Is your cat keeping you awake at night? Cats are most active at night, in particular dawn and dusk. I’m sure you already know that your cat is awake. That soft thud, that is the dead giveaway of jumping down from somewhere he really shouldn’t be.
Cats spend a fair bit of time at night wandering around.
Many of us are familiar with the dawn part of the cat being active, by having the cat wake us in the early morning hours to let us know they are ready for breakfast. A gentle paw on the face or a forceful thump and even a bite are all on the cards for cats ready for breakfast.
Your cat’s natural instinct is to hunt and be up and about when it’s dark outside. Even though cats are domesticated, some or these behaviors from ancestral days, still exist in some form.
It is up to us to manage night activity so that we can all sleep peacefully and live in harmony. Know that you are not alone, many cat owners struggle with excessive meowing and unusual behavior during the night, which can be disruptive to both you and other family members. However, there are several ways to help your cat calm down and sleep peacefully through the night.
That may mean altering the cat’s schedule to suit your own in order to get a good night’s sleep.
No More Night Time Meowing – Here Is What You Can Do!
First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that your cat is a healthy pet. Health issues such as pain or cognitive decline can cause your cat to meow excessively or exhibit other signs of unusual behavior.
Make sure your cat has access to fresh water in a quiet area, and consider taking them to the vet if you suspect a health issue
1. Schedule Play Time And snacks
Help cats adjust their internal clocks and keep the cat awake with an activity hour about an hour before bedtime. Spend time to play with the cat before bed. A tired cat is a quiet cat. This way the cat’s schedule more closely matches your night time routine .
Keep the cat entertained by playing with the cat. Help your cat sleep peacefully at night by provide them with plenty of daytime activity.
Senior cats may not have the same hunting instincts as younger cats, but they still need stimulation and exercise during the daylight hours.
Try using cat toys such as a laser pointer or puzzle feeder to keep your cat entertained and engaged.
Interactive toys and feather cat teasers will keep the bored cat busy. Interactive play chasing a laser chaser game is another good idea. You can use your phone for this as there are lots of cat laser chaser games on YouTube.
Paper bags can also provide physical stimulation for cats. If the bag is big enough he will wiggle around and try to get inside. Add some enticements like a toy or catnip.
By keeping the cat active he will eventually tire and at some stage he will wander off for a sit down.
Follow the game session with some tasty treats to keep your cat from waking you for food.
Many cats love the early mornings routine of batting their owner with varying degrees of force until the owner finally relents and gets up to provide food.
A treat before bedtime may or may not help with this behavior with your cat but is worth a try.
2. Adopt Another Cat
A single cat could easily be frustrated at home alone and may need attention from a human partner at night. A second cat can provide companionship and social interaction at night and lessen any nocturnal activity.
This is particularly true for kittens and young cats that have extra energy for social play in their initial growth period. Two kittens are usually better than one.
The choice of another adult cat in your house that is compatible with the first pet should be done with care so that any older cats don’t suffer from a stressful companion.
3. Don’t Let Your Cat Sleep In Your Bedroom
If it is noise you are trying to avoid, give your cat a comfortable cat bed in another room in your home.
Make certain wherever the cat does sleep, that they have access to fresh water and a clean litter box.
Manage your cat’s environment. It may not necessarily be a room that the cat is confined to but rather an area of the house.
This means that the cat has his own space and can still roam around parts of the house but cant access the bedroom area.
4. Keep Your Door Closed
Although the cats may scratch at the door when we close the bedroom door, they eventually give up and either go to sleep or find another activity.
However in the meantime the cat may have scratched at the door causing damage and that is not acceptable.
You can prevent damage on your door by installing a scratch pad (like the one below) in the doorway or having a scratching post near the door plus trimming kitty nails.
If your cat wakes you up with excessive meowing, try ignoring their meows and only responding when they are quiet. This will help your pet feel that meowing is not an effective way to get your attention. Be patient and consistent with your efforts to stop meowing at night, as it may take time for your cat to adjust to a new routine.
By ignoring the cat, the theory is that eventually the cat will give up on this idea and go away. This idea is prone to failing because we don’t like the door being scratched and we get up and let the cat in to the bedroom. It takes commitment.
5. Have A Routine Feeding And Sleep Schedule
It is tempting to leave a bowl of cat biccies for the cat to graze on all day long. We think we are being kind. These snacks are often carbohydrate based and ok in small quantities but not if the cat will be grazing all day.
The mainstay of a cat’s diet should always be protein.
Get into a routine of feeding the cat three times a day. Jackson Galaxy explains this clearly in this video. He also advocates a specific feeding and playing routine before bedtime to avoid cat shenanigans in the middle of the night.
If the cat still wakes you at 3 am, he suggests ignoring the cat, yes ignoring. It may be hard to do this as cats are persistent but eventually the cat will get the idea and give up. The problem here often is that the human gives up before the cat. We are not too tolerant when our sleep is being disturbed.
He also gives a big thumbs down to spraying the cat with water. The reason for this is that the cat will associate you with being squirted with water. The relationship you have with your cat will suffer as a result. It is just not worth it!
6. White Noise
Some commercial product offerings offer soothing sounds that may help you rest and block out noise from the cat at night.
The sounds of birds, oceans and rivers may be used as well as white noise. Using wireless earbuds or headsets can help.
This isn’t actually helping with the cat making a noise in the middle of the night, problem but if it works for you to get some sleep, I see that as a win.
7. Talk To Your Vet
Talk to your vet about behavior-modifying medications if necessary. These can help change problem behaviors, making life more enjoyable for both you and your pet.
Often these medications are helpful for a few nights and are not usually a permanent solution.
8. Cat Spayed or Neutered
Unneutered male cats are especially prone to waking people up at night with their caterwauling. Male cats that are not neutered are more likely to vocalize (yowl, cry) at night.
This behavior is often motivated by the desire to mate and can be frustrating for many cat owners, who are trying to sleep. These cats may be able to access outdoor areas.
If you have an unneutered male cat, consider having him neutered by a veterinarian to help reduce this nocturnal noise.
Or keep your cat indoors at night, which is a good idea anyway.
9. Keep Cats Quiet At Night – One More Idea
If your cat likes to make a noise when wanting food and your really don’t want to employ any of the above methods, you could try using a smart bowl. A smart bowl is an automatic feeder that you can program to dispense food at a certain time. Definitely worth a try if this relates to you.
The feeder below is wifi enabled for Android and iPhone and can be programmed from your phone. It is also compatible with Alexa so you can even give Alexa a command from your bed to feed the cat.
What a great idea! I haven’t used this but I like the idea the more I read about it. I know it sounds like a novelty but this is one really great practical idea.
Click on the image below for more details.
If you are easily able to separate living areas and confine the cat to a certain part of the house, where he can wander around and make a noise that will not disturb you, then, that will be an easy solution for you.
If this is not possible, try the method that Jackson Galaxy advocates. It is a combination of a routine feeding and playing schedule and if worst comes to worst, employing the ignore the cat’s behavior technique.
Keeping your cat calm and quiet at night is essential for both you and your pet to get more sleep. By providing your cat with plenty of activity in daylight hours, establishing a routine, and being patient and consistent, you can help your furry friend sleep soundly through the night.