So, why does your cat want to play at night?
Cats are nocturnal. The nocturnal cat has special adaptations for the night life. This mastery of the night is associated with the mystery and lore of cats. Their unique anatomy gives them superior nighttime hunting ability. Most of these unique abilities lie in their keen senses which I will cover in the next link. Many other animals are also nocturnal like skunks and raccoons and most desert animals are nocturnal.
So, it is normal for your cat to be active at night? If you find this type of nocturnal behavior annoying, rather than punishing your cat for following her natural activity schedule, train her to switch shifts. This is actually quite easy. Cats are smart and easily adapt to their human’s pattern of activity and sleep at night. Just remember that in training your cat, who’s training who? If your kitty wakes you up at night, and you feed, or pet, or play with her, then you are reinforcing that behavior. I have a great big tom cat who liked to knead on me in the middle of the night; rubbing and petting on him only encourage this behavior. I gently nudged him off the bed, rolled over, and ignored him. He stopped soon after.
The nocturnal cat being a social creature will easily adapt from their nocturnal behavior. Pet, play, feed, give him lots of attention during the day. Engage your furry friend for about 20 to 30 minutes right when you arrive home. It would also be beneficial to spend another 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime to help get their crazies out. If your cat exhibits annoying habits at night, squirt him with a water bottle, he will learn quickly, just be patient. I have also been told by several veterinarians that night lights placed within your home will calm your cat and make him more apt to sleep at night.
I have a multi-cat home, so there are times when kitty play hour occurs in the middle of the night. I have learned to adapt also by using a nice sound machine at night, it will drown out most noise. Do not ever punish you cat for doing something that is innate in them, they will not understand. Also be patient and do not let them train you. I have one cat that starts knocking stuff off the counters about 5am in the morning. I got up and petted him or gave him some food. That bad habit kept happening every morning. Finally, I just rolled over and ignored it, after about a week, he stopped. They will adapt, most mornings I raise up from slumber and there is usually at least 3 cats asleep on my bed.
Punishing your kitty for a natural behavior will create behavioral problems with your cat. Believe me when I say, that type of punishment does not work. When your cat becomes afraid of you, she may start urinating in strange places or defecating in your shoe. This type of cat behavior is not vindictive, but a type of anxiety your cat has when they smell a person who has been mean to them.