Are Cats Nocturnal?

Are cats nocturnal? Do they enjoy being up all night wreaking havoc? Or are they early risers? These questions are commonly asked by cat lovers and owners as they attempt to learn more about their pets. 

But finding the answer to these questions isn’t easy, and often many of us search and search, but never get the answers that we need. And how can we care for our cats if we don’t know when they are sleeping?

Are Cats Nocturnal?

Well, no more! Today, we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to find out whether cats are nocturnal or not.

Along with their sleeping habits, where they like to sleep, and why your feline friend should get enough sleep each day.

Are Cats Nocturnal?

Let’s get straight into it! Instead of being nocturnal, cats are generally considered to be diurnal (active during the day) or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).

The majority of cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active during the early morning hours and late evening hours.

The term ‘crepuscular’ can also mean an animal is active at times when there is little light around.

Now that we have established that cats are not nocturnal, let’s move on and look at their sleeping habits in closer detail.

Feline Sleeping Habits

Cats are active during the day and asleep at night. While sleeping, cats are still alert and ready to pounce on prey.

Most cats have a daily routine that includes eating, drinking water, using the litter box, grooming itself then going to sleep. 

Some cats like to go outside in the evenings after dinner time to stretch out and cool down before going to sleep. While asleep, cats have periods of restlessness called “wake bouts” or episodes. 

These episodes occur every four hours as part of the natural circadian rhythm of your pet.

During these wake bout periods, a cat wakes up due to any number of reasons such as needing to use the restroom or just because they feel like playing.

Cat Naps

During the day, most domestic cats need short naps while watching TV or playing with their toys. Napping for 15-20 minutes will refresh them from playing. 

If your cat sleeps more than 20 minutes, it may lead to health problems such as obesity. Be sure to keep an eye on how long your cat sleeps during the day, and speak to a vet if you are concerned. 

Where Do Cats Like To Sleep?

When a cat goes into its night-time resting phase it may begin looking for a place it can hide.

Cats sleep in several different locations throughout the house including closets, under beds, beneath couches, on counters or furniture, and anywhere else where they may feel comfortable. 

Cats do not need a lot of space to sleep comfortably. A cat’s ability to adapt to different living spaces depends on how familiar he/she is with his/her environment.

Usually, cats enjoy small areas within larger spaces. Studies show that cat owners who keep cats inside tend to give their cats more room in which to roam. 

Most cat owners who own multiple cats make sure each one has his/her specific room to call home. Some outdoor cats stay outside to sleep while others prefer to sleep indoors. 

Cats And Sleep Deprivation

Cats And Sleep Deprivation

So how much sleep does a cat need? Well, they typically need eight to twelve hours of sleep a day.

If your cat doesn’t get enough sleep, he won’t function properly. Sleep depriving your cat at all stages of its life could cause serious health issues. 

You must ensure that your cat gets adequate sleep each day by putting him in his bedroom and keeping him away from other pets.

As your cat ages, his sleep requirements increase. Make sure to keep an eye on your cat’s sleeping patterns.

Kitten Versus Adult

At first, kittens tend to nap for quite a bit longer than adults. The reason behind this is that they don’t yet know how much time they should allocate to resting. 

A kitten usually naps for about 30 to 45 minutes before waking up. 

An adult cat may only need 10 to 15 minutes of sleep at a time, although some people claim that cats need much less sleep. Older cats need longer daytime naps compared to younger ones.

Tricks To Help Your Kitty Get Enough Sleep

Let’s take a quick look at some tips you can use to help your cat sleep better and for longer.

  1. Petting your cat to sleep may work sometimes.
  2. Your cat may enjoy having a favorite toy that he/she associates with his/her bedtime. Playing with this toy will help your cat associate it with bedtime.
  3. Keep your room quiet.
  4. Leave lights on timers. This way your cat will learn to trust that he/she can rest when you are not home.
  5. Try to keep your cat awake until bedtime so that he/she learns when to go to sleep.
  6. Don’t let your cat watch television at night.
  7. Always put your cat’s food dish inside if he/she goes to sleep outdoors.
  8. Use treats to encourage your cat to come into your bedroom. Offer a small treat at a time to keep him or her interested in coming inside.

Why Do We Think That Cats Are Nocturnal?

So why did we think that cats are nocturnal? Well, this comes from the fact that cats tend to hunt at night.

However, they spend most of this period asleep since they have fast reflexes and are ready to act quickly in case prey comes their way. 

During the day, cats don’t need to be as focused because there are fewer chances of encountering predators.

Once cats reach adulthood, their bodies become designed specifically for being awake during daylight.

Their muscles and organs work better during daytime hours. Their vision also becomes sharper during the day. 

So the truth is that your cat is naturally a diurnal animal but has adapted over thousands of years to live in many different environments.


In conclusion, we can say that most indoor-raised felines are crepuscular (meaning they like both light and dark periods) but outdoor cats often prefer to sleep in the dark.

Cats need to maintain a consistent daily schedule to be happy and healthy, and they require an average of 8 to 12 hours of sleep each day.

Which is normally achieved through numerous cat naps in various places around your home.

Courtney Trent
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