Do Cats Eat At Night? Facts That You Need To Know


Do Cats Eat At Night? Facts That You Need To Know

If you have a cat, you will notice that it does not always finish its meal in one sitting. More often, it would eat in small portions and would do so for a long time. 

As a result, it is not uncommon to find cats eating late at night. However, this trait should not be viewed in isolation. There are several triggers that cause cats to eat at night. In this context, here is a comparison of Bengal cats and other domestic cats.

Do Cats Eat At Night
Image Credit: A cat eating from a bowl from Rawpixel
CharacteristicsBengal CatsDomestic Cats
Prefer eating at nightPrefer small portions of snacks or mealsPrefer small portions of snacks or meals
Need water at nightYesYes
Eat more at nightOnly if they are hungry Only if they are hungry 
Hunt at nightHave a high proclivityHave a proclivity
Hunt birds at nightHave a high proclivityHave a high proclivity

The table above will give you an idea of cats’ proclivity or preference for eating at night. Drawing inspiration from the table, we created the following sections in which we discussed the subject in depth.

What is the favorite nighttime activity of cats?

Image Credit: A cat playing from Pxhere

It is one of the commonest characteristics of cats to be extremely active at night. But have you ever thought about what they do all night? What are their favorite things to do at night?

Apart from eating their dinner in parts, cats prefer to be extremely active at night playing. Cat owners usually encounter their cats walking or running across them, jumping from furniture, or engaging in high-energy game sessions.

Although nighttime activities are common among cats, they can be extremely inconvenient for their owners. This could be especially bothersome if cats have a tendency to jump over their humans or nibble on their ears or faces.

Bengal cats, like most domestic cats, are very active at night. These cats conserve energy by sleeping during the day and displaying their wild side at night.

Do cats need food and water at night?

Image Credit: A cat drinking water from Pxhere

It comes as no surprise that cats often prefer to eat at night. They can also wake up their humans by meowing loudly.

Cats should always be given fresh water. However, their eating habits and schedule determine whether or not they require food late at night. If you keep a specific feeding schedule for your cat, it will prefer to eat at that time of day. When your cat has been used to feeding around the same times every day, its body learns to anticipate meals at those times.

In other words, a regular feeding schedule may save you from having to feed your cat late at night. It should be noted in this context that cats have stomach anatomy similar to humans. It takes 8-10 hours for them to feel hungry again after they have eaten.

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As a result, at least two full meals per day would satisfy a cat’s need to be hungry late at night. However, it is also important to remember that a transition in eating patterns can be a sign of illness. So, if your cat’s eating schedule is inconsistent, pay close attention to it. 

Do cats prefer to eat at night?

A regular feeding schedule is always preferable for a (domestic) cat. But, is it common for these creatures to prefer to eat at night?

Cats naturally tend to consume small amounts of calories (10-20) at a time and to eat repeatedly. Cats prefer hunting and feeding on their prey at night in the wild. Indoor cats exhibit a similar proclivity. Even though they do not hunt, they require small amounts of food throughout the day and night.

In this context, all cats, including Bengals, have a natural propensity to stay awake at night due to their hunting instinct. This propensity is most noticeable in indoor cats when not properly fed. However, keep in mind that cats are crepuscular rather than nocturnal. It means they stay up and active at dawn and dusk.

Do cats eat more at night?

Cats frequently wake up in the middle of the night to feed themselves. This is their natural tendency. But the question is whether they eat more at night. Let’s go exploring.

If a cat eats more at night would depend on how hungry it is. Having said that, it is normal for these predatory animals to eat 3-4 times during the night. This is due to cats’ natural propensity to hunt prey after sunset.

Always remember that in the case of indoor cats, each cat has a unique snacking personality. Furthermore, their feeding pattern should be determined by how you train them and set their eating schedule. Therefore, it is preferable to feed your cat on time and leave some food in their bowl just for snacks they can eat if they get hungry at night. Nonetheless, avoid giving your cat too many calories at night.

Do cats only eat at night?

Every cat owner may have one question: whether to only eat at night. Why? Because these creatures can startle you awake in the middle of the night with their loud meowing.

It is a common misconception that cats only eat at night. They naturally eat at dawn and dusk when they prefer to hunt in the wild. For domestic cats, however, you can always set a feeding schedule to determine their feeding pattern and timeline.

Especially if you have a Bengal cat, please take care that it is not hungry before bedtime. Feed it the right kind of food in the right amount. This would meet your cat’s dietary needs while also preventing it from feeling the need to eat at odd hours of the night.

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Do cats eat birds at night?

Image Credit: Cat with a mouse in its mouth from Pxhere

Although this may not be a concern for domestic cat owners, it is worth investigating. Why? Because cats are predatory creatures, who prefer to hunt at night.

Cats in the wild have a proclivity to hunt prey such as rodents and birds after sunset. This is because cats prefer to conserve energy during the day and be active at night. They also prefer eating at least three to four times at night.

Cats have a penchant for catching birds. While hunting birds, they alter their meowing to sound more like chirping. Conversely, cats may pursue birds even if they do not intend to eat them. They may occasionally prefer to satisfy their hunting thirst by hunting birds.

Do cats need to eat at night?

The number of meals a cat consumes per day is entirely determined by the feeding schedule that has been established for them. Of course, lunch and dinner are necessary, but do cats need to eat at night?

If a cat is starving, it may have to eat at night. However, cats prefer small portions of food, and it is best to feed them early in the evening or before bed. This reduces the likelihood of the cat waking up at night for food. Their preference for hunting at night, on the other hand, may keep them awake even when they are full.

Do feral cats eat at night?

Image Credit: Street cats eating in Rome by Blackcat (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

Cats are carnivores with genes that make them skilled solitary hunters. After sunset, these creatures prefer to hunt or be active.

Feral cats, like domestic cats, can eat at any time of day or night. They can also eat at night because their vision and smelling senses work perfectly in the dark. Furthermore, feral cats have no set feeding schedule, so they may not always get a satisfying meal. As a result, they may be more inclined to hunt and eat at night.

In this context, experts have discovered that cats can eat up to 16 times per day. However, the frequency would be determined by the availability of food or prey and the cat’s hunger.

Do cats prefer hunting at night?

Image Credit: Domestic [Bombay] cat eating a House Sparrow by Mark Marek (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

One question that frequently bothers cat owners is why their cats prefer to be active at night. Therefore, answering the above question may be worthwhile in this context.

Cats enjoy free roaming and are especially active after sunset due to their natural proclivity for hunting in darkness. As a result, cats prefer to hunt at dawn and dusk more than at night. In the wild, these creatures use their keen vision and sense of smell to hunt for smaller prey such as mice, insects, and birds.

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Because cats are crepuscular, they prefer to roam and hunt after sunset and just before sunrise if allowed outside. However, if cats are kept inside, they prefer to play and jump during the night and early in the morning.

Why would a cat want to be fed at night?

While it is natural for cats to hunt and eat at night, a consistent habit of night feeding may indicate underlying issues. Let us investigate them to learn more.

One of the main reasons cats want to be fed is that they are hungry. Cats have a natural proclivity for nighttime hunting, which may keep them awake and active. However, your cat may be hungry if they meow loudly enough to wake you up.

However, there is a solution: create a regular feeding schedule for your cat. Also, provide your cat with enough food to meet its nutritional and hunger needs.

Is it okay to leave food out with cats at night?

Every loving pet parent wants nothing but the best for their furbabies. This frequently leads to the question of whether it is acceptable to leave food out for cats at night.

It’s not a bad idea to leave food out for cats at night. We say this because cats frequently hunt at night. However, it is always best to keep dry cat food at night because wet food coagulates quickly and spoils easily.

There are a few other advantages to leaving food for cats at night.

  • It gives the freedom your cat to eat when it wants to.
  • Nighttime dry food can be enjoyed as small snacks.
  • You won’t have to worry if your cat will feel hungry once you are asleep.
  • You don’t have to wake up to feed your cat small snacks or meals throughout the night. Cats can eat smaller meals 3-4 times at night.
  • You can understand the feeding preference of your cat.

However, there are also a few things to remember when leaving food out for cats at night.

  • Do not refill if your cat finishes its nighttime food at once.
  • Do not keep wet food out for the whole night.
  • Keep a bowl of fresh water beside the food.
  • Control the calorie intake by using a slow-time feeder.


So, that’s our take on cats’ nighttime eating habits. Every cat parent should remember that cats have a natural proclivity to stay awake at night in order to hunt for prey or food. It is, however, abnormal for your cat to remain awake and hungry. As a result, keep a close eye on your cat and what it does at night. Also, never ignore any constant meowing from your vehicle, especially at night. 

Whether you have a regular domestic cat or a Bengal cat, remember that every cat has some basic innate characteristics that can reveal a lot about how they are feeling. As a result, keeping a close eye on them is critical.

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