Do you have a senior kitty who keeps you up at night with meowing?
Why is this happening?
Frankly, we start out with a bit of a mismatch. Cats are a crepuscular species, meaning they are naturally most active at dawn and dusk and they sleep in the middle of the day and night. Humans are diurnal. We do most of our activities during daylight hours and sleep at night.
In the summer, when our daylight is longer, dawn comes earlier. Birds starting chirping about 4am. Neighbors may be leaving for an early shift at work. If we’re gone all day, our indoor cats may spend the day lounging and napping, which decreases their need for sleep at night. Increasing cats’ exercise during the day through play can help improve their sleep at night.
As cats age, health issues can arise that can cause kitty insomnia. Among those are hyperthyroidism, which revs a cat’s metabolism, making them anxious and ravenous.
Other common causes are pain from arthritis, dental disease, or a headache caused by high blood pressure.
Old-age kitty dementia and hearing loss can also contribute, triggering confusion and fear.
Improving a cat’s sleep habits
Diagnosing the underlying cause includes a thorough physical exam, blood pressure screening, and some routine lab tests.
Fortunately, we can often improve a kitty’s sleep habits by addressing the condition causing the problem and suggesting some simple lifestyle changes, allowing everyone can get back to sleep.