Although other factors can also affect their activity (such as the weather, the presence of other cats in their territory, or their health), cats tend to sleep for several short periods during the day and night, rather than a long period of sustained sleep over night, like humans do. In addition, most cats are crepuscular, which means they are more active at dawn and dusk which is when their prey is active. Although other factors can affect their activity e.g. weather, other cats in their territory, health. This means that when we are sleeping, our cats can be awake and active.
"Always avoid giving them any attention after they’ve woken you up in the night, otherwise they’ll quickly learn that they can wake you up for a good time."
During this active period, cats may seek out the attention of their owners. This can be more likely if the cat doesn’t have access to the outdoors – it means they have limited options to keep active and busy. With no owner to play with and no chance to explore outdoors, they might play a game with themselves – running around, pouncing on objects, searching for prey and just generally using up some of the energy they have.
For owners wanting advice on how to stop their cat waking them up for attention, the main tip is that consistency is key. Always avoid giving them any attention after they’ve woken you up in the night, otherwise they’ll quickly learn that they can wake you up for a good time. Don’t even open your eyes, and don’t get angry – as this may reinforce the behaviour, or even make them scared or nervous of you.
Try to spend some time in the evening playing with your cat, using up some of their energy and providing them with an outlet for some of their natural hunting behaviours. Try playing with a fishing rod type toy to get your cat running, stalking and pouncing.
Owners could also leave out toys, puzzle feeders and so on to keep their cat entertained while they are sleeping.
More information on keeping pets happy and healthy can be found at the RSPCA website.