Our cats are rarely on our schedules. These feline friends of ours always have their own agenda. They’re jumping on cabinets, napping, or pouncing on their favorite toys at any hour of the day. You may be rather irritated that your cat is up to the craziest things at night...having you wonder – why does my cat run around the house at night?
It has many of us curious. There are actually a few reasons why our kitties like to exert the most energy when we’re sleeping.
Let’s answer the question: why does my cat run around the house at night?
Cats are ferocious little hunters
If there’s one thing that’s for certain, cats are hunters. Their wild cat ancestors left strong hunting genes in their DNA. So, cats are always alert and ready for action.
The thing is – domesticated cats aren’t trained to hunt for food anymore. They know very well that their bowl will be filled with cat food every day. But, that doesn’t mean their instincts go away. Cats still need to chase, pounce, and let all the energy out, even if it isn’t for their survival.
Cats are crepuscular animals
What comes with a cat’s hunting genes is its crepuscularity. It’s what?
Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk. This is another inherent trait that reminds us of their wild cat origins. Before cats were domesticated, they used to hunt primarily at dawn and dusk, times where human activity was less and it was much cooler at night. Cats lived in places in Africa and the Middle East, where temperatures could get seriously intense. And those unique eyeslits that cats have is another reason why they prefer these hunting times, too.
Now, our house cats may not have to deal with the scorching sun or the potential threat of humankind. Yet, they still stick to this crepuscular schedule. And, they have a method to it.
Our kitties don’t sleep as we do…
Cats are able to live their crepuscular lives because of their sleeping schedules. In other words, we call a quick nap a ‘cat nap’ for a reason…
Cats sleep around 16 hours a day. Yes, that’s pretty impressive. Yet, cats don’t sleep consecutive hours like us humans. Cats much rather take quick naps, throughout the day. This isn’t just because cats just like to sleep when they want – they do this instinctually.
Being hunters, cats are always alert. So, a deep multiple REM-cycle slumber is not in the books for them. Rather, cats prefer brief cat naps. During these rest periods, cats can still be aware of their surroundings. They can pop out of sleep and straight into a sprint if they feel threatened or sense something appetizing around the corner.
Ok, you may be wondering – what does this have to do with my cat’s craziness at night? Well, these little naps mostly happen in the daytime for cats. That means cats will expend the majority of this energy during dusk and dawn (and sometime in between.) Sadly, this is when we humans prefer to rest…
So, how do I keep my cat from running around the house at night?
There are a few tricks to get your cat to chill out at night. In a way, you have to treat your cat like a…kid! First off, keep your bedroom door closed. This will mute some of your cat’s ruckus, and keep your cat from waking you up at odd times of the night.
Another great idea is to try playing with your cat at night before you go to bed. This way, it helps your cat get out all their predatory energy. That means more cat naps, at night. It’s also a solid idea to feed your cat before bed too. This will keep your cat from creeping around at night, in search of food.
If you feel like your cat is acting out of character at night, it may be worth investigating. There are external explanations as to why your cat may be acting crazier than usual at night.
For cats that seem to be meowing more than usual at night, you should double-check your cat for fleas. Fleas can really irritate cats and cause them to cry for help. Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) is also a potential cause, which tends to affect older kitties more than younger ones.
Now, don’t panic – most of these causes are more on the rare side. Chances are, your cat is just exercising its natural instincts!
Are you someone asking – why does my cat run around the house at night? Trust us, we feel you! We hope these explanations help you find a balance with your feline friend, leading you to a better night’s rest!