Cat keeping you awake? – cont’d
Sleep promotes optimum health. Both you and your cat need to sleep, but sometimes your cat wants to play when you want to sleep.
Feeding times for your cat
Your cat can be fed their main meal right before bedtime. Cats tend to sleep to digest after a big meal.
If your cat continues to wake you during the night for food, you could purchase a timed feeder that you can fill and set to dispense once or twice during the night.
If your cat’s hungry, he’ll learn to wait by the feeder rather than bother you while you’re sleeping. Make sure you reduce meal sizes so that your cat doesn’t gain weight.
Have a look at the store for some ideas.
Keep your cat mentally active
Incorporate a variety of enrichment activities to keep your cat busy during daylight hours. The more active your cat is during the day, the more likely that he’ll sleep at night. Much of what is true for us, is true for our mammalian pets!
Have a look at the store for some ideas.
Social engagement for your cat
So, if your cat is social with other cats, consider adding a second cat to your family. If the two cats are compatible, they’ll probably play with each other and leave you alone at night. However, romping cats can make quite a racket, which might disturb your sleep just as much as one cat trying to wake you, so there always the dark side to this arrangement!
Owner safety and security
Playful cats sometimes unintentionally injure their sleeping owners. For instance, your cat might notice your eyes moving under your lids as you sleep and swat at your face in play.
If your cat tries to play with you or wake you while you’re sleeping, you might need to shut him out of your bedroom at night. This is especially true of babies and children, keep their doors closed for safety. It will make for better sleep training for them too.
Close curtains of blinds so that your cat can’t see what’s going on outside – sometimes fascination will transfix them for hours, sometimes the opposite. Don’t leave your TV on for your cat. They see it brighter than we do (good eyesight for twilight vision)
If your cat cries and scratches at the door, you can discourage him by placing something in front of the door that he won’t want to step on, such as vinyl carpet runner placed upside-down to expose the knobby parts, double-sided sticky tape, aluminum foil or a Scat Mat™ (see STORE).
Alternatively, you can set a deterrent outside your door – try hanging your hair blow dryer off the bedroom doorknob or placing your vacuum cleaner five or six feet away from the door, most cats don’t like vacuum cleaners!
Plug the dryer or vacuum into a remote switch and when your cat wakes you by meowing outside your door, you can hit a button on the remote to turn on the appliance. Your startled cat probably won’t return to your door after that – this provides a kind and humane learned response to keep you both sane.
Just say “No” to drugs …
Just like taking “part drugs” before bedtime is not conducive to sleep (so they tell me) don’t give your cat, “catnip” before you plan on them sleeping – they won’t.
What you’d be advised NOT TO DO.
Unless you suspect that your cat is waking you up because he’s hurt or sick, don’t get out of bed and attend to them.
If you get up and feed your cat, play with him or even interact with him, you will have inadvertently rewarded him for waking you. Pets like rewards!
As a result, they’ll try harder and harder to wake you each subsequent night. Even getting out of bed to scold your cat won’t work well, because negative attention from you may be better than no attention at all. Cats have a deafness of convenience!
Remember, teach your cat kindly but effectively to let you sleep.
Divide day and night for you and your pet, do for them what you’d do for you and (I know you’re not going to like this) but generally, unless you’ve done it successfully for years, sleep apart so you can both sleep well.
Consider child and baby safety, cats can smother babies with love but also their faces.
As a last resort, there is help through books or Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviourist (Dip ACVB).
Above all, have fun, enjoy your cat and remember, they’re family.