Are Cats Nocturnal?

Are cats nocturnal? Many believe this to be true, but felines are not actually nocturnal by definition.

We get a lot of questions about cats being feisty at night time and how to help stop this behavior. Many believe that cats sleep during the day and are awake at night. They also believe that cats can see in the dark. If you do a quick Google search for “are cats nocturnal” you’ll see articles that confirm this. But is this actually true?

Even though our cats are domesticated, they are still instinctively the felines they were created to be and exhibit much of the same behavior as wild cats. For example, a cat’s digestive system is 95%+ the same as a lion or tiger. That’s why we recommend feeding your cats a species appropriate diet… but I digress.

Are Cats Nocturnal?

In the wild, cats are most active at dawn and dusk because this is when they hunt their prey. Studies tell us that cats can see best in dim light, which is why they use this time for hunting. They often take cat naps during daylight and at night.

This, therefore, makes cats crepuscular… not nocturnal. Although they do see best in dim lighting, they do not see in the dark any more than we can when our eyes adjust.

Now, if your cats are keeping you up at night because they are playing while you’re trying to sleep, use their crepuscular nature to help resolve this issue and get better sleep yourself. Start regularly playing with them at dusk and wear them out with a wand toy. To help mirror their instinctive nature, after playtime give them a good, hefty and healthy meal. This will insure that both you and your kitties get better rest at night.

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