It’s midnight, do you know where your cat is?

If your cat wanders your home at midnight, you need only listen to her noise to see where she is and what she’s doing. If she suddenly ceases her late-night activities and sometimes remains in hiding day and night, it could be a sign that she needs medical attention.

Nighttime wandering runs in the family

Like your pet’s wild feline cousins, cats are nocturnal creatures. Tigers and lions sleep 18 to 20 hours per day. They roam the wild from night ‘til dawn. Your house cat is a heavy sleeper as well. She rests up to 16 hours a day. That means she’s wide awake and ready for fun just as you’re preparing to fall asleep.

A cat’s nighttime search for excitement often involves rousing her pet parents. That could mean non-stop meowing, slipping her paws beneath your bedroom door to play, or scratching your upholstered furniture to get your attention. If you sleep with your door open, your nighttime wanderer may take a stroll across your bed.

A nocturnal cat will make sure you know exactly where she is… even at midnight. If her relentless nighttime activity prevents you from getting the sleep you need, you have several ways to discourage her behavior.

  • No attention: If you give your cat attention at inappropriate times, you’ll encourage her to repeat unwanted behaviors.
  • No food: Feeding your cat in the middle of the night just reinforces the bad behavior. If your cat only eats late at night, consider an automatic feeder.
  • No entry: Close your door. An open door is an invitation for your cat to come in and play.
  • Daytime activities: Daytime activities encourage nighttime sleep.

What if your cat stops coming out at night?

If your cat suddenly stops her late-night stalking behavior, she may have a physical or emotional issue that requires attention. This can happen for several reasons.

  • You moved to a new location and she feels disoriented.
  • You have a new pet or a new human living in your home.
  • She’s afraid of something or someone.
  • She has a medical condition affecting her desire to run and play.
  • Your cat is beginning to slow down because she’s a senior.

While you might appreciate that your cat no longer ruins your sleep, it’s important to track any sudden nighttime behavioral changes and contact your veterinarian to discuss your concerns.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Call us if you have questions about your cat’s nighttime habits. We’ll help you decide if she needs medical attention. You can reach us at (860) 228-4324 or visit our contact page.