If you have ever owned a cat as a pet or known someone who has a cat, then chances are you have probably been suddenly awakened at least once during your life at 5 AM as she or he raced through the house or stood in front of your face meowing and demanding that you get out of bed. You are not alone. There is a reason for this strange behavior. Cats are crepuscular. The word crepuscular is used to describe animals that are most active at dawn and dusk. Don’t be surprised if with the approach of spring and the sun rising earlier, your cat starts rising earlier too, as crepuscular beings, it is simply in their nature.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways for you and your feline friend to live in harmony without having to function everyday on 3 hours of sleep. If you would rather get your beauty sleep, here are a few helpful tips to help keep your cat sleeping in too:
- Evening play – Even 20 to 30 minutes of evening play each night will help tire your kitty out so that he will want to catch plenty of Z’s come morning time. Why not try enticing kitty with his favorite toy and a bit of running, or jumping around chasing after it? Try to get your cat to be active whether it means running, stalking, jumping or “killing”. Your cat will love the attention and he will also love stalking his favorite toy mouse or feather wand across the house. The best part? You can both sleep at night.
- Keep Kitty Awake – Cats are prone to sleeping all day, so if you allow them to do just that, it means less sleep at night for you as kitty will have way more energy to waste away once night comes. Try switching your cat’s routine up a bit by keeping him awake more during the day. Set a couple alarm clocks to wake kitty up, leave a message on the answering machine talking to him. Put out his favorite toy or a bit of catnip when you are gone. If possible have a friend or sitter visit during the day when you are away to keep him plenty of company. If you are at home with kitty during the day, take some time to play with him and pay special attention to him, anything to keep those eyes open for just a few more hours during the day so that by the time nightfall comes around he will be just as tired out as you.
- Use An Automatic Feeder – Rather than giving into your cat and getting up in the morning to feed him or her, think about investing in an automatic feeder and setting it to open at the appropriate time. Getting up every morning to feed Miss Kitty will only reinforce her begging.
- Be Patient – Eventually cats will adjust to their new schedule and everything will get back on track. Even better news is that mature cats usually don’t go through this phase every year nearly as much as younger cats do. Just be patient with kitty as best you can. It’s going to take a while for both of you to adjust but it can be done.