Many cat owners ask how to stop my cat from running around at night? You know the story, it’s the middle of the night, and you’re lost in dreamland, enjoying your sleep. Suddenly, you wake to the sound of the vase on your coffee table crashing to the floor and smashing to a thousand pieces.
As you awake in a sleepy haze, you panic for a second, thinking there’s an intruder in your home. It’s then that your cat strolls into the room, partially soaked from the water in the vase.
They jump on the bed and walk up to you, sitting on the pillow to dry off. Well, at least it isn’t a burglar.
That’s the second time in three days your cat decided to wake you up in the middle of the night, and there’s a part of you that’s sure your cat is doing it on purpose to tick you off.
The reality is cats like romping round the house at night, chasing flying insects or shadows. As nocturnal animals, they are wide awake in the wee hours of the morning when you’re trying to rest.
You never thought cat ownership would be this frustrating, but your heart melts as your kitty starts rubbing its cheeks on your face. You can’t stay mad at your furry friend, but there must be some way you can stop them from running around at night?
Why Do Cats Run Around The House At Night?
As mentioned, cats are nocturnal animals. Cats’ circadian rhythms make them want to sleep during the day, preparing for the stalking and hunting session as the night rolls around.
Cats have large eyes and excellent night sight. It’s like your cats a member of SEAL Team 6, with night vision for catching any movement around your home in the pitch-black darkness.
Since you’re your cat’s best friend, it doesn’t understand why you want to sleep during its favorite part of the day. How many times have you been snoozing, only to wake up to your cat sitting on your head? Maybe you wake to find them sitting on your chest, staring at you?
This behavior is common in cats, and they won’t stop until you train it out of them.
Can I Change My Cats Nocturnal Behavior?
While cats prefer being active at night, it’s possible to train this behavior out of them. It’s better to start when they’re kittens, but you can train adult cats to adopt diurnal (daytime) behavior as well.
If you want to get your kitty to stop romping around the house at night, try these training tips.
Keep Your Kitty Awake During the Day
This tip seems practical, right? Keeping your kitty awake during the day tires them out at night, forcing them to start sleeping instead of running around the house.
When you’re at home on the weekend, pay attention to your cat. Whenever you see them sleeping during the day, wake them up and start playing with them.
The activity elevates your cat’s heart rate, engaging their mind and senses in the activity. So, when you’re done playing, your cat remains in an active state for a few hours afterward, and they won’t feel like sleeping.
Repeat this behavior whenever you catch your catnapping over the weekend. If you go to an office during the week, it’s a bit more challenging to play with them during the day because you’re not at home.
However, you can use the following tips during the week to keep the transition from nocturnal to diurnal behavior going.
Play with Your Cat Before Bed
If you can’t play with your cat during the day in the workweek, make sure you tire them out when you get home. Adopt the same play strategy, tiring your cat out before you go to bed. A short 10-minute play session is all it takes to get their heart rate up.
Make sure you initiate playtime an hour before going to bed; this strategy gives your cat time to wind down and feel the effects of sleepiness overcome their body and mind.
Keep the playtime going during the week, and boost your efforts on the weekend as described above.
Feed Your Cat Before Bed
Digestion takes up a significant amount of metabolic energy in your cat. After you finish your play session, feed your kitty.
The blood moves to the digestive system and away from the brain, making your cat less alert and prone to sleep. Combining playtime and dinner time at night helps with the transition from nocturnal to diurnal behavior.
Prepare their Sleeping Space
Before you turn in, check your cat’s sleeping space—some cats like sleeping in a bed but would rather sleep in yours if you let them.
Cats behave strangely when they sleep with you. Many decide to sleep on your head or chest because they want to remain as close to your as possible.
Should I Keep My Cat In A Separate Room Overnight?
To train your car out of this behavior of sleeping in your bed, you’ll need to put your cat in a separate room at night. Place their bed in the lounge, along with all their toys. Make sure they have some food and water available if they feel hungry or thirsty at night.
Turning another room in your home into a cattery is a great way to get your kitty to stay out of your bedroom at night.
Your cat might protest you locking them out of your bedroom for the first few nights. However, after a few days, the protest will get less frequent – just don’t give in to your cat’s protests in the initial few days, and they’ll eventually stop moaning.
It might cost you a few sleepless nights to help your cat make the transition of sleeping at night outside of your room. However, after they understand their new living situation, it makes all your effort worthwhile.
Some owners might find that despite their efforts, their cat keeps coming into the bedroom at night. If that’s the case for you, try using a repellant to prevent your cat from crossing the threshold to your room.
Cats can’t stand citrus smells. Placing lemon and orange peels on the threshold will deter your cat from entering your bedroom.
However, peeling oranges and lemons every day isn’t very practical. Visit an online retailer, and purchase an automatic cat-sprayer device. These motion-activated devices sit at your doorway, with sensors that detect the movement of your cat approaching the room.
When the cat gets within striking distance, the sensor activates a spray device, shooting a jet of water at your cat. Your cat will despise this action, and they won’t enter your room.
What Do I Do If My Cat Won’t Stop Meowing at Night?
If you’re training your kitty to sleep in another room, they might protest during the first week. As mentioned, your cat loves you, and it wants to hang out all the time when you’re at home, especially at night.
Therefore, it’s common for cats to start mewing for you at night, right as you’re trying to get to sleep. This behavior is especially common if you’re using deterrents like motion-sensor sprays to keep them out of the room.
The reality is, your cat gets bored easily, and if they have nothing to do and they can’t get into your room, they’re likely to sit and complain. Some cats may even sit just outside of the range of the spray device, mewing incessantly to catch your attention.
If that’s the case with your kitty, you might have to close your bedroom door. Wearing earplugs when you go to bed also helps you ignore your protesting feline.
Persistence Pays Off
It takes some time to train the nocturnal behavior out of your cat. Most cat owners find they get results in two to three weeks, provided they remain consistent with their efforts.
If you cave into your cat’s demands, it lets them know that they can adopt that exact behavior to get you to do what it wants. So, make sure you don’t give in to your cat’s demands, or it’s back to square one with your training.
The reality is it’s going to be a rough few weeks while you get your cat to transition from nocturnal to diurnal behavior.
However, it’s all worth it in the end. Eventually, your cat will change its behavior, and you won’t have to deal with them running around the house at night anymore.
Wrapping Up – Make Sure Your Lock The Cat Flap
If you have a cat flap on your front door, you must lock it at night. If your cat can find an escape hatch, they’ll take it when they start to feel bored during your training transition.
If they escape through the cat flap at night, their behavior changes to leave the house. When cats are outdoors at night, they can get into fights with other cats and end up causing a ruckus in your yard.
Locking the flap at night also prevents other cats from entering your home to play with your kitty.