One of the most common questions among new cat moms is how to calm a kitten down at night. Their excitable behavior seems cute and amusing during the day! But at night, it just becomes one more thing standing in the way of a good night’s sleep.
When I first got my cat, she would keep me up at all hours of the night with her playfulness and constant need for attention. Thankfully, she has now adjusted to my sleep schedule, and we can both sleep soundly. But how did this change come about?
Many people try to wait out this hyper period of their kitty’s life, but I found several small changes you can make to your daily routine that help your feline adjust more quickly. In this article, I will share with you the ten simple steps I took to calm down my kitten’s behavior at night. Follow these top tips, and you’ll never have to worry about your cat waking you up again!
Why are Kittens so Hyper at Night?
Before I get into how to calm down a kitten at night, it’s essential to understand why they become so hyper at bedtime. The best way to find a solution to a problem is by understanding what causes it in the first place!
In most cases, your kitty’s nighttime behaviors will be caused by the natural desire to hunt during these times. Dusk and dawn are when cats’ prey is most active. Besides, cats have exceptional eyesight in low-light conditions, giving them an advantage over their prey when it’s dark. This instinct can also cause your kitten to wake up due to hunger, and they may not want to go back to sleep.
Another factor that could be at play is boredom, either at night or in the daytime. If your cat is bored and is looking for attention, they are more likely to cause a racket at nighttime as they will want to wake you up to interact with you. During the daytime, your kitten may also sleep more if they become bored, leading to increased energy at night.
Finally, your feline may suffer from an unknown health condition that can make your kitten overly vocal and active at night. However, this is more likely to be the case with older cats rather than a new kitten. Nevertheless, speak to your vet if you’re concerned about the health of your kitten.
How to Calm a Kitten Down at Night
Although it may seem cute initially, a kitten’s nighttime antics soon become a struggle when you haven’t managed to have a good night’s sleep in days. Cats are naturally more awake at night, but it is possible to adjust their body clock to match up with yours.
Below are ten top tips you can implement throughout the day to help minimize the disturbances your kitty makes at nighttime. If you follow this advice, you should soon see a difference in your cat’s nighttime behavior and be able to catch up on your well-deserved sleep!
1. Keep Your Kitten Occupied in the Daytime
The key to your kitten having a good night’s sleep starts way before bedtime. In the morning, your kitten will be at their most active, so you must have enough resources to keep them occupied throughout the day! Actively playing with your kitten and rotating which toys they have access to will also help to provide your cat with ample stimulation.
If your kitty has no toys to keep them entertained, they will start to get bored and won’t tire themselves out as much during their vigorous play. By providing a variety of fun, engaging toys, and puzzle games, you’re increasing the likelihood that your feline will have worn themselves out by bedtime and be ready for a nap.
2. Schedule Play Close to Bedtime
If you pay close attention to your kitten’s nighttime activities, you may notice that they tend to be active at dusk and dawn, not for the entire night. By scheduling in play up to an hour before bedtime, you should start to shift your kitty’s schedule so that it better matches your own.
You may have to wake your kitten up to stick to this routine. Although it seems harsh, it will be worth it in the long run, and you shouldn’t have to do it that many times before your furry friend learns when they should be sleeping and when it is time to play. Although dogs are deemed the smartest pets, cats are more intelligent than they appear!
3. Feed Your Kitten Right Before Bed
Have you ever experienced that sleepy feeling that comes after you’ve just finished a big meal? Well, cats experience the same thing! Kittens need wet food that is high in protein to help their bodies grow and providing them with this right before bedtime can help them become drowsy.
Kittens start eating food and drinking water at about four weeks, so unless you have a newborn, you should be able to start doing this straight away. Kittens should eat kitten food, so make sure you’re providing a meal that is right for your feline and that the bedtime snack is included in your kitty’s daily food allowance. Over-feeding your cat could lead to them becoming overweight.
If your cat is always begging for food in the morning, delay this final meal until you’re about to get into bed. The less time your kitten has to wait between meals, the less likely their begging behavior will continue and the more of a lie-in you can enjoy.
4. Keep Your Routine Consistent
When you’re starting to implement these techniques, it is super important to try and keep your routine consistent, not only at bedtime but also throughout the day. Unfortunately, cats can’t tell the time as precisely as we can, so keeping a consistent routine gives them a clearer idea of what to expect.
This doesn’t mean your routine has to be the same every day. The critical bits are those that directly impact your kitty, such as feeding time, play sessions, litter box changes, and bedtime. As long as you do these activities at the same time each day, your kitty should still adapt to your sleeping pattern.
5. Don’t Let Your Kitten in Your Bedroom
It’s a common misconception among cat owners that kittens should sleep close to you at night. When you hear your cat cry like a baby at night, it can be hard to resist letting them enter your bedroom. But unfortunately, this can make your kitty’s nighttime antics worse.
When the time comes for you to retire for the night, make sure to close your bedroom door tightly and not give in to your feline friend’s crying. My cat meows at night when I go to bed, so I know how guilty shutting them out can make you feel. However, they should soon learn that nighttime is the time to sleep, not interact with you.
When young, it can be worth confining a cat to a room at night, so they can’t wander around the house and get into mischief. This practice isn’t usually recommended for adult cats but can help keep your kitten safe. It’s also a great idea if you have an older cat hissing at new kittens so you can sleep in peace, knowing no conflict is arising.
6. Provide a Comfortable Sleeping Area
Another thing that will help improve your feline’s nighttime routine is providing them with a comfortable sleeping area. Sometimes, the discomfort of your sleeping area becomes too much, and staying up all night seems the better option. No one wants to spend all night curled up on an uninviting bed for hours without being able to sleep.
Making sure your feline’s sleeping area seems inviting will make sleep seem much more enticing to your furry friend. Most cats enjoy sleeping in a warm, comfortable space, so these are the feelings you want to try and emulate.
One way of doing this would be to warm your kitty’s blanket in the dryer before bed. Kittens leave their mom at a very young age, and the blanket’s warmth will help mimic the warmth your furry friend would receive while snuggling up to them, helping them to feel safe and comfortable.
7. Put Toys Away Overnight
Us humans may struggle to see at night, but our feline friends don’t! Although they can’t see fine details or lots of colors, cats can see in the dark surprisingly well. This means your kitten will spot any toys left out at night and might be enticed into playing instead of sleeping.
Often, the toys your kitty plays with will make just as much, if not more, noise as your feline themselves. So, if you still want to leave your kitten some toys to play with at night, it’s best to stick to soft toys rather than ones that are hard or make different noises.
Other distractions, such as a radio or the ability to look out a window, can also reduce your kitten’s boredom without encouraging hyper behavior.
8. Take Your Kitten to the Vet
If your kitten still has trouble sleeping, it may be worth taking them to get checked out by your vet. Like us, cats can be diagnosed with health conditions that disrupt sleep. Allowing your veterinarian to fully examine your kitty could lead to a diagnosis of an underlying issue behind your feline’s insomnia.
Listed below are three indicators that suggest a health issue may cause your kitten’s nighttime behavior:
- Frequent Vocalizations at Night: This could be your kitten’s way of telling you they are in pain.
- Active for Most of the Day: On average, kittens need about 20 hours of sleep a day. If your feline is always awake, this is a sign that something is wrong.
- Sudden Hyperactive Behavior: If your cat seems calm one minute and then hyper the next with no explanation, it could be a sign of thyroid disorder.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your kitty, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible so your feline can be treated.
9. Get Your Kitten Neutered
Neutering is a surgical procedure in which your cat’s reproductive organs are removed. Although the primary goal of the operation is to stop your feline from reproducing, the process also has many other benefits – including hyperactive behavior at night. After neutering, the hormones in your kitten that cause mating behaviors will reduce, limiting your feline’s overactivity at nighttime.
For many years, the recommended age to get a kitten neutered has been 22 weeks. However, more and more vets have started offering the procedure from a much younger age as long the cat weighs more than two pounds. Speak to your vet to find out if your kitty is old enough.
10. Use Calming Pheromone Products
Pheromone products mimic the facial pheromones that your kitten produces and spreads around the home. This smell marks your house as familiar territory, so using a pheromone product can help make your kitten feel safe and calm, reducing hyper behaviors.
These calming pheromones can be transmitted using a collar or a diffuser, so I’d recommend researching and deciding which product suits your feline best. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a pheromone product will work on your kitten. This is one of those instances where trial and error will be needed before you see the desired results.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
So, there it is: How to calm a kitten down at night in ten simple steps! Many cats are overly active at night due to their natural desire to hunt or because they aren’t receiving enough stimulation throughout the day. My top tips aim to rectify these problems so that you can sleep at night without being disturbed by your furry friend.
These steps teach your kitten when it is appropriate to engage in play and when it’s time for them to calm down and sleep. Even following just a few of these tips should go a long way in calming your feline down at night.
The most important things to remember are to keep your routine consistent, provide a stimulating environment for your kitty, and make their sleeping area seem inviting. No matter how you do these things, they should make a huge difference.