Cats can learn how to adapt their habits to their owner’s schedule. With enough consistency, you can teach them how to stay downstairs, or in another room, and not bother you while you sleep. As long as there’s a routine, leaving the kitten downstairs at night won’t be a problem.
However, the routine at night means routine in the morning, too. They will expect you to wake up when they wake up and there’s no avoiding that. They have an internal biological clock, just like we do.
Cats are nocturnal animals that love to go out exploring and searching in the dark. It’s in their natural instincts.
Their natural instincts often need to be domesticated if we want to live peacefully alongside our pets. Otherwise, it can be dangerous for our easily disruptable sleep cycle and easily destructible furniture.
This article will bring some good news!
Cats’ biological clocks can be adjusted so that leaving them downstairs at night will be harmless to you, to them, and to your home.
If they are still kittens, even better. During their early development stages, they can learn way faster.
In any case, just be patient.
It may take a while to build a routine, but habits aren’t built easily. The kitten might meow at night, voicing their complaints loud and clear, but eventually, they will realize that this won’t grab your attention.
The most important key is to do the same thing at the same time every day and be persistent.
Here’s the preparation tips you can follow to ensure it’s as comfortable for the kitten as possible to sleep downstairs, and also to do it during the night when they’re supposed to.
1. Make Kitten Think They Aren’t Alone
If you can, leave a TV or a radio on in the room, where your cat would be staying. The music or the noises can distract the kitten and comfort them with the sensation that they are not alone.
2. Leave them Leave Them a Reminder of You
This is another way to make the kitten feel a comforting presence in the room. And which presence would they find more relaxing than the presence of the human they tolerate the most?
If your cat hates your guts, then we can say you’re an exception this time.
In any other case, a kitten would really appreciate having something carrying your scent to remind them of you. The best example is a piece of clothing – a T-shirt, jeans, shoes.
Putting something of yours close to where they’re sleeping will calm the kitten down and remind them that you’re still here.
3. Use Other Scents That Will Calm Them Down
Feliway is a popular product for cats, which sprays a specific type of smell for reducing a cat’s stress and relaxing their anxiety.
If you are worried that your kitten might be too scared left alone, this may help to bring them peace so that they leave you to sleep in peace, too.
Try spraying it downstairs at night and see how it affects your cat.
4. Give Them Everything They Need Right Before Bedtime
Leaving the kitten downstairs at night would also mean putting all of the kitten’s necessities downstairs. They must be nearby with easy access.
Food, a bowl of water, a litter box.
If possible, feed them exactly before it’s time to go to bed.
That will make sure they don’t get hungry earlier than usual and have to wake you up in the middle of the night.
Not only that, but it will also tire them out. Cats tend to want a nap right after they’ve had their bellies full.
Satisfying all the cat’s needs will give them less to complain about.
5. Keep Them Occupied With Toys
Cats get bored easily. If they are going to be spending the night downstairs, they should have a variety of things to play with in case their nocturnal instincts kick in.
If they are too bored, they might resort to your furniture, and we don’t want that.
Get some different cat chewables, balls to chase around, and maybe even a cat tree to climb.
6. Tire Them Out Right Before Bedtime
As part of building the routine, it can be useful to have playtime with the cat every single day in the same period of time.
That time can be right before going to sleep.
Try paying attention to your kitten right before bedtime so that they run out of energy. It lowers the chances of them wanting to jump and run around at 4 o’clock in the morning.
The most important part is to do it exactly in the room, where you plan to leave them for the night. That way, it won’t feel like a punishment or a shock when you surprisingly drop them there alone and out of the blue.
If you continue building this habit of playing before bed regularly and then sleeping, it will teach them to get adjusted to that schedule.
7. Create a Safe Space Only for Sleeping
The kitten needs its own place, specifically designated for resting, because they need to know they’re completely safe and hidden from any danger there.
In most cases, we call it a bed.
However, it can also be a self-made bed with a pile of pillows or blankets, made from fluffy soft materials. The more cozy, warm, and comfortable it is, the more likely they will like it.
It shouldn’t be too big, as then your cat will feel exposed and constantly on edge.
The bed should have high sides, if that’s possible. They will provide the kitten with something to lay down next to instead of their mother and siblings’ warm bodies. The sides will imitate the feeling of protection.
8. Make Sure the Room Is Cat-Friendly
Cats are capable of many things. Too many. If you don’t trust what they might do during the night, then you better take care of all the potential threats in advance.
It will keep both your home and your cat safe from anything happening while they’re alone.
International Cat Care has a few pieces of advice on the topic:
- Avoid any long curtains
- Remove breakable objects from shelves and windowsills
- The room shouldn’t have fireplaces or poisonous plants
- Cupboards with any potential hazards should also be out of reach
- The litter box, the food bowl, and the water bowl should be placed away from each other
Remember, cats are too curious for their own good sometimes. They can also get into very tiny spaces.
Keep that in mind when you’re deciding where to leave the kitten at night.
9. Leaving a Light on Could Help
You can leave a night light on if you want to, AnimalPath suggests. It could help with making the space more inviting and protected.
If you plan to try that out, place the light further away from their safe sleeping place. No one likes a bright light shining at their eyes when they’re trying to fall asleep.
This tip is not among the most necessary ones.
Because of their different receptors in the eyes, cats can see just as perfectly in the darkness, way better than humans can.
It’s more about how it’ll make the cat feel, and that depends on every individual one. You can simply try it out and see if there is any effect.
10. Get Your Kitten a Buddy
If you’re open to it, why not get your kitty a friend to play with?
You won’t need to constantly think of different creative ways to keep them busy as they will most likely keep each other busy.
They will have another kitten to use their energy on, and both will have an equal amount of energy and time to spare.
Only Once They Are Comfortable In Their New Home
There are some situations, in which it’s a big “no” to leave a kitten alone at night.
If you have just moved into a new home or just got the kitten very recently into its new home, then they shouldn’t be left alone for the first few nights.
In both scenarios, it’ll be new and unfamiliar territory for the cat. Therefore, everything can be a potential threat since it’s unknown.
Leaving their family at an early age didn’t give them the chance to develop enough independence, so kittens are still vulnerable while they’re small.
They can sleep in another room, that’s okay, but not without frequent check-ups.
Follow how they’re adapting to the new home. When you think they’re comfortable enough with their surroundings, then you can start thinking about building a routine and teaching them to stay alone at night.
Leaving the kitten downstairs at night will most likely be met with discontent and complaints.
How to Handle Them Being Downstairs at Night
Whatever you do…
- Don’t give into temptation.
If you get tempted to give them attention or play during the night, they will want to continue. For them, it’s a reward. If you want to check on them, wait until they have calmed down.
- Don’t let yourself get angry.
Don’t get up in the middle of the night to yell at your kitten for not being able to fall asleep. That’s still a form of attention. It won’t help, and it won’t make them stop. No aggression or violence will ever help the situation, and of course it’s very wrong.
- Don’t forget to follow the routine.
The routine will only work if it’s reinforced constantly. If you tend to forget, set reminders for yourself. Do it in a way that you know for sure they will work for you.
May the patience be with us.
Writer: Georgi Petkov