We’ve all been there at one time or another: awakened from a dead sleep by a playful or hungry kitty. Contrary to what we’ve been led to believe, though, cats aren’t nocturnal. Felines are actually crepuscular. That means they are prone to be most active at dusk and dawn, but yes, sometimes, kitty can get rambunctious in the middle of the night. When that happens, it’s usually a sign that kitty needs something from you. And thankfully, it’s something you can correct with a just a bit of patience and maybe some extra play.
Make sure kitty is getting enough play time. If your cat is waking you up because he’s playful, it’s likely that he’s not getting enough stimulation. He needs some mental and physical exercise, and if you engage him in interactive play just before your bedtime, you’ll likely tucker him out for a few hours, so you can get some shuteye. Our Wiggly Wand and variety of attachments is a great interactive toy that can be used in a variety of ways to engage your cat. And don’t forget to change out toys regularly to keep him interested.
Change up your kitty’s feeding schedule. If you’ve ever taken a nap after Thanksgiving dinner, you know how sleepy a cat might feel after a big meal. Give him his main meal or a few special treats just before bedtime. If kitty is prone to waking you early for feeding, put some dry food in puzzle feeders or on plates scattered around the house so that he can forage at night. It hones their hunting skills and may help you to get a little more shut-eye.
Try new toys or new scents. Give kitty a few new toys to play with at night. If he’s not too keen on them at first, try a sprinkle of silvervine or another cat attractant to keep him interested. Our newest product, the Little Puff, comes with a dusting of silvervine powder and can be reactivated any time kitty needs a little encouragement. The small cloud resembles prey like the little mice cats are so fond of fetching, carrying, playing, and hiding. Plus, it’s a soft, plush toy that won’t make noise, even on hardwood or tile floors.
Set up a midnight playground. For this, all you need is some spare boxes and toys or treats. Simply cut holes in the boxes or use them to make tunnels. Then hide food or toys for your cat to find. You could also try cat videos for your frisky felines to watch. These TV programs can be found on streaming services and offer a variety of sensory experiences for cats, from clips of typical prey in nature to laser pointer simulators. Even a night light might help him to navigate the darkness. Even though a cat's eyesight is better than ours at night, they still don't see well in total darkness, especially older kitties.
Use your imagination. Anything that gets a cat to scavenger during the night will work. Make a tent. Put out a warming blanket. Try a new bed or cat cave. Hide kitty’s favorite treat or toy in a new place, like a timed feeder. Keep in mind, it might take some trial and error to see what works best for your cat. Just like learning your cat’s play style or picking out the best food, you’ll need the patience to get it right. But it’s an easy trade-off for all the cuddles, purrs, and play we get from our feline companions over the years. They are part of the family, after all.