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Why Won’t My Cat Sleep at Night?


If your cat won’t sleep at night, you’re not alone. A lot of cat owners notice that their kitties appear to be up and at ‘em in the wee hours of the night, despite the fact that the lights are out and you’re curled up in bed. The good news is that there are a few reasonable explanations why your kitty is doing this — and experts are speaking up about them to help both you and your feline get a good night’s rest.

Veterinarian Marty Becker, DVM, explains in an article for VetStreet that the main reason why cats stay up all night has a lot to do with their stellar eyesight. Becker writes, “Cats have night vision that puts any man-made invention to shame. When you think about that, it’s not surprising that a lot of cats, especially young ones, love prowling about in the dark. If you have other plans (such as sleeping), they really don’t care. It’s showtime at the Cat Cabaret!”

But it’s not just natural night vision that plays a role in keeping cats up in the darkest hours. According to Catster magazine, some additional reasons why a cat might be restless around bedtime include the feeling of boredom, bad sleeping habits in general, and a need for attention from the owner (hmm, the last one sounds especially familiar!). 

In certain cases, it’s possible that your cat who won’t sleep might be sick. You definitely want to pay attention if nighttime restlessness is new behavior for your pet, especially if he or she is exhibiting other symptoms of any kind. If so, definitely take your kitty to the vet as soon as possible.

However, in most situations, it’s likely that the cat is just being a cat. As you may be aware, cats are natural predators, so it makes sense that they’d go hunting for their prey late at night — even if their prey just turns out to be a mouse-shaped toy. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with constant meowing and prowling every evening if you can’t stand it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are a few different tricks you can try to help your cat sleep at night.

First off, it’s important to make sure your kitty is getting enough exercise during the day. Pets tend to sleep better after they’ve stretched their legs a bit — much like their human companions. Secondly, it’s a good idea to keep your reaction in check if you do catch your cat out and about during the late hours; if you get angry or upset, that type of attention is likely to make the feline even more excited and less likely to snooze. And as much as we all like to catch zzzs with our cats, it might be worth trying to put your cat to bed in another room. Sometimes, these little darlings can have disrupted rest when they sleep with their humans, especially if their owners toss and turn a lot.

Of course, if your cat continues to have trouble falling asleep at night or getting enough sleep in general, mention it to your vet so you can discuss the best options for handling it. Let’s make sure our precious pets get the best catnaps they possibly can!

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