Are Cats Nocturnal?

Cats brighten our lives from the moment we bring them home. However, they bring a slew of strange habits and behaviors that are difficult to comprehend. Cucumbers are still a mystery, and we’ve only developed a handful of theories about cats’ eternal love for cardboard boxes.

As night falls, we realize there’s still more to learn about our mysterious family cat. A cat’s evening routine often includes snooping around the house, searching for cuddles, snacks, and playmates as the family prepares to retire together as a unit for the night. But are cats nocturnal? Cats may be nocturnal based on this sudden burst of activity at night. But, on the other hand, our lives with them may be affected by this. 

Do you believe that cats are primarily nocturnal animals, spending the day sleeping and then waking up at night? Does your cat awake all night? When Kitty is scurrying around your room while you’re trying to sleep, it’s easy to think so. Many cat owners do so, too. However, what does the scientific evidence tell us?

To the chagrin of their sleeping owners, memes about cats having fun at all hours of the night are a common sight on the internet. Is it true that cats are night owls?

We’ll answer all your questions and explore this unusual cat behavior in this article.

Are Cats Nocturnal or Crepuscular?

Are Cats Nocturnal or Crepuscular

Cats are known to nap during the day and save their playful antics for the wee hours of the night when their favorite humans are most likely to pay attention to their meows. Because of this, you might assume your cat is a nocturnal animal. The peak hours for their activity tend to be in the early morning and late evening, but this isn’t always the case.

So, are cats nocturnal animals? No. Cats, unlike badgers and hamsters, are not nocturnal, which is good. According to Trupanion, they are crepuscular, which means they are most active at night and in the early morning hours. If your cat does not stop meowing, it can be a bit of a hassle in the spring and summer, when “dawn” can mean as early as 4 a.m.

Because they evolved in a desert, many animals like cats are crepuscular to take full advantage of the day’s cooler temperatures. Cats can take advantage of the fact that sunrise and dusk are prime hunting times for prey animals like rabbits. Crepuscular cats relax around, take dreamy naps, and sleep in the middle of the day to escape the heat and stay cool. They become much more active in the early morning or evening. 

Crepuscular critters are distinct from diurnal and nocturnal critters. Nocturnal animals are most active at night, while diurnal animals are most active during the day. Some cats that are known to be nocturnal are crepuscular.

It’s worth noting here that moonlit nights and dour, cloudy weather can tempt the crepuscular cat into action, indicating that daytime activity isn’t entirely off the table for the crepuscular cat!

If you look closely at your cat’s eyes, you’ll notice a retina with a slit pattern. Nocturnal and some crepuscular animals have this trait because it allows the most light into a darkened environment. We can see better in the illumination than in the dark because our eyes are shaped like a sphere, so it’s difficult to find our cats in a dark room!

Ambush predators tend to have eyes with vertical slits. This kind of hunting behavior in cats involves finding a place where prey is likely to congregate, waiting, and then pouncing. In the wee hours of the morning, you’ll often discover a playful kitty hopping on your bare toes.

Why Are Cats Nocturnal?

Why Are Cats Nocturnal

Evolution has fine-tuned your cat’s sleeping schedule, which may seem strange to us, to help their wild ancestors become successful hunters. It was easier to creep up on their prey when it was dark, so they hunted at first light and then at dusk, which was the most efficient time for these ancestors to get food. Recharging their batteries in the daytime would allow them to be ready for another night of hunting when darkness fell again. That is why cats are more energetic in the early hours.

African Wildcats, which are nocturnal cats, are thought to be the ancestors of domestic cats today and are therefore regarded as the first tamed cats. Like other nocturnal predators such as lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs, and leopards, African wildcats stalk their prey.

Whether wild or domestic, Cats were born with the ability to see in the dark. Have you ever noticed that your cat’s eyes glow during the night? Nocturnal cat eyes are caused by an additional layer of tissue that is reflective under the retina, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

This is common in animals that are active at night. Even though domesticated cats no longer have to search for food, they still may indulge in some of their instincts at night. During the night, do cats rest?

Even though domestic cats sleep anywhere between 16 to 20 hours a day, sleep is usually not uninterrupted, especially at night. As a result, they may be able to alternate between falling asleep and being active throughout the night.

The sleep patterns of our beloved felines haven’t changed much over time, despite their evolution from the savages they once were. Domestic cats have adjusted their schedules to better fit in with their owners’ waking hours. 

Are All Cats Nocturnal?

Domestic cats, in general, are more active in the evenings and mornings than they are at night. As a result, cats prefer to sleep during the day, especially during the height of the summer sun and are most active during the twilight hours of the morning and evening.

According to Healthy Paws, big cats in the wild (lions, tigers, etc.) from which our domestic feline companions descended tend to be nighttime predators. Like those of domesticated cats, the eyes of the wild cats are designed to see in both higher and lower light levels. Your cat’s nighttime habits are an indication that they’ve discovered their inner lion and are ready to take the world by storm!

How to Deal With Nocturnal Cats?

Here are some tips for coping with our nocturnal feline friends and making your cat sleep at night.

Cats may not be nocturnal creatures, but their nocturnal schedule keeps our lives interesting nonetheless. Here’s how to deal with a cat who keeps you up all night.

Before Going to Sleep, Have Some Fun Together

Play your cat’s favorite games with them right before bed to use up all of their energy. Avoid the cat nap. Your tablet or smartphone can be an excellent interactive toy for your cat, but sharp claws and phone screens aren’t always a good mix, so keep that in mind. In addition, some cats enjoy a good game of fetch.

With this strategy, you want your children to have a lot of fun during the day to sleep peacefully at night, rather than constantly looking for your presence.

Don’t Give a Second Thought To Their Actions

How early in the mornings does your cat keep you awake? Handling your cat’s behavior and surroundings can help you both achieve long-term success. By ignoring it, you may be able to stop it from happening. Our first instinct is to either tell the cat off or consent to their efforts and leave the bed, often giving the cat food to calm them down.

But ignoring the cat’s pleas for attention or food may teach them that there is no point in continuing this behavior. They will eventually determine to give it up for more fascinating adventures that don’t involve trying to wake their owner up.

Before You Put Your Cat to Bed, Give Him a Small Meal

Feeding your cat before you go to bed can also help prevent your cat’s nocturnal activities. Cats tend to fall asleep shortly after eating, so shifting supper to later may help. When a child has a full stomach, most of their body’s energy goes toward digestion, leaving them with a bit of leftover for mischief at night. And if you feed your cat before you go to sleep, they may be less likely to keep you awake while you’re sleeping because they won’t be hungry.

Make Sure Your Cat Doesn’t Sleep in Your Bed.

A simple solution to your cat waking you up in the middle of the night is to keep them out of your room at night and manage cat naps. After reading this, you won’t even question whether or not your cat is nocturnal. When it’s bedtime, move your pet to a different room. Keep them occupied and out of your bedroom at night by providing them with food, water, and toys (and a litter box if they are confined).

This will keep them from barging into your room and disturbing you while you sleep. Learning more about the strange feline sprawled on your couch is right up at the top of your to-do list if you’re a cat lover.

Final Words

It is not uncommon for house cats and kittens to stay up late to roam and discover their surroundings. It can be a real pain when you can’t sleep, but you have to keep in mind that your cat isn’t intentionally keeping you awake.

If you can’t get your cat to sleep at night, try shutting her in a different room and following our advice above, as stress can exacerbate any situation. She may give up and let you sleep peacefully once she realizes that she can’t get her way during the night.

The best way to ensure your pet has some peace at night is to provide them with entertainment and toys, spend quality time with them, and discuss any concerns with your veterinarian.