The midnight crazies is an apt description for the spurt of pent-up energy that comes from sleeping all day and can include, but is not limited to, running from room to room and jumping on furniture, often followed by a chorus of meows.
One theory is that it's actually normal for cats to be active at night and they simply practice predatory skills. Another theory is that if cats are left home alone all day with nothing to do except sleep, they become more active at night.
A little patience and a little time and energy can probably help shift the wild behaviour. Here are some tips to deal with the nocturnal crazies:
Encourage a classic game of cat and mouse with mice toys and help let off a little steam.
Feeder toys can also activate a wild feline's prey-hunting instinct, providing both mental and physical stimulation. A little will be dispensed at a time as your cats chase and bat at the toy.
Provide toys that your cats can play with on their own, especially those laced with catnip. They can be swatted around without a human's assistance and can help unleash the nocturnal burst of energy. When catnip's allure wears off, put the toys in a ziplock bag or jar and marinate them in catnip. This way will keep the toys novel and fun.
Grooming helps cats unwind and fall into a nice slumber. According to experts, grooming stimulates the release of endorphins that trigger feelings of relaxation by lowering the heart rate, and even bringing on sleep.
If your cats do not tolerate being groomed, you can use grooming gloves, which will help your cats feel that they are being petted rather than groomed.
Cats are prone to sleep after a big meal. Save the largest meal for right before bedtime. To avoid overfeeding your cats, be sure to portion out meals appropriately during the day, and feeding several small portions may also help curtail your cats' nocturnal appetite.
Put toys away and secure your home so that there is less temptation for your cats to get into mischief. Opening the curtains or blinds can allow your cats to survey the nightlife in your neighbourhood.
You might also consider crate training to prevent mischief and help your cats learn that nighttime is a quiet time, and employing an automatic feeder to release food at certain times.
If your well-behaved cats suddenly start wandering restlessly or meow excessively at night, they may be suffering from an underlying medical problem that causes pain or discomfort. Have them checked out by your vet.
Photo by Kelvin Valerio