Cats like to wake their slaves (aka owners) at night! It’s one of the joys of cat ownership and one of the most common problems! (Tips for solving issues here.) Here, Ivan from Catify Co. takes us through his wakened nights with cats and what to do about it…
Does your cat drive you crazy by keeping you awake all night? A little while ago my kitty used to wake me up at exactly 4 AM every morning like my very own personal furry alarm clock.
I dreaded it, but after scouring the internet and trying out a couple of ways on how to keep your cat from bothering you at night, I finally found some ways that work.
But before that, why does your cat keep you awake at night
Cats are innately nocturnal; there is nothing you can do about that. Over millions of years, evolution deemed it necessary for them be active at night and snooze all day—well, mostly. They are descendants of the African wildcat so if you want to blame someone for keeping you up all night blame that feline.
Even though we managed to domestic cats, they still have a somewhat genetically coded instinct that’s been honed over millions of years following their crepuscular hunting schedule.
It means that they are mostly active at dusk and dawn and that’s why they have specialized eyes—you know those glowy eyes that scared you half to death if you woke up in the middle of the night in your childhood.
Seeing that they can see very well in the dark, they can always spot when tasty creepy little creatures scurry by like mice, cockroaches, etc. Oh, and trust me there are plenty of things that scurry in when you turn the lights off, and now you know why the wake you up at night—they’re hunting.
But that’s not always the case. It may be she wants to go outside, or maybe she is just bored the night is taking too long, or maybe she is just going about her usual mischief and decided to poke the bear at 4 am every day while she is at it—cats can be devious little devils.
How to keep your cat from bothering you at night
- Health Check—Just to be safe
Okay, he/she is probably not feeling good after all the meows—which can be over 93 decibels which are closer to a baby’s cry at 130 decibels, feel like sharp nails are being driven into your ears, and you have no choice but to wake up.
But what do I look for? Check if your cat is in any discomfort or pain if the litter box is clean, does she have fresh water, is she hungry or maybe something else is bothering her like birds singing outside, or maybe she is thirsty. If you suspect she is unwell, then it would be best to consult a vet.
- If she just wants to play, then try creating a playtime schedule
Try and play with feline companion every evening. You can use toys that look and move like mice and birds kind of like toys that wiggle and dangle. Additionally, you could also use ping-pong balls or furry mice-like toys if she loves to play fetch just make sure she feels tired afterward.
- Give her a main meal just before you go to bed
And this isn’t when you’re preparing to go to bed—you know when you’re reading that novel, or are about to take a shower, it’s when you turn off the lights and ready to put on your eye mask if you use one. Why? Well, they tend to fall asleep after a big meal, and you don’t want her to wake you up.
Alternatively, if she still wakes you up, you could use a timed feeder that way she’ll learn to wait by the feeder instead of pestering you at 4 am.
- Secret life of pets: what do they do when you’re at work
Try and give your cat a variety of activities to do when you go to work. Think about; she’ll have nothing to do, just sit around and sleep and then she’ll be even more energetic at night. Some of these enriching cat activities include letting her watch TV all day, or maybe getting a second cat, so she’ll busy playing with her buddy.
But there is a downside to this; they might wake you at night when they are romping around the kitchen sniffing out the leftover chicken.
- Stop feeding her when she wakes you in the morning
If your furry feline companion wakes you up in the morning when she’s hungry, then don’t feed her. Why do you ask? If you feed, you’re basically reinforcing her habit of waking you up at night. She’ll soon associate waking you at four AM with tasty treats which is counter-productive to what you’re trying to do.
- The bedroom is off-limits, period
This will be a bit hard for you if she tends to curl up right next to you when you get some shut eye. But you need to do it, she’ll scratch at the door and meow so loud you’ll feel guilty but don’t succumb to it otherwise you’ll be miserable.
More importantly, don’t play with her in the bedroom she’ll get used to it and scratch your eyelids whenever they dart around in your sleep.
Having a cat is a rewarding and fantastic experience. They tend to grow on us with their purrs and mischief but having them wake you up like clockwork can be brutal, so we hope you will now have blissful nights by implementing these strategies on how to keep you cat from bothering you at night.
About the author
Ivan is a blogger and content manager for Catify Co. He’s an advocate for proper cat care and health. If he isn’t hanging out with his Maine Coon Jimmy he is taking a nap with his other kitty Precious.
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