Does your cat get revved up at night? For Fluffy, this isn’t an issue of kitty boredom or wanting to play when you’re home. Like his wild ancestors, your cat is a naturally nocturnal animal. So when you’re ready to sleep, he’s eager to play the hunter. Although domesticated cats are a little less nocturnal, they may still wake up at least twice each night. If your cat pounces on you, cries for food or makes too much noise while you’re trying to sleep, there are a few things you can do.
Make the Hunt-Eat-Sleep Cycle Work for You
In the wild, a cat will often hunt, eat his prey, then sleep off his big meal. You can simulate this cycle at home to change your cat’s body clock, but timing is important.
Play at night – Set aside some kitty playtime an hour or two before bedtime each night to tire him out. Use toy birds, fuzzy mice or animals that mimic prey he can “hunt.”
Eat on a different schedule – Instead of starting the day with an early-morning meal, give him his first meal later in the day and his biggest meal after your play session, just before bedtime.
Sleep – Cats tend to sleep after a big meal. If your cat plays and eats at night, he may let you sleep undisturbed. If he still wakes you though, keep him out of your bedroom and encourage him to sleep on a cat bed or in a sleeping area. A timed feeder that dispenses another meal at night might also help.
A Few Don’ts
- Don’t get discouraged if this doesn’t work right away. It might take a few days or a couple of weeks to reset your cat’s body clock to this new schedule.
- Don’t reward his behavior. If he wakes you, don’t reward him with attention, food, playtime or even a scolding.
- Don’t rule out a medical problem as the cause. If your cat is meowing or crying at night, there may be an underlying problem causing discomfort. Check with your vet.
Now try to get some sleep!
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