We often think that cats spend most of their time sleeping, but any of you that have spent a few nights with a kitten can attest that this isn’t always the case. They can be quite a disruption to your sleep cycle, not to mention a hazard for any breakables.
But is it OK to put a cat alone in a room at night?
It’s OK to put your cat alone in a room at night so long as your cat is OK with it. It’s not just a matter of locking them in; you have to prepare the room, the cat, and yourself. You will need to take the time to acclimate them to this new living situation and make sure that they are never under undue stress.
The better prepared you are, the faster your cat will take to sleeping by herself. Peaceful nights for all of you are right around the corner if you follow these simple steps and remember to always keep the well-being and safety of your pet at heart!
Can putting a cat in a room at night be good for her?
While the main reason why pet owners research this topic is that they want to finally get a decent night of sleep, there are many other reasons why you might consider setting up a cat room. It can, in fact, be the right thing to do in many situations.
It’s certainly preferable to putting yourself and your pet through stress, pain, and a damaged relationship.
In the end, you are the one who will love with your cat, so only you have the right to make this decision. If you thinking about putting a kitten in a room at night, you might also want to read our following articles:
- Are kittens afraid of the dark?
- Can I leave my kitten alone overnight?
- The right time to let your kitten roam the house at night
Here are some situations in which it may even be recommended to set up a cat room:
– For elderly, ill or disabled cats. Medical care and recovery become much easier when you have total control of their environment. A temporary loss of freedom is nothing compared to the knowledge that they are safe and can’t get injured.
– For new cats, kittens, or foster cats. In these cases, as well as many others, you may need to go through a period of quarantine.
– For cats with unwanted aggression problems. Even if you’re just not sure about how your cats will get along, separating them when you’re not directly looking at them is a good idea.
While during the day they can roam and you can intervene in case of any danger, at night there’s a much greater risk that trouble will strike and you won’t be looking.
– For cats suffering from separation anxiety. This may seem counter-intuitive, however, if you take the process very slowly and carefully, separating your cat from yourself at night can actually help with separation anxiety.
It’s not something you can do suddenly, but with proper care and preparation, it can help boost confidence and independence.
Allowing your cat to be your shadow all the time, especially if you work from home, is going to encourage her clingy behavior.
– For cats that are wearing your patience thin. Let’s be honest, it’s very hard to be a normal, functioning human being if you wake up ten times each night with someone chewing on your feet.
If you feel like you’re getting close to the edge, and have had thoughts about abandoning your cat in a shelter, perhaps give yourselves a chance to spend some time apart and get some rest first.
In this regard, we also recommend reading these articles:
- How to let your cat know you are mad
- Does biting a cat's ear show dominance? The ugly truth!
- How to make your cat respect you
What should a cat room be like?
Before preparing your cat, you need to prepare the room. Locking your cat in the spare room one evening on an impulse is not the best idea.
There are too many variables involved, too many things to destroy, and you’re not catering to her need and safety.
So what should a cat room look like?
The first and most important thing is making sure that there’s no chance she can hurt herself while you’re not looking. Ideally, the room should only have cat-safe furniture, but if that’s not an option try to find the room with the most secure furniture possible.
Secure everything to the wall and remove any objects from shelves or countertops. The kitchen is probably a terrible idea, as there are many doors she could open and things she could destroy.
The bathroom might be a safer bet, but only if you make sure that all medication and cleaning products are completely out of reach. If you consider using the bathroom as cat room, we recommend reading our article on that here.
Once you are sure she will be perfectly safe, consider her comfort as well. Be sure the has these things in her cat room:
- Clean water, preferably from a fountain. We explain why a fountain is a good choice here.
- Her cat bed in a cozy spot
- Her litter box on the opposite side of the room from her bed
- A small supply of food
- A favorite cat-safe toy
- Fun things to interact with such as tunnels, scratching posts and climbing trees
Depending on your cat and whether she’s an indoor or an outdoor cat, you may or may not have to make sure that the room is secure.
It’s essential for an indoor cat to be safe, however many cat owners choose to set up a cat room that has a cat flap leading outside so that their cat can come and go at will.
Since cats are crepuscular (active at twilight) animals, it’s very probable that they will enjoy this privilege greatly.
Finally, make sure that the room is a comfortable temperature. You can be sure that if it’s too cool for you, your cat won’t be very happy either.
How to get your cat used to sleeping alone
It’s better to take this process slowly and with your cat’s well being at heart. Stressing her out too much is not going to achieve the result you’re looking for and may have the adverse effect. Shocking her by dumping her in a room by herself unprepared may provoke separation anxiety.
Start by making your cat feel comfortable in her designated room. Spend some time with her in there, play some games and give her some treats.
When she is well tired and looks ready to take a cozy nap, leave her alone in that room for an hour or so.
Check on her to make sure she is ok – if she is sleeping comfortably then it’s very likely that she’s not stressed.
Don’t put her away for a full night at once. It may be harder, but for a couple of nights, try to set an alarm late at night and put her in her room only for the final few hours of your sleep cycle.
Slowly bring that alarm earlier and earlier over a few days until you can put her in her room as soon as you’re ready to go to bed.
While you should always be kind and compassionate, you also need to be firm. If you’ve decided that your end goal is to sleep peacefully in separate rooms, then don’t give in to complaints.
If you hear your cat meowing or scratching at the door and immediately go over to check on her, she will consider that as a win and continue to meow and scratch every time she is left alone. If you do want to check on her, wait until she is calm.
If you can, try to decide early on in your cat’s life whether this is what you want. It’s much easier to acclimate kittens to sleeping alone, as they usually will already be sleeping away from humans at the breeder.
Of course, while it’s never a good idea to get a second pet just to keep your first pet company, two kittens will certainly be happier than one kitten.
If you’re sure you can handle the expense and commitment and want a second cat, it could drastically improve your chances of having peaceful nights.
Keep in mind that a cat room doesn’t necessarily have to be a cat room, and could simply be a well-secured play-pen in the main room where they already hang out.
This could be a lot less traumatizing for your cat as it’s already their usual haunt, just make absolutely sure that the pen is secure.
An escapee cat in the middle of the night is not a happy event for anyone involved!
Why is my cat so active at night? Cats are crepuscular animals so you can expect a lot of random activity from them at night. If they have access to your bed, this can include poking and prodding you until you wake up. Chasing, vocalizing, playing and chewing things are all perfectly normal night-time behaviors.
How do I entertain my cat at night? Try to play with your cat until she is satisfied and ready to nap. You can leave her with things to do such as toys and chewables, as well as scratching posts or climbing trees. You might also consider feeding her dinner right before you go to bed since cats tend to sleep it off for a while after eating.