Remedies to keep your cat from ruining your sleep
Your sleep is very important to your health and shouldn’t be interrupted during the night. If medication or pharmaceutical sleep aids aren’t an option for you, try to experiment with one or more tactics of getting a full night’s sleep and still give your cat the attention it needs.
In their natural habitats, cats are nocturnal creatures. They can sleep almost all day and play or hunt all night. Even if your particular cat turns out to be less nocturnal and more crepuscular (meaning it’s most active in the day and therefore more adjusted to your schedule), there are still a few reasons why your cat might wake you up in night.
There are a number of techniques that you can try to train your cat not to wake you up at night. Some will require some behavior modifications and training on the cat owners part and also make sure that all family members or friends you are living with are on board with the changes. Before you go to bed, decide how you will react to your cat if it tries to wake you. As you can imagine, the middle of the night is not the best time to make a decision.
If you find yourself awakened by a noisy, playful or annoying cat, try to create a peaceful environment to help you and your cat get some good and restful sleep. Again, you should make sure that all family members and friends are aware of the steps you are about to take. If you ignore your cat, but someone else in the house feeds your cat in the middle of the night—then your move to ignore is for nothing and your cat will continue it’s disruptive behavioral pattern.
Reasons why your cat may be waking you up at night
There are a few possible explanations for this particular behavior. Here are the most common ones:
- It may not be getting enough stimulation, enrichment and exercise during the day and its active periods, so while you are sleeping and dropping off, your cat may be fully awake and ready to play.
- If your cat spends most of its day/active time alone, it may be bored and looking for companionship at night while you are asleep.
- Your cat may be hungry and wants food, a midnight snack or a special treat.
- Difference in schedules with your cat.
- Your cat’s bed has been disturbed.
- Can be a sign of illness for example, a toothache to something or an even more serious illness like arthritis, hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure.
How do you stop your cat from waking you?
- Help your cat to readjust its internal clock by scheduling an interactive session of an hour play time about an hour before bedtime. Follow the play session with an appropriate light cat snack for example a small treat or cube of cheese, which should leave your cat very drowsy and not craving for food in the middle of the night.
- Try and ignore your cat as she tries to wake you up and after trying this a few times, your cat will learn that it’s not getting the attention it wants from you and may leave you alone. If you have an automatic cat feeder for wet food you can sleep with a peace of mind, knowing that your cat is fed at all times and you don’t have to refill snacks in the middle of the night.
- If you have a sleep disorder, its best never to encourage your cat to sleep with you on your bed. This means restricting your cat from your bedroom at all times. Give your cat a comfortable cat bed in a spare room, a corner of the living room or even a bathroom. Try rubbing a bit of catnip on the bed to encourage the cat to use it.
- A single cat may easily become bored when it’s home alone all day and may expect its human companion to provide attention at night. Another cat may offer it companionship during the day and lessen those urges to wake you for a play. This is especially true for kittens who have much more energy to burn during their first year of growth. In simple terms, two cats or kittens are always better than one.
- Learn to say no to your cat. If your cat interrupts your sleep early in the morning by pouncing on you to make breakfast, don’t allow the cat to control you. Say ‘No’ and then cover your head with a sheet, blanket, or a pillow, if necessary. When your own internal or physical clock tells you it’s time to wake up, then feed your cat. This will be an easy way to teach the cat that breakfast is served on your schedule.
- Avoid surprises because cats don’t like surprises. They are mostly happy when their household revolves around a predictable schedule. Give your cat a time for food, exercise, interactive play, grooming and petting. This will go a long way in ensuring its health is maintained and giving you a good night’s sleep, each and every night.
- Even if you choose to close your bedroom door, a determined cat might scratch at the door for a while, but it will eventually give up and either go to sleep or find some other activity. You can easily prevent damage on your door by either mounting a vertical scratch pad on it, trimming your kitty’s nails regularly or even having your vet fit your cat with plastic nail caps like Soft Claws.
- A number of commercial products are available that play soothing sounds that will help you sleep easily with your cat. You can select from bird sounds, ocean or waterfall sounds, or just white noise. Earphones or headphones will help amplify and enhance the sleep inducing effects.
- You can try to prevent those pouncing and biting attacks by your cat on your toes at night by using room darkening shades to completely darken your room. You should replace any digital or fluorescent clocks by the bedside with non-illuminated versions or just use your phone for lighting. Avoid night lights because your cat might think they are toys to play with. Although cats can see in very low light, they can’t see in total darkness and will also be forced to go to sleep. If you have a cat that love to scratch things, it might be a good idea to invest in a cat tree for large cats or adding stimulating toys to the cats environment, some of which we have discussed in this guide: best cat toys for indoor cats.
- If all these fails and still your cat’s noises or scratching at the door keeps you awake, use the swimmers’ earplugs, which effectively seal the ear canal so that you can hear any noises and should give you some relief.
I hope this article has been helpful to you and the different methods described help you train your cat to be more considerate of your sleep and get you on the way to a fulfilled and rested nightly schedule.