Is It Ok To Shut Cat Out Of Bedroom At Night?

The Pros of Keeping Your Cat Out at Night

One of the biggest pros for keeping your cat out of the bedroom at night is the ability to get more uninterrupted sleep. Cats are naturally most active at dawn and dusk, which coincides with when many people are trying to sleep. Your cat may walk across you, meow, play, or otherwise disrupt your sleep cycles if allowed to freely roam at night.

A 2017 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that having pets in the bedroom can negatively impact sleep quality. Researchers found that having dogs or cats in the bedroom resulted in poorer sleep efficiency, shorter sleep duration, and more sleep disturbances [1].

Keeping your cat out of the bedroom at night removes these sleep disruptions, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly, stay asleep, and wake feeling more rested. This can have benefits like improved concentration, better mood, increased energy, and overall health.

The Cons of Shutting Your Cat Out

Shutting your cat out of the bedroom at night can have some downsides for the emotional health of your cat. Many cats consider their owners to be part of their social group and derive security from sleeping near them. Being separated at night can be distressing for some cats and lead to feelings of anxiety or rejection.

Cats are extremely territorial animals and often view their owner’s bedroom as an integral part of their domain. When excluded from this area, they may experience stress and exhibit unwanted behaviors such as excessive meowing, scratching at the door, or elimination outside the litter box. The abrupt loss of access can disrupt their sense of security.

It’s important to also consider the personality and attachment style of your individual cat. Timid, clingy, or anxious cats may have an especially difficult time being separated from their owners at night. Senior cats who rely on companionship for comfort may also struggle with the change in routine.

Kittens under one year of age have additional behavioral and socialization needs. Locking them out while they are still developing secure attachments can negatively impact their long-term social confidence and trust in their owner.

While shutting a cat out may seem convenient for owners, it can come at an emotional cost for certain cats. Monitoring your cat’s reaction and considering alternatives is advised if exclusion causes evident stress or anxiety.

Understanding Your Cat’s Sleep Patterns

Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. In the wild, this is when prey is abundant and cats can hunt most effectively. Domestic cats retain these natural sleep patterns and tend to be alert and energetic at sunrise and sunset.

Cats sleep frequently throughout the day and night with short bouts of wakefulness. On average, cats sleep 12-16 hours per 24-hour period. They have a polyphasic sleep pattern, meaning they take short naps rather than sleeping for one long stretch. Cats alternate between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep multiple times per day.

Cats are light sleepers and can awaken instantly to potential threats. Their sleep is distributed fairly evenly between day and night, though they may be a bit more active after dark. Cats tend to sleep in short bursts followed by grooming or exploring. At night, they alternate sleeping and prowling.

Understanding your cat’s natural sleep rhythms can help you make better decisions about where they sleep. Since cats are crepuscular and sleep frequently both day and night, shutting them out of the bedroom may disrupt their natural patterns.


Creating a Comfortable Cat Space Outside the Bedroom

Creating a comfortable space where your cat can spend the night can help make them more content when shut outside your bedroom. You’ll want to provide them with all the essentials they would normally have access to in the bedroom, including a bed, toys, water and a litterbox.

Set up a cozy cat bed in an area your cat already likes to spend time. Place a familiar blanket or bed from your bedroom in the new cat bed so it smells like you – this provides comfort and reassurance. Offer toys like catnip mice, balls, crinkle tunnels etc to keep them occupied. Consider battery-powered interactive toys that turn on automatically through the night. Source:

Provide easy access to water so your cat stays hydrated. Place food, treats and a clean litterbox nearby. Avoid moving the litterbox far from their usual spot to avoid accidents. Source:

Training Your Cat to Sleep Elsewhere

One effective way to train your cat to sleep elsewhere is through positive reinforcement with treats. When your cat is in its designated sleeping area like a cat bed, give them a treat and praise. This reinforces that the cat bed is a good place to sleep. Continue doing this every time you see the cat napping in its proper bed. Over time, the cat will learn to associate treats and your praise with sleeping in its own space.

You can also try placing the cat’s bed in the spot they normally sleep, like on your bed. Then slowly move the bed inch by inch each day to the location you want the cat to sleep. Reward them with a treat when they follow their bed to the new spot. Eventually you can move the bed fully to where you want the cat to sleep at night. The gradual move paired with positive reinforcement will teach them where their new sleep spot should be.

Be patient, as training a cat takes consistency and time. But using rewards instead of punishment is an effective and humane way to change their behavior. With daily reinforcement, your cat can learn to sleep comfortably outside your bedroom.

For more tips, check out this guide on training your cat to use its own bed:

Alternatives to Locking Your Cat Out

Instead of locking your cat out of your bedroom at night, there are some alternatives you can try to train your cat to sleep peacefully without disturbing you:

Let your cat into your bedroom, but use positive reinforcement training techniques to teach them not to jump on the bed or wake you up at night. Give treats and affection when they sleep calmly on their own bed or cat tree. Ignore them or gently move them off the bed when they try to disturb you. Over time, reward the behavior you want to see at night.

You can also try using deterrents like placing double-sided sticky tape on furniture you don’t want them on. Or set up a cat bed, post, and toys in the room to give them an appealing alternative to your bed. Make sure they have access to food, water, litter box, and playtime right before bed.

Additionally, consider walking your cat on a leash and harness to tire them out before bedtime. This can help them sleep through the night instead of bothering you. With time and consistency, you can train your cat to sleep peacefully in your room at night.


Special Considerations for Kittens

Kittens have some unique needs when it comes to nighttime routines. Kittens need more frequent care and attention at night since they cannot go as long without eating, using the litter box, or receiving comfort from their human companions.

Kittens should not be locked out of the bedroom entirely overnight, as they may experience anxiety from the separation. It’s best to allow kittens access to your bedroom so you can attend to their needs if they wake you. Consider keeping the kittens in a small bed or crate in your room.

As kittens grow older and become more independent, you can begin transitioning them to sleeping outside the bedroom. But kittens under 6 months old generally still require nighttime monitoring and care. Be sure to provide kittens with soft bedding, warmth, and access to food, water, and litter if they will be sleeping outside your bedroom.

Check on kittens multiple times throughout the night, especially very young kittens under 12 weeks old. Kittens can become chilled, dehydrated, or lonely without proper overnight attention. If a kitten cries or scratches at your door, be sure to respond and provide comfort.

With proper training and by slowly acclimating them, kittens can eventually learn to sleep contentedly outside your bedroom door. But their needs necessitate gradually transitioning them to this arrangement as they grow.

If you need uninterrupted sleep or have concerns about a kitten’s nighttime care, discuss options with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the kitten’s specific needs and any medical conditions requiring extra attention.

When to Consult Your Vet

Your cat may be having difficulty adjusting to being locked out of your bedroom at night. Signs your cat is suffering from separation anxiety include excessive vocalization at night, inappropriate urination or defecation, destructive behavior, or other anxiety symptoms. If your cat exhibits these behaviors when excluded from the bedroom, it’s a good idea to have your vet rule out any underlying medical conditions.

As the Quora article points out, it’s important to differentiate between normal attention-seeking behaviors and true separation anxiety. Consult with your vet if your cat’s symptoms persist or worsen when kept out of the bedroom overnight. They can provide anxiety medication or behavioral training recommendations to help ease your cat’s distress.

According to the Reddit discussion, suddenly excluding a cat from part of its territory can be very upsetting. If your cat is showing signs of anxiety, have your vet rule out any medical factors first before trying behavioral approaches. With patience and the right techniques, it may be possible to help your cat accept the new nighttime restrictions.

Creating a Nighttime Routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine for your cat can help encourage better sleep habits at night. The key aspects to focus on in your cat’s nighttime routine are playtime, feeding, and providing a litter box right before bed.

It’s important to have an active play session with your cat in the evening to help tire them out before bed. Try engaging your cat with interactive toys like feather wands or laser pointers for at least 30-60 minutes. Get them running and jumping to expend excess energy. End the play session on a positive note by rewarding them with a treat.

After playtime, give your cat a meal so they have a full belly for sleeping. Feed them around the same time each evening. You can also consider feeding them a high-protein snack or treat right before bed to help them feel content.

Finally, provide fresh litter in the box before you go to sleep. Make sure your cat has done their business and doesn’t need to wake you when they have to go. Some cats may need to be gently encouraged to use the litter box one last time before bed.

Following this routine each night can signal to your cat that bedtime is approaching. Be consistent and they will learn to expect play, food, then sleep. This helps promote better sleep behaviors so your cat feels comfortable resting at night.

The Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Cat Out at Night

There are reasonable arguments on both sides of this issue. Some cat owners feel it is cruel to lock a cat out, as cats are very attached to their owners and want to be near them, especially at night. Being excluded could cause a cat stress. However, many cat experts argue that closing the bedroom door at night is not cruel. Cats naturally sleep a lot at night and may not disturb owners even if allowed in the room. Cats also like having their own space to sleep in.

Potential pros of excluding a cat at night include: uninterrupted sleep for the owner, preventing the cat from waking the owner up, keeping the cat from sleeping in an unsafe spot like under covers, and avoiding issues like the cat vomiting or having accidents in the bedroom.

Potential cons are: the cat feeling sad, anxious or distressed from being separated, potential damage if the cat scratches at the door or destroys property, and the cat disturbing the owner by meowing and scratching to get in.

Overall there are reasonable points on both sides. Providing the cat comfortable bedding outside the room and keeping the door closed consistently may help ease any stress. But some cats persist in bothering owners at night, so excluding them may be the best solution for everyone to get rest.

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