Managing Nocturnal Behaviour in Cats


Nocturnal, Diurnal and Crepuscular Cats

Almost all domesticated cats naturally fall into the following categories; nocturnal, crepuscular and diurnal and so understanding which describes your cat is useful in understanding your pet and knowing what is possible in terms of behaviour modification.

Diurnal animals are those who are mostly active during daytime hours. Nocturnal animals are those most active at night and crepuscular animals are those who are somewhere in between.

The normal state for a house cat is crepuscular, but some will be very obviously nocturnal and some will go for full on diurnal-ism. Some cats will adjust into a new routine and, if they like their owners company, will shift into being awake during the day and sleeping at night. I suppose me and Teabag are lucky as he’s very nocturnal and only bothers during the day when he’s annoying the dog, and I too, am pretty nocturnal in my habits, so it works out pretty well and we get to hang around a lot. If you are reading this then I suppose you have a nocturnal cat that you would very much like to become crepuscular, or a crepuscular cat that would make life a lot more peachy if it was a tad more diurnal. So, if your cats nocturnal habits are keeping you awake when you really need to sleep then you can adapt their play times and schedule to make sure they are more likely to be sleepy at night and awake during the day. Most of this you will do naturally, for example giving attention and treats during the day (because that’s when you are awake) and ignoring them at night (because you are asleep), but adjusting feeding and playtimes can go a long way to helping adjust your cats sleeping pattern. Playing in the evening, for example, is a fun way to reward your cat for being awake when you are and can tire out your cat so it’s less likely to be getting up to any shenanigans in the middle of the night. Make sure you adjust things gradually, persevere and give lots of positive reinforcement of the desired behaviours because It will take some time for the new routine to become the norm for your cat.

One last thing, if your attempts to persuade your cat to change their sleeping habits fail, it might be time to have a think about whether your cat actually likes you or not, it could be that your cat is nocturnal because it doesn’t like you and doesn’t want to be around you and it makes a lot of noise to wake you up in the middle of the night because deep down in its black little heart… it enjoys torturing you. 🙂

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