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Why Do Cats Run Around At Night

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cat zoomies at night are a burst of pent-up energy and normal cat behaviour.
  • Reasons why cats are active at night include loneliness, boredom, illness, hunger, infestation, need for attention and stress.
  • To stop your cat from running around at night, you can create a sleep routine, check their diet and feeding schedule, give certain medications, promote daytime activities, and give them enough attention.
  • Punishing your cat for their normal behaviour creates more stress and trouble, so be patient and manage their behaviour carefully.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Why Do Cats Run Around At Night
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Have you ever wondered why cats run around at night? Being a cat owner, you are probably well-acquainted with a cat’s so-called ‘3-am crazies’.

It is when a cat streaks around your house at an unholy hour and goes into a maniacal frenzy. They would purposely knock your stuff over and yowl loudly in their foreign cat tongues. Fortunately, it is not something serious, but it might get annoying for you.

If you have cats as house roommates, it will serve you well to know the reason behind this behavior, along with how to stop cat zoomies at night.

Why Are Cats Running Around at Night?

While cats spend anywhere between 16 – 20 hours everyday sleep, they are not the most docile creatures. Most cat owners can attest to finding their cats sprinting and running around the house at night. If you have a cat or have spent a few nights with one, you are probably aware of this crazy cat behavior.

As a cat owner, you might wonder, why does my cat run around at night?

Cats would suddenly go crazy and run around the house at frantic speed, typically during the night while people are in their beds. This frenetic burst of energy is mostly called cat zoomies, and nearly every feline has episodes like this. Thankfully, it is nothing to be concerned about — though, it does get frustrating over time.

Cat zoomies are an incredible burst of pent-up energy that all cats get occasionally. You can attribute your cat’s hyperactivity at night to unreleased energy that has not been given a proper outlet throughout the day.  

Being naturally crepuscular creatures also doesn’t help, as it means they are most active during dawn and dusk. It is why they would let loose at the crazy early hours of the day.

Though, there are also other deeper reasons why are cats so active at night. Here are some of them:

Being Alone

A lot of feline fur parents ask, why my cat goes crazy at night, and the answer can be a bit heartbreaking. It is possible that your cat feels lonely at night or during the wee hours of the morning.

You can’t always be at home with your cat, especially if you have work or school to attend. Unless you live with someone always at home, your cat is probably left alone most of the day. 

During the day, they would probably spend their time relaxing or sleeping. All that rest would leave them active at night and dawn.

All those hours of resting mean they have a lot of pent-up energy that would need to be released. Cue in the zoomies during the late or early hours.


Cats, being nocturnal creatures, feel lively during the night by nature and instinct. Like humans, they sometimes also get a bit mischievous and playful. Don’t be too worried, as this is normal cat behavior. It’s not bad nor strange — you will just lose a few minutes of sleep.

A cat running around at night probably sees everything in your home as a toy they can use to entertain themselves with while you settle in dreamland. Though, that isn’t to say that you are safe. There will be more than one occasion wherein they will trample your face, paw your feet, or jump on your stomach.

Health Conditions

You may wonder, why are cats hyper at night? An underlying health issue or condition could also be another reason. If your cat has taken to waking you up when they have not bothered in the past, this could potentially mean that they are sick or feeling physically uncomfortable.

Certain medical conditions can cause a cat to be hyperactive at night. If you find them in the middle of the night crying, vocal, needy, or displaying other sickly behavior, it could be an indication and sign of any of the following:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Illness
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Dementia which causes problems with memory and sleep

Your cat may be more naturally active at night, but if you notice any changes in their nocturnal habits and activity, it would be best to bring them to the vet.


Cats are more likely to be active and energetic at night, so they are typically awake for long hours, which can make them hungry. The feeling of an empty stomach leaves them no other option but to meow and make noise. They would do that all night until you cave and feed them.

Not all felines would wake their owners, though. Some cats are well-adjusted to their human schedules since they can hold out better.

A great solution is feeding them late at night or investing in an automated feeder to help them maintain a biological schedule. Also, avoid giving them food as soon as you leave the bed in the morning. Doing so prevents the cat from connecting the two actions — waking you up and getting food.


Another reason why are cats playing at night is an infestation. If you have just moved to another house or building, you may want to check for unwanted house guests whose presence can easily be picked up by your cat’s sensitive hearing and smell.

At night, when rats or roaches are roaming and running around, the sound of them scuttling across your floors or within your walls could kick your cat’s predator instinct into high drive.

Needs Attention

You’re not alone in wondering, why is my cat so active at night. As mentioned, cats can get lonely during the day if you are always out of the house. They would feel starved of your attention and affection, leading them to actively pursue it — even if it means bothering you until you give in!

If you leave your bedroom room open, they will probably scurry in and have no qualms about waking you up. May that be through something as gentle as a paw nudging your cheek or as violent as a full-on cat body slam to the gut.


If your cat suddenly does the zoomies at night when they don’t usually do, it can be a sign of stress or anxiety. It could mean that your cat is feeling rather anxious and needs release. They could either find that by sprinting around the house or waking you up.

How to Stop Your Cat From Running Around at Night

Now you are aware of why are cats active at night, you are probably now interested in knowing how to put a stop to this behavior. You are still, after all, a human who would rather have undisturbed sleep.

For your sanity, you can follow a few tips on curbing your cat’s hyperactive energy at night. Here are some valuable suggestions:

Make a Sleep Routine

A cat active at night can affect your sleeping hours. If you want to stop this behavior, you can try giving your cat a sleep routine to follow. To help tweak your cat’s schedule, appoint a hearty play session about an hour or two before they typically fall asleep.

Ensure that they are well engaged and you are getting their heart rate up. This way, they can release pent-up energy before they go to bed.

Check Their Diet and Feeding Schedule

Cats typically fall asleep after eating. Changing the amount of food you feed your cat during the day can help keep them active while you are away. You may also use an automatic feeder to give them smaller amounts of food set at various times throughout the day.

Moving the meal time to later in the evening also makes them extra sleepy before bed. Avoid feeding them in the middle of the night.

Give Certain Medications

Cats running around at night is more frustrating and irritating than anything. If changes in diet and routine do not help, you can opt to use medications. Consult your vet and ask them to prescribe medication for sleeping. You can also ask for recommendations on natural sleep remedies.

Promote Daytime Activities

Give them more toys or treats to use and eat during the day to prevent them from going crazy at night. A feeding toy with treats can give your cat both physical and mental activity to keep them busy. 

Buying new toys or rotating their toys may also keep them entertained. According to a study about feeding cats for their optimal behavioral and mental well-being, food puzzles offer a positive effect on cats as they can increase activity. 

Give Them Enough Attention

As mentioned, one of the reasons why cats play at night is needing attention. It would help to allot time in your day to cuddle and play with them. That way, they won’t feel attention-starved.

Almost all cat owners frustratingly ask themselves, why is my cat active at night?. Knowing the reason can help you make a more comfortable and enriching home environment for your cat. 

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help curb your cat’s frenetic energy during late hours. It may feel frustrating to be bothered in the early parts of the day, but remember to avoid punishing your cat for doing something normal — that creates more stress and trouble. It is best to be patient and remember the tips we listed above so you can carefully manage this behavior.

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