Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Are Cats Daytime Or Night Time Creatures?

Most animals appear to be either diurnal, like humans, horses, dogs etc, or nocturnal, like owls and bats.

Cats don't seem to care either way; are they unique in this?

Cats are crepuscular, liking dawn and dusk for hunting and most activities, and sleeping in the middle of the day and night. Domestic cats have the possibility of being different, but even so, many owners find their cats wake them shortly before dawn by exiting noisily through the cat flap, especially on fine summer mornings. Many animals follow this crepuscular pattern, especially stealth hunters, as prey is easier to catch when it can't see you as well – most crepuscular animals have good sight in dim light.

Problems with your cat at night? Cats keeping their owners awake at night can be a common complaint.

The cats sleep cycle: Cats tend to sleep during the day and are active at night. Humans are diurnal, meaning we are usually awake during the daytime and sleep at night. This can cause problems!

Some possible solutions:
  • Play with your cat during the daytime/early evening hours. Interactive toys are the best for this so that your cat can satisfy their hunting skills.
  • Use something they can stalk, chase and finally capture.
  • After playing with your cat feed them a high protein meal as this would simulate what happens in the wild. (Hunting down, killing and eating their prey)
  • Discourage catnapping, especially in the early evening.
  • If you don’t want your cats sleeping in your bedroom, it is easier to start from day one. Close your bedroom door.
  • Get your cat a playmate. If your cat is at home alone during the day, they may be more inclined to while away the hours by sleeping. If they have somebody to play with, they may be more active.
What you should not do:
  • One common mistake owners make with cats that wake them at night is to get up and play or feed them. This re-enforces that the behaviour will result in a reward, and therefore they will continue to do so.
  • NEVER use physical punishment on the cat. Not only is this cruel, but it will only serve to instil fear in your cat.
  • If you are having problems with your cat scratching at the bedroom door try sticking some aluminium foil or bubble wrap over it as cats don't like the feel.
  • Confine your cat to another room such as the laundry (obviously put in food, water and a comfy bed).

Re-training your cat may take time. With patience it should be possible for you to get a good night’s rest.

Important: If this behaviour is new it is worth having your cat checked over by a veterinarian as there could be an underlying medical reason for a change in routine.

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