Leaving toys out for your cat at night can be a great way to keep them entertained, but it’s not always the best idea. Cats don’t sleep during the night like us, so it’s normal to want to leave some toys out. Here are a few things to consider before deciding if you should leave toys out for your cat at night.
It’s OK to leave your cat’s toys out at night, but be aware that it may encourage them to play when you want to sleep. The best solution may be to leave out a couple of their favorite toys so that they remain enriched while you get a good night’s sleep.
Continue reading to discover the nocturnal behavior of cats, plus how to change their routine to fit in with your lifestyle. Then, read our tips on toys and play – and learn how many toys are too many.
What Do Cats Do All Night?
There are two primary types of nocturnal behaviors in cats. The first applies to young cats who are crepuscular. This means they are most active at dawn and dusk, as these would be the best times for hunting if they were in the wild.
Older cats may become more active at night due to changes in their sleep pattern caused by the onset of cognitive dysfunction. For the latter, it’s essential to consult with your vet for the best ways to provide your feline friend with precisely what it needs.
Can I Leave My Cat Alone With Toys?
When you’re heading to bed, it may be tempting to put your cat’s toys away so that your space is tidy and they don’t make any noise while you are sleeping. This may be a good idea in some circumstances, but if your cat is mainly active at night, they will need to stay enriched.
If you want your cat to sleep when you sleep, then removing the toys from their environment can be good practice to teach them that playtime is over. If you do this, ensure they have had plenty of playtime throughout the day.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to leave out one or two of their favorite toys (the quiet ones!), which can stimulate them if they do wake up while you’re sleeping.
If you remove all of the toys from your cat’s environment, they may try and find something new to play with, such as your curtains or soft furnishings.
Many people believe that cats are fiercely independent, but they rely on their human parents far more than we realize, and some even display separation anxiety when you leave.
If keeping your cat as an indoor pet, it’s a good idea to match their routine to yours as closely as possible. The most important factors are that your cat receives the right amount of interactive play (which includes you) and that they are not left alone for more than eight hours a day regularly.
Should I Put My Cats Toys Away At Night
You don’t need to put away your cat’s toys every time you go to bed. But if your cat is playing unsupervised, it’s a good idea to remove any toys which could present a choking hazard to them, such as wand toys or strings.
Another consideration is that many cats experience “toy fatigue.” This happens when they have the same toys available day in, day out. Bearing in mind that cats have the instinct to hunt, they enjoy being curious and exploring new things.
Changing your cat’s toys around is one way to keep them engaged, as is moving their toys into different locations so that they can “hunt” them out. Variety is a significant factor in a cat’s engagement, and they can never have too many toys.
Don’t worry if you only have access to a limited amount of toys, though – just change how you maneuver them. This way, your cat can stalk its “prey” in various ways and not become bored with your games.
How Can I Change My Cat’s Sleeping Pattern?
The sleep-wake cycle of a cat is different from that of a human. Due to their crepuscular nature, cats are most active in the evening and early morning. This can sometimes be referred to as “night-crazies” and can prevent a cat owner from getting a good night’s sleep.
If you have a cat that sleeps all day and wants to play all night, there are several steps you can take to modify its routine.
Establish A Routine.
Include your cat in your routine. Play with her before you go to bed, and then ignore any attention-seeking behavior when trying to sleep. In addition, avoid feeding your cat as soon as you wake up. If you do this, you associate your waking up with feeding time, and your cat may begin to wake you up earlier and earlier to get what it wants.
Instead, continue your morning routine as usual: get up, take a shower, have some breakfast, and then feed your feline friend.
By including your cat in your day-to-day routine, they can become familiar with the way things work and start to understand which times are for play and which times are for sleep.
Give Your Cat Daily Exercise.
It doesn’t matter when you give your cat exercise, but all cats must exercise daily. Two to three 20 minute sessions of interactive play should be enough to satisfy the needs of your cat.
Importantly, make sure the play involves both of you so that you can increase the bond with your pet. And, make sure the play is active as cats need to exercise their bodies just as humans do.
Make Sure Your Cat Is Mentally Stimulated Through The Day
One of the easiest ways to stop your cat from sleeping all through the day is to keep her stimulated. Make sure the room is well lit, play a video that your cat will enjoy (YouTube has some excellent suggestions for “Cat TV”), change the location of cat treats so that your cat can hunt for them, and ensure they have a range of toys to keep them engaged.
Establish Play Areas and Rest Areas
When you play with your cat, only do it in specific areas such as the living room, the garden, or the kitchen. Likewise, avoid hosting playtime in your bedroom and only allow your cat in there for relaxing activities.
This way, your cat will learn that you are going there to rest, not to play when you go to bed.
Reinforce Positive Behavior.
Fuss your cat when she does what you want her to so that she knows she’s got it right. At the same time, it’s important to avoid reinforcing undesired behaviors. If you opt to shut your cat out of the bedroom – ignore her meows or cries for attention. If you want her to sleep in a particular place, gently move her back to this space each time she wanders.
Don’t Punish Your Cat
If your cat demonstrates undesirable behavior, the best way to deal with it is to do nothing at all; don’t give them any treats or attention following that behavior. However, you mustn’t punish a cat with a water spray, shouting, or hitting as this could seriously damage your relationship.
Punishing your cat in this way can also lead them to become aggressive or fearful of humans, so you should avoid it at all costs.
By including your feline friend in your routine, they will get used to playing and rest times. If, however, your cat is determined to play during the night, try leaving out a few of her favorite toys for enrichment.
You don’t need to tidy toys away every time your cat is left unsupervised; just ensure there are no choking hazards and change your toys intermittently to provide your cat with variety.