My Cat Wakes Up Too Early What Do I Do
Does your cat wake you up before your alarm goes off and insist you pay attention to her? Your cat probably doesnt care that this kind of behavior is not endearing, and he or she will continue to do so until you fix the problem.
There is a reason why your cat is waking up so early and getting you up along with him. Heres what to look for
Your Cat May Be Telling You Shes Hungry
The most obvious reason for waking you up is that your kitty is telling you they want some food. You take care of their meals, so they know to come to you when they are hungry. If you forgot to feed your cat the night before, you fed them too early the day before, or you slept in past your regular scheduled cat feeding time, its highly likely that your cat will come to you and remind you of your error!
The way to fix this, of course, is to feed your cat in a timely manner every day or invest in an automatic cat feeder. Your cats stomach operates on a schedule, and if you miss its deadlines, your cat will start complaining. Try to feed your cat at consistent times, but if you dont manage to do that, then you will have to make up for it somehow.
If you feed your cat earlier than usual the night before, for instance, then you can set out some food before you go to bed. It doesnt have to be a lot, but just a small amount can be enough to sate your cats hunger until you are ready to wake up and feed your furry friend.
You can probably tell by the sound your cat makes whether they are hungry or not, so listen out to determine if that is the reason he is waking you.
Cat Is Mating Or In Heat
Cats yowl as a mating call, and they can reach impressive octaves. If you find it impossible to sleep through your felines calls, then consider if its been spayed or neutered.
The cat may be in heat and looking for a mate. Depending on its sex, it may also be reacting to the pheromones of a nearby cat and trying to locate it.
If you happen to own a male and female that are both unfixed, then yowling can occur as they mate. Unless you want kittens, its wise to separate them or get them fixed.
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You Feed Your Cat Immediately After You Wake Up
Do you sleepily dish up the cat food mere minutes after rising? If so, she may be waking you to invoke the feeding process. Go about your morning activities for a while before feeding or lavishing attention on the cat, suggests Cox.
Fend off her hunger by giving her a healthy snack before bedtime, such as a high-protein treat. Or ask your vet about dividing her daily food into smaller meals, spread throughout the day, to help her feel more satisfied.
If your cat is finicky for fresh water, indulge her with a self-filling water dispenser.
A Bored Cat Is A Sleepy Cat But Only Up To A Point
Felines are predators. Most cats find the stimulation of prey irresistible. Even if the prey is out of reach as in the case of birds seen through the window. Even if the prey is pretend like a toy mouse or Da Bird. Keep that in mind for now were going to use that useful piece of information later on as we try to solve the problem.
Lets take a look at what your cats daily routine looks like. If youre away from home and the cat is home alone, are there enough birds and mice to keep him busy? Probably not? At least not interesting moving ones, right? And we just said that a bored cat is likely to fall asleep during the day. That cat is obeying its internal clock. The biological clock of the crepuscular cat is saying: No mice around now, lets go to sleep so we have enough energy to hunt them later.
Cats do need more sleep than humans do, about 12-16 hours a day. Thats a lot but its definitely not 24 hours a day. A cat that has spent the entire day sleeping will be up and about at night. Especially during dawn and dusk but we already said those can be flexible.
So now its 4AM. Your cat has had is beauty sleep all day yesterday and then some more between midnight and dawn. Now what? The sun is about to rise in a couple of hours and Kitty can sense that. Whats more, that cat is bored. He wants your company and he craves some form of stimulation to keep boredom at bay.
Whats a bored cat to do? Lets try and look at this from your cats perspective:
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Cat Waking You Up At 4am Yeah Thats Normal Wanna Fix It
27 Sep, 2017
Its 4am and you are thoroughly enjoying your REM sleep…until your cat starts nibbling at your toe or poking at your face. Wake up! Its time to eat!
I lovingly refer to to this exhausting part of cat ownership as Night Nudging. In fact, Night Nudging is so common, that cat owners accept it part of the deal. Cats are so wonderful that they are worth waking up for. While this is true, wouldnt it be extra-wonderful if you could love your sweet kitty AND sleep through the night?
Why do cats Night Nudge? In nature, cats may make as many as 100 hunting attempts to catch the 8-13 small prey a day they need to survive. This hunting is not limited to daytime. While cats are also champion sleepers, their bodies are created to have the drive to hunt and eat small meals all day and all night. With the lack of mice and birds roaming your home in the wee hours of the night, your cat will hunt your sleeping self!
There are ways to support your cats natural hunting instinct. Use a feeding device to hide food around your house at night. Now your cat can spend the night the way nature intended for a cat -hunting, catching and playing with small portions of food before eating them and you get to spend the night the way nature intended for humans – sleeping!
Ignore Your Cat When He Wakes You Up At Night
If you checked to make sure your cat was all right in the evening, you should not worry about something terrible happening to him thus, you are safe to not pay attention to your catâs repertoire during the night. Why would it be necessary?
If your cat meows to wake you, and you indeed wake up and feed him , itâs just enticing him to do the same again and again thus, you will not have a sleep tonight, the next night, or any other night.
Of course, at first glance, it looks more natural to wake up, quickly pour some food into the bowl and get back to sleep, rather than listen to a cat meowing all night, ignore him and not get any sleep at all.
However, if your cat wakes you at night and youâd like to stop it, you must sacrifice some nights. The first one will be the hardest, obviously, but every successive one will be easier.
IMPORTANT: The above advice applies not only to granting your cat what he wants but to any interaction with him. Do not even shoo him, scold him or lock your cat away. Any of those is attention, and attention is a reward. You do not want to reward your cat for waking you up. Lie in your bed and pretend youâre dead.
You can also consider closing the door to your bedroom. Read here how to prevent your cat from scratching at it.
If you follow the steps below, you will get your sleep back after several daysâitâs that soon.
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Training Your Cat To Stop Waking You Up In The Morning
If you want your cat’s behavior to change, YOU must do something to instigate that change, Dr. Koski says. You can’t just close your door and expect that your cat will do something else you need to give your cat an alternative activity that they enjoy.
In other words, you cant ignore your cat and hope theyll go away. This doesnt mean you should cave and reward your cats unwanted behavior with food or attention, but you cant expect them to stop waking you up unless you give them another outlet for their attention.
How To Stop Cat Fromwaking Me Up
Sleep is an important part of everyday. But, when you have acat or in my case cats, getting a full nights sleep can quickly become aproblem. If your cat is like mine, then you know they love to wake you up at 3or 4am. That does not need to be the case!
So, how to stop a cat from waking me up? Cats are naturally nocturnal animals, andtherefore tend to do their hunting at night. You need to change your cats Circadianrhythm so that their sleep schedule changes to mimic yours. Your cat willnaturally want to sleep longer than you, but by ensuring that bed time iscloser to the evening and their waking hours are in daylight, you can ensureyourself a full nights sleep!
The best part about this is that it is not very hard toaccomplish. It will however take some time on your part and with most things incat training there are several steps involved. But do not worry! By the timeyou are done reading this guide you will be fully prepared to take the nextsteps towards changing your cats sleep cycle and preventing your cat fromwaking you up at night.
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So Why Do Some Cats Wake The Owner Up At Night
Assuming that your cat is healthy, its time to try and figure out what the behavioral motivations are.First, theres that internal biological clock to take into account. Humans are diurnal creatures, that means most of us wake up in the morning, stay active during the day and go to bed at night.
How about our precious cats though? Maybe you heard that felines are nocturnal by nature, that is to say that they sleep during the day and are active during the night. You may be wondering at this point if we can even co-exist in the same home with such different sleep patterns. Dont worry, its not as bad as that.
And Routine Means Seven Days A Week
It takes a while for a cat to grasp the concept of weekends, so get accustomed to being rousted out of bed at the same time or within an hour of your typical workday wake-up time. The good news is that as your cat settles in, shell start to understand that you sleep later on your days off and will adapt to that schedule. These regularly occurring late-sleep days become another routine.
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Your Kitty May Be Lonely
Another reason that your cat may be calling for your attention early in the morning is because they are craving social interaction. Cats are sometimes seen as loners, but they need to interact with other creatures just like anyone else does. Your cat may just want to play with you or spend time with you, and he or she may not be happy that you are ignoring them and doing nothing exciting or engaging!
One way to deal with this is to give your cat a friend. Another pet in the house, particularly a second cat, can make a big difference in how often your cat bothers you and their loneliness.
Another way to keep your kitty happy is to play with them before you go to bed so that their mind is engaged and their energy levels are properly drained. If you can exercise your cat adequately, they wont have all that pent up energy first thing in the morning.
You may just want to sleep in the same bed with your furry friend, though, as that can be comforting for you both and keep them from feeling lonely first thing in the morning.
Why Does My Cat Keep Waking Me Up At Night
Does your cat keep you up at night? Perhaps youve been asleep for an hour or so before youre rudely awaken by a pouncing cat attacking your feet, cat calling or scratching. Its not that uncommon but it is extremely tiring and often frustrating, especially when you have work in the morning. Why do cats wake you up at night? Here are the most common reasons.
1. The cat isnt getting enough stimulation during the times when theyre awake
2. Your cat has a different schedule to yours
3. Your cat is thirsty or hungry
4. Your cat is not happy with the state of the litter tray
5. Your cat is bored
6. Your cat wants some company
7. Your cat has a medical issue
We will touch briefly on reason seven. Older cats may have an underlying illness that is causing them to change their nightly behaviour. If this behaviour is new, if they appear sick or stressed and you are unsure why, take your cat to the vet for a check-up. Its also a good idea to take your cat to the vet if none of the tips on how to stop your cat waking you during the night work for you.
How to Stop Your Cat Waking You at Night
The good news is you can stop your cat from waking you by devoting some of your time and attention to your pet. You will need to retrain your cat to help both of your daily schedules to align.
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How Do I Get My Cat To Sleep Through The Night
Most cats wont naturally sleep through the night. However, like all creatures, they will sleep when theyre fatigued. You can encourage the feline to take those naps at night by:
Making It Hunt During The Day
Cats are mostly active at night because this is prime hunting time. Keeping your feline more active and focused during the day will leave it with less energy after dark. Play with your cat 2-3 times a day, for about 30 minutes apiece. You can also do this in smaller 10-minute intervals 5-6 times a day.
It may still wake up and explore, but this will be in limited quantities. It will also be less likely to bother you if it felt its social needs were met during the day.
Let It Eat Right Before Bedtime
Instead of feeding your cat several hours before bed, give it a meal just before turning the lights out. In the wild, cats go hunting, which expends a lot of their energy. Once they catch their prey, theyll eat and then groom to clean themselves up after their meal. Then, they will fall asleep due to being tired and having a full belly.
Although your cat wont burn much energy eating out of its food bowl, the instinct remains. It will likely wind down and take a nap just after the meal. This nap will last even longer if you played together just before the meal.
Use An Automatic Feeder To Recondition Your Cats Morning Mealtime
If youre going to train your cat to wake up later in the morning or at least not wake you up before the sun rises youll need a way to reward them with food, but in a way that doesnt involve you getting out of bed, which will only reinforce the unwanted behavior. This is where an automatic feeder comes in.
Using the automatic feeder, you can slowly recondition your cat to expect meals later in the morning.
- Start Early: Set the feeder to distribute food slightly earlier than the time your cat normally wakes you up. This way they wont get a chance to act out the behavior that previously got them a reward i.e., annoy you to get fed.
- Feed Later: After a few days, set the feeder to go off a few minutes later. Then set the feeders time later and later every few days. If your cat starts to bug you in the morning again, set the timer slightly earlier for a day or two, then go back to the later times.
Eventually, your cat will expect food later and later in the morning and they wont feel the need to get you out of bed.
When selecting a feeder, youll want one thats easy to clean, reliable, and can distribute wet food as well as dry food. Its not absolutely necessary that you pick up a wet-food automatic feeder, but it can be better in the long run.
Alternatively, you can use the automatic feeder to give your cat dry food in the morning, then feed them wet food by hand for their remaining meals. With that being said, here are some of our favorite automatic feeders.
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Your Cat Is Most Active When Youre About To Wake Up
Another scientific reason behind my cat wakes me up why? Cats are crepuscular creatures, which is a fancy way of saying that theyre most active at dawn and dusk. Cat vision is best adapted for the light levels of these in between times, so thats when they do their hunting, playing and socializing.
Keep in mind that a cat who helps you to wake up when youre getting ready to wake up is not the same as a cat who wakes you up at 4 a.m. begging for attention or food. If youre dealing with cat meowing at night, Catster behaviorist Marilyn Krieger has some tips for you about how to retrain her.
Tell us: Do you have a cat who helps you wake up? If you work nights or odd shifts, how does your cat deal with that?
This piece was originally published in 2013.
Thumbnail: Photography by ArtOfPhotos / Shutterstock.