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How do I stop my cat waking me up?

In this blog I will share with you my tried and tested methods for making sure you get a good night’s sleep and don’t get woken up by your cat!

What time is wake up time?

As I sit and write this I am bleary eyed and contemplating another coffee to help me through the morning. Sleep is one of THE most precious things in our house. I am someone that needs at least 8 hours to be able to function. I was born in November, so I like the darker side of the seasons and sleep is a non-negotiable for me.

Yet…my boys have other ideas! Well I say boys but that’s doing a disservice to Leo. I mostly mean Baby Max. With Leo being just over 5 now he will usually settle and unless he needs a wee, which is rare, he will sleep through the night.

Baby Max is another story! He is still young. He will be 2 in October, so he is still very much governed by nature. He wakes when the sun rises, and I mean when the very first bird sings at dawn his internal alarm clock is activated.

This morning that was 3:15am. There is no 3 in my AM clock!

What we have to remember is that cats are crepuscular, which means they are active at dawn and dusk. This is a key time when they can catch a meal sized piece of prey – if they are outdoor cats. Yet being indoor or outdoor doesn’t impact their internal navigation. Their body and senses are awakened by the light.

Cats can be trained. If you put the time and effort into your relationship with your cat you can help them to be in sync with your routine.

Ensure they have a full tummy.

Most cats will eat little and often. I used to feed Pickle twice a day but then we found that smaller, more frequent meals aided her digestion and bodily functions. Have a think about the last time you are feeding your cat. If it’s 4-5pm and you go to bed at 10pm the cat is going to be hungry in the early hours!

Supporting the cat with their prey sequence will help the natural rhythm of their bodies. So have a little play time with your cat then end it with a nice plate of food. After eating, they are likely to have a clean and then head to bed.

We all have hungry days and others when we don’t eat so much. If your cat is waking you up in the night for food, firstly ensure they are eating a species appropriate diet, and then perhaps leave a small plate down overnight.

Sometimes I leave a small plate of wet food, or a bowl of freeze dried down for the boys. Not all the time as I don’t want them to overeat but if they haven’t eaten much during the day or they are having a few hungry days I will leave it down for them. It usually gets eaten by Baby Max in the early hours!

Tire them out.

All cats need to use up their energy. I’m sure you’ve had days when you haven’t been particularly active and then tried to sleep but can’t. This will be the same for cats. They need to play, run around, use up the energy their body creates. You can’t rely on a cat to amuse itself, to tire itself out. Wand toys, fish, mice, balls, bells. Any type of toy you and your cat enjoy playing with … use it.

15-20 minutes before bedtime is all it takes to help the cat to work through another natural cycle. Follow up the playtime with a meal and you’ve got a sleepy cat.

A bored cat does not make for a sleepy cat!

Where do they sleep.

What is your relationship with your cat like? Do they need comfort to feel safe and sleep soundly?

If you are shutting your cat in another room they may become vocal or even destructive if they need your love, support and connection. Some cats will feel safe if they sleep with you, or on you. How are you supporting the emotional needs of your cat when you are trying to get them to sleep? Having brushes or cuddles before bedtime can literally help the cat to feel safe so they can sleep well.

What does bedtime look like?

Cats enjoy routine. Being a predator and prey animal they thrive in a routine based, consistent environment. What does your bedtime routine look like? If you can have 2 or 3 key markers such as activities or behaviours that occur every evening before bedtime this will help your cat know it’s time to settle.

For us the boys have ½ a quail egg before bed. I always walk up the stairs using my best Snow-White voice saying ‘Who wants eggs’ and both boys come running up the stairs. After this Leo goes to settle in his igloo and Baby Max heads up to his shelf bed.

Then (mostly) a good nights sleep is had by all.

How to get a good night’s sleep…

Make sure your cat has a full tummy.

Feed them before bed and leave food down if necessary.

Play with them to tire them out, during the day and before bedtime.

Ensure they feel safe so they can sleep soundly.

Brushes and cuddles are a great way to emotionally bond with your cat.

Have a routine.

I hope you have enjoyed the blog.

Feel free to email me: Info@naturallycats.co.uk and tell me what your bedtime routine looks like, or how you make sure you get a good night’s sleep.

With Love,
Julie-Anne, Leo and Baby Max xxx

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Thumbnail image by Photo by Sam Lion

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