We’ve all been there, it’s the middle of the night and you’re happily dreaming in the ‘land of nod’, only to be woken up by a crazy cat running laps around your duvet, meowing like mad, and only pausing to bat your nose with his paw. Although cats are nocturnal by nature, today’s domestic cat can adapt to our daily patterns; here are some ways that you can avoid the night-time crazies.
Why Does Your Cat Keep You Awake at Night?
The first thing to do is rule out any medical problems. You might notice your cat calling and meowing more at night, because you’re trying to sleep, but if he’s also exhibiting the same behaviours during the day, it might be caused by pain or discomfort. Once you’ve ruled out any medical issues, the most common reason for this behaviour is usually because your cat has the most energy at night – particularly if you’re at work all day. If there’s no one and nothing to entertain him during the day, he’s likely to have got into the routine of sleeping through the day, so of course he’s going to be wide awake and ready for action at night. Cat alarm clocks are the greatest, and it can be so cute when you’re woken up in the early hours by your furry friend sitting on your chest and swatting at your face . . . but the novelty soon wears off. If he’s waking you up first thing demanding breakfast, it’s likely because he’s hungry. So, how can you change this situation?
How to Avoid Your Cat Keeping you Awake at Night
You’ve probably already tried shutting the bedroom door at night, but the scratching and yowling at the door is just as likely to keep you awake. Instead, follow these tips so both of you can get a peaceful and uninterrupted night’s sleep.
- Make sure your cat is as active as possible during the day. Even if you’re not a home you can leave interactive, battery operated toys out for him that facilitate his natural hunting behaviour. If he’s an ‘only cat’, and you know that he gets on with other cats, consider getting another cat as a playmate. Of course this could mean ‘double-trouble’ at night time.
- Set up a ledge or a cat tree next to a window where your cat can watch the outside world during the day to keep him occupied. To make it even more exciting for him, put a bird feeder just outside to attract the birds even closer.
- Ignore the attention seeking, high-energy behaviour when it happens. If you feed your cat or pet him when he’s causing chaos at night, he’ll learn that running over your bed, meowing and batting at your face will give him exactly what he wants.
- Adjust your evening routine. Tire your cat out before bedtime by playing with him, you want to wear him out until he tells you he’s done by lying on his side. Once he’s pooped, that’s the time for his last feed before bed. Not only does this feed his natural prey behaviour (he’s hunted that toy, now it’s dinner time), it also means he’s more likely to sleep and less likely to wake you up in the early hours for breakfast!
Does your cat keep you awake at night? Share your stories below…
Image: Mr Tin DC via Flickr