What Do Indoor Cats Do At Night?

It’s a common misconception that cats are nocturnal. They are actually naturally crepuscular, which means that they prefer doing things when the sun rises and sets. At night, most indoor cats will play through the late evening, sleep through the middle of the night, and get up to be active again as the sun rises. In the wild this would be the best time for them to go hunting. Indoors it can be an inconvenience as cats will be most active when you are sleeping lightly.

If you live with indoor cats, it can sound like they are tearing the house apart as you are trying to get to sleep. Its common for some cats to take this a step further and actually start destroying your property at night. Most indoor cat owners will lose sleep due to their cats. We’ve used this article to explain what your cat is doing at night and some solutions if this is a problem.

What is my indoor cat doing while I sleep?

Awake cats that are left to their own devices will generally try to entertain themselves, especially younger cats or playful breeds. Your home will become slightly different at night and new sources of interest might make your cat agitated. Lights from traffic, the sounds of neighbours, and animals visiting the outside of your house are potential sources of entertainment. Failing that, your cat might just look for small objects to swat around or run through the house to entertain themselves. Your cat will also probably naturally sleep through parts of the night.

Bored cats are likely to start destroying property. They may also start meowing loudly or trying to swipe at your door to get your attention. Its not good for your indoor cat to be bored. Unstimulated cats can develop behavioural problems and even depression. You should play with your cat throughout the day and set up spaces around them to claim to be mentally stimulated throughout the day.

My cat is destructive at night

If your cat is destructive at night this is a really strong sign that they are bored. You may feel like your cat is angry at you and getting a form of revenge by tearing up furniture or knocking off objects from shelves. In reality, it’s more likely that your cat is just trying to entertain themselves in different ways and don’t understand that they are damaging your possessions. Behaviour changes can also be signs of medical problems, if your cat has suddenly become much more destructive or active at night you should book a meeting with your vet to give your cat an examination and rule out any physical causes.

If your cat is bored, you need to pay with it more and make their living environment more interesting for them. It’s generally recommended that you should play with your cat for at least half an hour per day to keep them happy, but some cats might need more if they are bored at night. Brining out passive play toys at night like ball tracks may help a little as they give your cat something to direct their attention at. However, they won’t remove your duty to keep them entertained through active play when you can. Try your best to ignore their calls and noises at night. They will learn to keep doing the bad behaviour as it gets your attention which is probably what they want.

Try to create more spaces that your cat can explore in the home. These spaces should give your cat vertical space to explore, perches to watch the room from, and spaces to hide inside. Cat trees are usually the easiest and cheapest way to do this. If you already have one cat tree in the house, consider getting another if you have room to allow for it. If two cat trees is too much, you can consider climbing posts, tents, and tunnels. These don’t have to be too expensive, and you can make some of them yourself. Even something simple as a large new cardboard box to explore or moving a cat tree to a new location can give your indoor cat a new thing to do at night.

How do I get my cat to stop destroying things and sleep at night?

All cats are different and there is no guarantee that your cat will behave like most others. Some cats adapt to follow their owner’s schedules without much fuss, spending more of the day awake and then sleeping through the night. This is desirable for a lot of indoor cat owners; you get a playful and active cat during the day and peace at night. Cats that get tired out through play are also less likely to destroy your property.

You can try to convince your cat to adjust to this schedule by keeping them active through the day with sessions of play. Splitting meals into smaller feeding times throughout the day will also prevent your cat from having large bursts of energy in the morning and at night.

We think it is a bit mean to wake up your cat if they are napping during the day and they will probably become upset with you if you continually do it. Try and give them positive but active things to do to convince them to wake up. Hiding treats in a puzzle feeder or a short session of play may be enough to sleep less during the day and be more likely to sleep through the night.


At night, most indoor cats will play during sun up and sun down and sleep during the middle of the night. Some indoor cats will adapt their waking schedule to match yours. This is more likely if you keep them more entertained and active during the day through play and spread out feeding into more sessions throughout the day.

If your cat is keeping you up by meowing, playing too loudly, or destroying property they would benefit from more play and attention during the day. This will make them more tired at night and less bored overall. Tired and mentally stimulated cats will rest easier and be less likely to destroy property.