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My Cat Sleeps All Day: Is This Normal?

Est. read time: 5 min.

Ah, the life of a domestic cat: protein out of a can, mice on sticks, a grooming sesh here and there, and snoozing away 70 percent of the day. But you may be wondering—is it normal if your cat sleeps all day?

In most cases, yes, it is completely normal. Let’s explore why below.

Are cats nocturnal?

If you have an outdoor cat, they are likely most active during the night. Like lions, cats are nocturnal hunters with superior low-light vision. Indoor cats also display nocturnal habits because the behavior is instinctual from their wild ancestors. Prowling the shadows all night to chase down their prey, it’s no small wonder that cats sleep on average 12-16 hours during the day! Kittens and senior cats may sleep 18 hours or more.

Most house cats are crepuscular

Many animal specialists say cats are actually crepuscular—or most active around dusk and dawn—rather than nocturnal. Crepuscular behavior is more attributed to house cats than strays or ferals, because house cats have learned to find a compromise between the activity around the house during daylight hours and the quiet solitude at night. This is also why your cat is more likely to beg for food around dawn and dusk.

When is a cat’s sleeping behavior not normal?

Most cats may be somewhat irritated to have their naps interrupted (wouldn’t you be, too?), but they should still be quick to jump into playtime with you or gobble up a few treats. If your cat sleeps all day and remains sluggish around the twilight hours, pay close attention. Examples of “off” behavior where you may want to take your cat to the vet include:

  • Acting lethargic when you try to play
  • Not responding to food or treats
  • Hiding (and not just sleeping in a “new” place)

Can you change your cat’s sleeping routine?

So you want to get your cat on the same routine as you. Indeed, it would be nice if they stayed quietly curled up at the foot of the bed all night, instead of suddenly pouncing on your head at two in the morning. But is such a change possible?

Animal behaviorists say yes, depending on the particular feline. Here are a few ways you may be able to train your cat to sleep through the night:

Ignore their nocturnal shenanigans

Yes, it’s difficult not to yell or even throw a pillow at your cat when they knock over your bedside lamp in the dead of night. However, any attention you pay them will only reinforce their boisterous behavior. If necessary, confine them to another part of the house where they will eventually grow bored enough to doze off.

Engage in early evening exercise

Tire them out with toys they can chase, such as wands and lasers. If they're crepuscular, they’ll have a burst of energy in the evening anyway—you might as well use it to your advantage! After some intense playtime, they’ll naturally wind down and be ready to nap.

Feed the largest meal right before bed

Between exercise and lights out, give your cat their largest meal of the day. This way they won’t wake you in the night with a hungry belly. Another tip is not to feed them immediately in the morning. If they equate your rising with breakfast, they may do what they can to wake you earlier. Instead, wait a couple hours or use an automatic cat feeder.

Provide a stimulating environment during the day

Many of us don’t have the luxury of spending all day every day at home with our fur babies. Your cat will inevitably grow bored when home alone, so be sure to provide them with enticing distractions throughout the day: cat trees and perches in the windows, puzzle feeders, and catnip toys.

How to stop a cat from crying all night

If you can’t transition your night owl kitty to a better sleeping routine, you might be faced with a lot of noise while trying to sleep. Some cats cry at night because they’re bored, hungry, or simply longing for attention. How do you put a stop to it? 

Many of the same tips we covered above apply to this scenario, as well. Exercising your cat before bed, providing environmental enrichment such as cat furniture, and ignoring bad behavior can help curb unwanted crying during the night. 

Your cat may be meowing because they’re hungry—especially in the early morning hours. To help stop this, feed them their largest meal just before bed—or better yet, use an automatic cat feeder like Feeder-Robot. Set customizable schedules and healthy portions right from your phone!

White Siberian cat eating from automatic cat feeder, Feeder-Robot

Do you close your cat out of your bedroom at night? If you’re willing to be a little flexible, leave the door open and see if that solves the problem. Your cat may just want to curl up with you. You never know—they might just be a surprisingly mellow sleeping companion! 

If letting your cat sleep with you isn’t an option, leave out comforting reminders of yourself, such as a worn t-shirt or other piece of clothing or bedding that carries your smell. If you suspect your cat is suffering from separation anxiety, try spraying or plugging in a natural calming pheromone like Feliway in any room where your cat spends a lot of time.

Finally, keep in mind that sometimes elderly cats cry at night due to cognitive decline. Howling or odd vocalizations may be a sign of cat dementia. This is related to general confusion or disorientation of their surroundings, especially in the dark. If your elderly kitty is especially vocal at night, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns.

The moral of this bedtime story? It’s perfectly normal if your cat sleeps all day… but reversible? Let’s just say: Good night, and good luck.

cat sleeps all day