Cat Keep You Up All Night? Get Them Scheduled!
My cats, Oliver and Casey, are my alarm clock.
Early in the morning, without fail, there is at least one of the two - and often both - gently jumping on our bed awakening me with kitty-breath and yellow eyes staring at me. You might think "how annoying!", but it's funny because I have really grown accustomed to this routine. I've got them on a feeding schedule and I know they're just hungry for their breakfast around 7:00 am. Luckily, I'm an early bird anyways, so having a soft alarm clock is kind of nice!
HOWEVER, I completely understand if 7 am is not everyone's ideal wake-up time. For you late sleepers and you people with cats that think 2am, 4am AND 6am are all great times to play, let me offer you some tips on getting them scheduled!
Cats are Nocturnal
Did you know that cats are naturally a nocturnal animal?
Thanks to their ancestor's, it is actually easier for cats to hunt at night then during the day, and they have excellent night vision! Today's cats may not be taking in much big game at night, but they do still prefer to sleep during the day reserving most activity for the night.
Unfortunately for us, our cats don't understand that we work on an opposite time clock and may expect us to participate in their night time habits.
Seems like a hopeless cause, huh?
How can creatures of darkness and creatures of light ever get along?!
Fear not! There ARE ways to teach your kitty that you'd rather sleep than play at 2am! By sticking to a consistent schedule, they'll eventually learn they'll need to entertain themselves and wait for more food until you are ready to wake up.
Get Them Scheduled!
- Time: 10-20 minutes before it's YOUR bedtime.
- How come? Playing with your kitty will help drain some of their energy.
- Tip: Use a long "fishing pole" type toy should do the trick! Dangling and having your kitty give chase is a great way to tire them out.
- Time: Up to you! Set up a scheduled feeding routine, twice a day is usually good.
- How come? A feeding schedule prior to your bedtime will help ensure kitty that their tummy doesn't come calling at 3:00 am. Besides free-feeding (meaning you just make sure there is always food available) can have some definite drawbacks. If you free-feed, your cats may have no hesitation when there bowl is empty at 4am to notify you of the crisis! Free - feeding can also contribute to weight issues for your cat.
Make Bedtime Sacred
What should you do about the kitty that just wants attention in the middle of the night? Acknowledging your cat in the middle of the night only reaffirms that they will get exactly what they want from you during that time! It can be tough, but if your cat wakes you in the middle of the night, the best thing to do is IGNORE your cat. Cats are very smart and they will quickly learn that there's no use begging in the middle of the night. Additionally - kick them out for the night and keep your bedroom door shut at bedtime.
Give kitty a bedroom! Provide your cat with their own "bedroom" at nighttime, is a great way to ensure they don't bother you in yours. Make sure to have a cozy spot for them to lay on. A window view would be especially nice (remember even though we can't see out in the dark very well, your kitty can). Provide them with the essentials - food, water, toys and a clean litter box (away from their sleeping area and food/water dishes).
After the 10-20 minute playtime when you are getting ready to put your cat in their special room, make sure to give your kitty a very yummy special treat at this time (this should be the only time that kitty gets this kind of treat). They will quickly associate having their own bedroom is a wonderful thing!
I hope these tips help you and kitty come to an understanding and help you get a restful and peaceful sleep time!
splityarn, billy liao, artindeepkoma