cat wont sleep

Why Won’t My Cat Sleep?

Cats are renowned for running around, hunting and being loud at night. If you have a job you have to get up early for, it’s especially irritating when your cat keeps you awake. So, why does it happen and what can you do?

Why won’t my cat sleep? Cats aren’t night-time sleepers. They often hunt and are most active at night (nocturnal), so they don’t always sleep when you do. Medical problems like hyperthyroidism, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases can cause sleepless nights too. Try wearing your cat out in the day to stop it running around at night.

If your cat is in good health, then the issue is that it’s nocturnal. There’s little you can do about that other than making your cat more active during the day than the night.

Why Won’t My Cat Sleep?

So, your cat won’t sleep. That’s not good – normally they sleep for most of the day! Generally, cats don’t need much encouragement to take a snooze, so if your cat seems hesitant to get their head down and catch their beauty sleep it can quickly become a cause for concern.

Feline sleep problems are most likely to be noted by owners if they are being kept up at night by their cat’s midnight meanderings. When a cat is active, they’re really active. When periods of very active behavior happen while you’re trying to get some sleep yourself, it can be easy to become frustrated with your cat. We all get irritable when we don’t get enough sleep. Even if your cat is making adorable attempts to play while you sleep, it can be annoying!

We’ve put together a list of possible reasons for your cat’s insomnia. We’ve also included some effective solutions that will help both you and your cat get a decent night’s sleep. If your cat won’t sleep, we’re here to help!

Cats Are Not Natural Night-Time Sleepers!

cat won't sleep
If your cat won’t sleep and you’ve forgotten what they should look like, here’s a reminder! Image from Pixabay

In the wild cats are naturally nocturnal, not diurnal. We have inflicted our sleeping patterns on our cats. They tend to follow suit and stick to the same routine as we do. Whatever you do, do not kick your cat outside when they are making noise in the night. It may seem like a good idea to a sleep-deprived mind, yet, this will only reinforce your cat’s nocturnal behaviors. That’s without even mentioning the danger your cat faces whilst prowling outside at night.

My Cat Won’t Sleep: What’s the Problem?

Typically, sleep problems are reported by owners of kittens and cats under the age of one. However, the good news is that in time cats can learn how to adopt healthier, less disruptive sleeping habits. The trick is to find out what the problem is before you try and address it.

Medical Problems That Could Mean A Cat Won’t Sleep

If your cat’s reluctance to sleep is accompanied by excessive vocalization, they may be experiencing pain or a medical condition of which you are unaware of. Generally, they will also be making noise in the daytime too. If you suspect your cat is experiencing pain contact your vet immediately. Even if there are no other symptoms take them for a check-up for peace of mind. The problem could be as simple as a toothache!

Other causes like hyperthyroidism can also result in your cat having increased energy levels. Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism shouldn’t be ignored. The condition is treatable, and your cat will be able to live a long and happy life with the appropriate care and treatment. Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases can also make it a little hard for your cat to get a good night’s sleep.

If your cat has previously had a healthy sleeping pattern and they’ve suddenly become active at night you will definitely want to see your vet.

Bad Habits That Could Mean A Cat Won’t Sleep

As mentioned earlier, cat’s in the wild are naturally nocturnal creatures, it is only due to the domestication of cats that they have adopted our circadian rhythms. Therefore, if you live in a large home and don’t get much interaction with your cats, or you encourage late night activity by allowing them to go outdoors late at night they will naturally revert back to their nocturnal ways. Try to spend enough time with your cats and where possible don’t allow them to venture outside in the evening or at night. This advice doesn’t apply, of course, if you have a cat flap.

There can often be an adjusting period when you welcome a new furry friend into the home, so ensure you know how to reinforce positive sleeping habits on your new familial addition.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Keeping You Awake At Night

If you’ve ruled out medical problems for your cat’s nocturnal tendencies, then it may be time to consider what you can do at home to alter their habits. If your cat won’t sleep then sometimes you can’t either, and that’s no good!

Option 1: Feed Your Cat the Largest Meal of the Day Before Bedtime

cat won't sleep
A cat won’t sleep if it’s hungry. Maybe it just wants a good meal? Image from Flickr

Have you ever tried to go to sleep when you’re hungry? You’ll know how impossible it is to get some shut eye whilst trying to ignore the hunger pangs. So, to instill a healthy diurnal sleeping pattern in your cat, always give them the largest meal of the day before you get some shuteye for yourself. Try to keep this feeding time the same every day. Cats like routine. So, if your cat is keeping you up at night because they’re hungry, changing their meal times is the perfect way to start changing their sleeping habits. After all, we all like a nap after a large meal, don’t we?

If this doesn’t work, consider buying a timed feeder which will do your job for you while you sleep. You can set the timed feeder to dispense food once or twice while you’re sleeping. However, it is important not to overfeed your cat for the sake of keeping them quiet. Always adjust your cat’s diet accordingly. The average ten-pound cat will require approximately 300 calories each day yet. This can depend on their age and breed, too.

Option 2: Increase Your Cat’s Daytime Activity Levels

If your cat isn’t expending enough energy throughout the day, it is inevitable that they will be more active at night time. So, your cat’s insomnia may be easily solved by introducing more interactive play into their daytime routine. Play with your cat as often as you can. If you’re out of the house a lot, invest in some toys that they can enjoy while you’re out of the house. Wand toys and moving mice toys are often a great option to make your cat active. For more guidance on our cat toys, head on over to our ultimate guide to cat toys. You’ll definitely find a way to make sure your cat is tired by bedtime.

How To Tire Your Cat Out!

For the best results, aim to tire your cats out in the evening. Only stop playing when your cat appears tired. There are more ways to enrich your cat’s life both physically and mentally as advised by vets. It is important to note that cats who lack enrichment are more likely to adopt the behaviors of feral or free-roaming cats. This can open up a world of problems, including aggression. If that continues, their reluctance to keep to a diurnal sleep pattern will be the least of your worries.

If you’re aware that you don’t have enough time for your cat, another option to consider is adding another cat to your family. Not all cats get along with other cats and prefer to be solitary animals, so this option isn’t advised for all cats. Yet, if your cat is the sociable sort you can always try introducing them to a new play friend to wear them out. A potential issue with this idea is the fact that two cats will make a significant more amount of noise than just one. Nobody ever said being a cat parent was easy! Just as parents will come to expect a loss of sleep when they have a child, the same should be expected when you introduce an animal into your home.

This may not be a consideration when you see a cute cat advertised online or at the pet store, but in reality, cats are a lot to contend with in your home. Never become frustrated with their behavior. A lot of patience is required when it comes to changing behavior with cats. Whilst change is possible, it will never happen overnight

Option 3: Contact an Animal Behavioral Expert

In the absence of medical issues and if you’ve tried everything you can possibly think of at home, you may want to enlist the help of a behavioral expert. Their fees may be a little steep, but what is the price of a good night’s sleep? You may be able to find help online or in books. Cats are complex creatures, however, and vets will commonly comment that you will never fully understand your cat. The best people equipped with the knowledge on how to change a cat’s behavioral issues are qualified and accredited behavioral experts. They should be able to tell you why your cat won’t sleep. There are such things as sleep aid for cats, and your vet may prescribe it.

Option 4: Create A Cat Bedroom

cat won't sleep
It your cat won’t sleep, consider a cat bedroom. Otherwise, it may consider yours! Image from Flickr

There came a time in you life when you moved out of your parents’ bedroom and into your own. Just because your cat sometimes likes to sleep with you doesn’t mean they want to do it all the time. A cat bedroom could be the answer. You’ve probably noticed that your cat has a preferred spot in the house it likes to sleep in. Put a nice, new, comfortable cat bed in there and see if it makes a difference. The reason your cat won’t sleep might be because it’s been waiting for you to create a cat bedroom it can relax in!

What NOT To Do If Your Cat Won’t Sleep

It may not always be an option to close the door on your cat while you go to sleep. If you can’t afford to have your bedroom door shredded then having your cat waking you up by pawing at your face doesn’t have to be an inevitability. It may be tempting to react to your cat’s behavior by throwing them off the bed or shouting at them. Don’t. Reacting negatively will only reinforce their behavior and they’ll carry on attempting to wake you up. Any attention is better than no attention when it comes to your cat.

To Sum Up

Cats can adopt a wide range of disruptive behaviors due to psychological or physical problems. With the appropriate routine and care, though, any bad habits can be managed. If not, ear plugs can always be an option. Humorous retorts aside, many cats are abandoned each year due to their behavioral problems. Don’t give up on them before you’ve given them an appropriate window of time to change. Adopt patience instead. If your cat won’t sleep, there will be a cause and a solution. Whether it’s a sleep aid for cats, a cat bedroom or a brand new cat toy, you’ll find it!