Cats do not hunt only at night. They can certainly do that during the day as well if they are provided with such an opportunity.
However, hunting at night makes catching the prey a lot easier. Cats have amazing vision in low-light conditions and they have excellent senses of smell and hearing. The night also makes spotting the cat more challenging for the prey.
Do indoor cats hunt at night and can you let your feline friend outside during your bedtime? You’ll find all the answers below.
Do Cats Like to Hunt at Night?
The truth is that cats are not nocturnal animals. In fact, they are ‘crepuscular’. This means that the fluffy balls are most active at dusk and dawn.
Many owners might think that their cats are nocturnal animals because some kitties have the tendency of running around the house when everyone is fast asleep. However, that, most likely, happens in the very early morning or late evening.
Despite popular belief, kitties are not ‘programmed’ to sleep during the day and hunt during the night.
The main reason why cats become more active as the sun goes down (or before it goes up) is because of the species’ past.
A long time ago, cats were desert hunters. And they could start wondering in search of prey only once the temperatures would drop. Roaming around during dusk and dawn also provided the kitties with enough light to spot their prey, but, simultaneously, with enough darkness to remain unnoticed.
What Helps Cats Hunt at Night?
Cats cannot see when it is completely dark, but they have a better vision that the majority of other animals in low-light conditions. At night, when only the stars or the moon are shining, cats see up to 6 times better than an average human.
Kitties also have a very advanced sense of smell and hearing. Cats are capable of hearing very high pitches. In fact, their range even goes above that of a dog.
What Do Indoor Cats Do at Night?
If the kitty is left indoors at night, there are quite a few activities that the little guy can engage in:
- Sleeping – cats are not nocturnal animals, so they would be happy to catch some z’s at night as well.
- Hunting – even indoor cats might try to hunt as night falls. They usually keep an eye out for rodents or critters.
- Looking for food – your kitty might also try to find something to nibble on by inspecting the countertops and tables. If the cat knows where you store the treats, it might try to get to them.
- Trying to escape – especially unneutered males can be obsessed with the idea of escaping the house. If the kitty does not get stimulated enough during the day, it might have enough energy to find an escape route while it’s still dark.
- Fighting – if you have a few pets, the fluffy balls might spend quite a few minutes fighting for the best sleeping spot or toys.
- Exploring – even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment, the kitty would, most likely, be spending a couple of hours per night exploring its surroundings.
- Cuddling – animals like to seek warmth at night, so the fluffy balls might end up cuddling with each other or with you.
- Collecting things – some cats have a favorite object that they like to take to their special place whenever they find one. If you can’t find your socks, pen lids, or hair elastics during the day, then it might be your cat that’s collecting them.
- Staring at you – if you allow your kitty to get in your bedroom, you might, at one point, discover that the cat likes to watch you while you sleep. That might be because your feline friend is bored or hungry or because the fluffy ball is trying to protect you.
Why Do Cat Owners Let Their Cats Out at Night?
Some owners might choose to allow their cats to roam freely at night to fulfill their natural hunting instinct.
There are people who also believe that if a cat was once allowed to go outside, it would be impossible to teach it to behave otherwise. That’s why letting it roam at night is the only way out.
Others are sure that if the kitty spends some time outside, it will not exhibit destructive behavior during the night.
But the truth is that in reality there are no good reasons for letting your cat out at night.
How Far Do Cats Roam at Night?
During the night, house cats can cover an area of nearly 20 acres. Females tend to stay closer to home, but even the ladies might end up going farther than around 75 yards from the house.
A lot can happen to the kitty, even if it stays very close to where it lives (especially, if you live next to a road). If a cat finds prey and starts chasing it, the kitty might end up a lot farther away from the house, and it might be challenging for the fluffy ball to find its way back.
Will My Cat Be OK Outside All Night?
Unfortunately, there are too many things that can go wrong:
- Cars – the kitty is harder to see at night, and the driver might accidentally run the little guy over
- Predators – owls, foxes, and coyotes might harm your kitty
- Neighbors – some people can hurt freely roaming cats if they start meowing or chasing their pets
- Other cats – your kitty might start a fight with another cat
- The weather – your feline friend can easily get hurt in a storm or a snowfall
How to Keep an Outdoor Cat Inside at Night?
Most cats will successfully become indoor-only if you manage to provide them with everything they need.
Make sure that the fluffy ball has:
- Food and water
- A litter box
- A scratching post
- Resting and hiding places
- An interesting environment (full of multi-level cat furniture, toys that mimic prey, etc.)
How Do You Know When a Cat Is Hunting?
Kitties stalk their ‘victim’ before approaching it. So, if your cat is in a crouched position with its head outstretched and it’s moving slowly, then the beautiful creature is on a hunt.
How to Make a Cat Sleep at Night?
If your kitty is messing up your sleeping schedule, there are a few things that you can do to change that:
- Do not pay attention to the cat – if you talk to the kitty or get out of bed every time the fluffy ball starts meowing or running around, you’re encouraging such behavior
- Play with the kitty before bedtime and throughout the day – helping the cat get rid of excess energy while you’re still awake is a great way to stop late-time ‘zoomies’.
- Don’t ever let your feline friend in your bedroom – in such a case, the little guy will be less tempted to start meowing at your door.
- Feed the kitty before bedtime – if the cat’s belly is full, the animal would have to direct all the energy to digest the food. In such a case, your kitty also won’t wake you up in the middle of the night simply because it is hungry.