Is your cat waking you at 2 a.m.? At the crack of dawn does he or she race from one end of the house to the other or demand that you get out of bed and feed her NOW? You are not alone. Here are a few tips to help both you and your feline friend get a little more shut eye at night.

Health Check. If your cat usually sleeps through the night and is suddenly waking overnight, have her checked by your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems that could be causing discomfort or confusion.

Play in the evening. Twenty minutes of running, stalking, jumping, and pouncing will tire out your cat so she will be snoozing in the morning.

Manage your cat’s environment during the night. Confine your cat in a cat-proofed room overnight with a litter box, water, bedding, and some toys. 

Awaken during the day. Cats who sleep all day while their families are at work have more energy to use at night. Set wind-up alarm clocks to wake her a couple times during the day. Put out a special toy that she only gets when you are gone (remember to put it away when you get home). “Hide” Kitty Kong toys with a couple treats in them around the house. Play a DVD with birds, fish, and other visuals designed to entertain cats. If possible, have a friend or pet sitter visit her in the middle of the day (even if it’s only once or twice a week, your cat will appreciate it).

Use an automatic feeder. Rather than getting up to feed her and reinforcing her begging, set a feeder to open at the appropriate time (about five minutes earlier than she has been waking you).

Adopt a fellow feline friend. If your cat climbs on you, paws at you, meows in your ear, or otherwise is purposely attempting to wake you, another pet might help. Granted, the cats might wake you with their play, but at least they probably won’t be doing it on purpose. And they potentially won’t be as active at night if they play together during the day.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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