eyes open.

    My night time chums make the night less lonely when I am the only person in the house awake.

    I wouldn’t change their sleeping habits for the world

    Reply

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