Written By: Kathleen F. McLeod, CatsWannaBeCats.Com
Cats are sleep experts. They sleep for the majority of their day, can sleep with both eyes open and can doze off into a deep sleep at any moment of their choosing. Why then, must they insist on being most active while we mere coffee-dependent sleep amateurs struggle to get enough to survive the next workday?
Cats are naturally crepuscular, most active during twilight hours, and some can’t read their watches, so they are active between those hours, too. And, for some reason, they don’t miss you while you’re at work (they’re sleeping), but they miss you most when you’re tuckered out and tucking into bed.
There is hope for us. Here are some tips to help you get your fair share of beauty sleep:
1. Keep your cat stimulated throughout the day. If you work away from home, utilize puzzle feeders and independent play options. Consider leaving a wildlife channel playing on the TV.
2. Schedule playtime together in the evening before you get ready for bed so she gets tired around the time that you do.
3. Never. Give. In. Cats respond very well to positive reinforcement and it can work equally as well for desired and undesired behaviours. If your cat pesters you at 4:00 AM and, after holding out as long as you can, you get up to play or give her food, she will take that as positive reinforcement. So, it may take a few nights of pretending to sleep while you’d rather pull your hair out, but it will be worth it. Cats are smart.
4. Consult your veterinarian. Cats may vocalize throughout the night when they’re unwell or because of cognitive changes related to aging. If waking you up is a new behaviour, it’s possible your cat is trying to tell you something serious is going on and your veterinarian is the best person to help you find out what it is.