It is a regular part of a cat parent’s life, to get woken up at the break of dawn by their little furry friend.
While it is wonderful to have a fluffy beast snuggle up to you, it is not ideal when you are in deep sleep.
It is a common question among cat owners, why do cats wake you up so early in the morning?
The short and sweet answer to this question is that they crave your attention and some food. While this is a very basic need and absolutely adorable, it is not feasible for us to compromise our sleep cycle.
So, it is better for us to try to understand why and find a middle ground that works for both cat and owner.
Is Your Cat Waking You Up on Purpose?
Cats tend to wake you up when they get hungry, and this usually occurs very early in the morning.
Cats are smart creatures and they usually have a routine, but if they are presented with extra feeding opportunities; they will definitely take it.
A very possible scenario could have been that at some point your cat began to play in the middle of the night. And it is possible that you may have thrown a few treats around to make them stop and go back to sleep.
Thus, your cat learned that making a racket in the middle of the night gets him a midnight snack.
It is funny because your cat reverse-Pavlov’s you into giving it food when it was originally not even aware that would happen.
They were probably restless and wanted some attention, but now you gave them a new way to get food.
According to Dr. Marci Koski of Feline Behavior Solutions, cats are master manipulators. They can annoy you into doing their will.
But if you are tired of this constant disturbance in the middle of the night, it is possible for you to modify this sort of behavior in your cat.
It will take a few weeks of patience and some discipline along with tools, but it is possible for you to recondition your cat.
But it is important to consider the different reasons for this behavior and act accordingly.
5 Reasons Your Cat Wakes Up at Night
Cats are usually silent creatures but sometimes they are seen to make a racket in the middle of the night. Such a change in their behavior or just this behavior, in general, has several reasons:
- Hunger in the middle of the night is one of the most common reasons for cats to wake you up.
- Feline dementia or Feline Cognitive Dysfunctional Syndrome can cause older cats to yowl uncontrollably.
- Boredom or lack of exercise or playtime can make your cat whine and moan. Cats need to be constantly entertained.
- Stress or Change in a cat’s life can cause them psychological distress and force them to vocalize or cry. Traumatic events or drastic changes such as death, moving houses, new baby in the house can be a factor in them yelling.
- Medical issues, ailments, or concealed injuries can also cause cats to be fussy and make noise.
How to Stop Your Cat from Waking You Up in the Morning?
Your cat will probably stop waking you up at inconvenient hours if they have something distracting around.
Now, this distraction needs to be better than your company and it better be rewarding!
You can not just shut them out or close the door in hopes of them changing their behavior.
They need to have an alternate for you so they can leave you alone. Hence, here are a few tricks that have worked for other cat owners, and hopefully, will help you.
- Automatic Feeders
Automatic feeders are a lifesaver if you are one of those people who need to be up and about super early in the morning.
Especially, if your cat looks for munchies in the middle of the night. And while you love your cats, you need adequate rest.
Get your feline friends an automatic feeder that can dispense food at scheduled times.
Time your feeder to dispense a small amount of dry food, approximately around the time they usually wake up.
You can gradually condition your cat into waking up a little later, by scheduling it a few minutes later every few days.
In case your cat gets annoyed with the delay, set it back to the last acceptable time frame. And then gradually repeat the process until you have your kitten trained.
This is helpful if you want your cat to wake up later in the morning and sync with your own sleep cycle. Cats have a sharp internal clock and usually prefer a routine.
So, if you can condition them to adjust to your time preference, bit by bit, your life may become easier.
It is advised to get a feeder that can be cleaned easily and has the option to dispense both dry and wet food in case you are having a particularly long day.
Since it is important to balance out dry and wet food for your cats, lest they get dehydrated. It is common for cat owners to dispense dry food from an auto-feeder and wet food by hand, but for cat owners with a heavy schedule; it is best to pick a feeder that serves both purposes.
2. Tire them Out
Get your cat toys that can be stimulating and keep them busy for hours. When your kitten has several things to occupy his time, he will less likely bother you during your sleep.
Since another reason for cats to wake you up is boredom. Your little buddy wants to play with you but at the oddest hour!
So, the best you can do for him is to give him access to enough toys so he can fulfil his need for physical activity.
3. Hunt at Home
Food puzzles are a great method to keep your cat occupied throughout the night, as they are well known for being active during the night. Indulge your cat in its natural, wild instinct in the domestic setting by hiding special treats around the house.
This way they can “hunt” around the house and entertain themselves in the process.
You can do the same with catnip toys to keep them interested.
Pick some of your cat’s favourite toys, make sure they are the kind he can play with by himself. If there are pouches in it, sprinkle some catnip in them and place these different toys around the house.
Make it fun for your cat, and safe for your things!
4. Play before Bed
Furthermore, you can try playing with your cat before bedtime to tire them out. This quality time spent with a human can be great positive reinforcement for the cat and their mental health.
A tired cat is less likely to wake up in the middle of the night and more likely to sleep through till morning.
A cat will not bother you at odd hours if you can put them in its normal cycle which is hunt, groom, and sleep.
Certified feline behavioural specialists have recommended that if you can engage in regular playtime at a certain hour, your cat is extremely likely to sleep through the night or at least sun-up.
Bloggers and other cat owners in the cat community have positive feedback as well. According to them, stimulating a hunter-prey playtime routine before bed has resulted in great modification and desirable behaviour from their furry friends.
If you can lure your cat with the right kind of toy, you can stimulate their process of staring and stalking to pouncing and biting; which will satisfy their physical activity cravings and let you sleep through the night.
5. Medical Conditions
If you have tried everything and your cat still will not stop meowing throughout the night, then you need to check for any medical issues he may be having.
If you have to keep feeding your cat in short intervals, it is time to visit the vet since this could mean your cat is suffering from either feline diabetes, high blood pressure, or hyperthyroidism.
These are only some of the common diseases which cause an insatiable appetite in cats, but there may be specifically something medically wrong with your cat. Which can only be determined by a trained professional, so you should get the earliest possible appointment with the vet.