Cats are known for being playful and often mischievous creatures. They’re also surprisingly lethargic creatures, lying around napping at all hours of the day whenever the mood strikes. In fact, cats can spend most of their day asleep – upwards of sixteen hours! If you’ve ever lived with one, you know that their sleep patterns don’t exactly align with human sleep patterns. That’s because cats are by nature nocturnal creatures. Humans, however, are not.
Many cat owners struggle with exhausting and frustrating sleep interruptions as their feline companions merrily run about at all hours of the night seeking adventure and attention. So, what can you do? Well, rather than suffering and resenting your beloved pet, there are actually some training techniques you can employ to help your cat quiet down and rest during those precious hours of the night. Here’s how you can help kitty make it through so you can sleep soundly:
- Establish a nightly routine – Try to wear your cat out just before your bedtime. Make a routine of nightly playtime. Get out the toys, run them around, and help get all of that pent-up energy out so that they’re not tempted to do so while you’re enjoying a REM cycle. With a longer, later playtime, they’ll be nice and tired, ready to settle in for a long sleep with you.
- Push back meal time – Cats often stir up trouble and seek attention in the middle of the night because they’re looking for a snack. So, slowly push back kitty’s dinner time so that it’s closer to bedtime. Cats generally tire and settle in once they have a full stomach. You might also consider investing in an automatic cat feeder so that they don’t come looking for you in the middle of the night when they get hungry again.
- Designate a sleeping area – Make sure kitty has his or her own special place to sleep. Whether they have their own plush bed next to yours or simply a blanket and their favorite toy kept in the same place every evening, show them that they too have a nice place to curl up at the end of the day just like you.
- Leave out distractions – While all of these things can help your cat settle down at night, it can also help to go ahead and lay out some nice distractions for them around the house in the event that they do still wake up. Place toys (quiet ones, of course) and treats in places they can easily find throughout the night so that their attention remains diverted from waking you from your most needed slumber.
While it may be wishful thinking to have our feline friends sleep eight hours each night as we try to, you can take these tips, and retrain, or at least curb, your cat’s nightly disruptive habits. Compromises will have to be made, of course, as we are dealing with cats. With consistency and the right attitude, though, you and your cat can get on a better sleep schedule together.