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I have always been in the habit of leaving my room in the middle of the night to get some food to eat in my room (which I make sure she doesn't eat, of course), but I recently got a cat (I had two cats eight or so years ago, but unfortunately they both passed away [ages 18 and 20]). Said cat is in the habit of sleeping in a small niche between a wall and a chair at the end of the hallway, or on a chair in the kitchen. Although I try to stay quiet, occasionally I wake her up, and then I pet her for a while before retiring.

Could my walking past my cat in the night be disturbing her sleep, even when she does not visibly wake up, and if it does, could this disturbance be detrimental to her health? (She is around 12 years old)

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So, first thing to note... Cats tend to actually be more active at night and so, if you're sleep disturbing then, the impact is probably lessened. Having said that, I don't think you need to worry. Why? Because cats have very different sleep patterns (pg 9) than we do and are more often in a light doze than a deep sleep as a result of being predator aware.

You're also not around them 24 and 7, so any sleep loss that might have resulted from your incidental night passage is likely going to be made up at a different time. She may enjoy the petting (we do this to ours all the time), but I think if you want her to go to sleep faster, then this is actually counterproductive. If she likes it, however, keep it up. :)

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Using simple deductive logic: If the cat is 12 years old, then this behavior most likely is not one that adversely affects the animal's health (or it would not have lived this long).

  • I don't think the OP (original post(er)) has had the cat for 12 years, but I do agree that this behavior shouldn't present a health risk. – elbrant Feb 27 at 2:46
  • Do you mean that because the cat has not already died the behaviour isn't harmful? That doesn't seem to add up for me. Health isn't that cut and dry in my experience. Can you add any more information to improve your answer? – Henders Apr 4 at 10:28

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