Why Your Cat Wakes You Up at Night
I feel like having a cat is like having a baby, no one gets any sleep. My new kitten, Morty is the most adorable, cuddly kitten I could ever ask for. Normally, I can’t get enough of him…except when he wakes me up at 4 am. And then again at 5am. Every night. He is relentless. Rubbing his head against my face until he sees movement and if not, a love bite as a reminder that he LOVES ME SO MUCH. He commands my attention now.
If your cat wakes you up at night here are some things you can try.
When you’re gone all day, what is your cat doing? Probably sleeping. Keep them entertained with toys around the house. Perches to climb, windows to sit in and toys to play with will tire them out in time for bed. Interactive play time is KEY to getting your cat off your back at 4am. Maybe two ten minute play sessions aren’t enough. Learn to multi-task. Dangle the toy while you watch TV, read in bed or cook dinner. Some energetic cats need more play time, so try to get at least an hour in before bed.
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Your feeding schedule could also be the problem. Do you feed your cat as soon as you get up? You have taught your cat that a sleepy, rising human equals food. Next time take a shower first or cook your own breakfast before feeding the cat. You can also try a timed feeder or self-filling water dish.
Having light in the room while you are sleeping can also confuse your cat. Cats see better in the dark and may not associate the amount of light with sleeping people. Try making your bedroom darker to help get the point across. However, if you have an older cat, their vision could be failing causing confusion during darker hours. In that case, a nightlight might be necessary. Try adjusting the light until you find what works best.
The best thing to do if your cat wakes you up is to ignore them. Any kind of attention, even negative, will give the cat satisfaction. If you ignore them, they will eventually learn their efforts are futile and move on. Giving them instant satisfaction will only encourage the bad behavior.
On a serious note, if you believe your cat is behaving strangely at night, it could be a sign of a medical issue. This is especially true if the behavior is new or you have an older cat. Always consult your vet right away if you notice a change in your cat’s behavior.
For me it was definitely the play time. Keeping a dangle toy in the bedroom has been a lifesaver! Can you relate to your cat waking you up all night? How did you solve the problem? Share with us in the comments below.
Cover Image: Evan Blaser via Flickr