Hello! Nigel, here! Today I wanted to discuss something with you humans that we cats just don’t understand….Why are you always trying to sleep when it is clearly time to play? We cats find this very frustrating! In the evening, when the time is really purrrrrfect for activities like trying to climb the drapes, pulling all of the towels off of the towel rack, knocking little objects off of shelves, etc….you people are always saying “Stop that!” and “Bad kitty!” and then you roll over under those blankets and try to ignore us. It’s really rude! This is clearly the best time for playing and you humans are ruining it!
Domestic cats, such as myself, have an ancestor called the African wildcat. This cat is mostly nocturnal, which means that they like to be awake at night and sleep during the day. When beautiful kitties like me became domesticated, our activity patterns shifted to be more diurnal (awake during the day), but most cats still tend to wake at least twice during the night. The good news for you is that cats can learn to let their human slaves sleep in peace. We aren’t completely heartless you know…
Dr. S has asked me to tell you, if you feel that you need to prevent your cat master from disturbing you while you sleep, you can try the following suggestions:
- Schedule a few interactive play sessions with your cat during the evening. Try using toys that can mimic the movement of mice and birds, such as toys that dangle and wiggle. Games with ping-pong balls, soft balls and furry mice toys are great for cats who like to fetch. Play until your cat seems tired.
- Feed your cat a main meal just before your bedtime. Cats tend to sleep after a big meal. If your cat continues to wake you during the night for food, 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 the daytime meal sizes so that your cat doesn’t gain weight.
- 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. You can even buy toys that are battery-activated on timers to engage your cat in play while you aren’t home!
- 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. If he 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, or aluminum foil. Alternatively, you can set a “booby trap” outside your door. Try hanging your blow dryer off the bedroom door knob, or placing your vacuum cleaner five or six feet away from the door. Plug the dryer or vacuum into a remote switch (available from Radio Shack). 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!
And please do try to keep in mind, that sometimes we walk across your heads in the middle of the night because we are concerned that perhaps you have stopped breathing. We really have your best interests at heart. We don’t want our servants to suddenly expire in the middle of the night! Really, what kind of people owners would we be if we didn’t look out for you silly humans?
If you need help with your kitty’s night time behavior, remember you can always call Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Jeff at For Cats Only! They are happy to help. 🙂
Nigel, signing off! Meow!!