I often have this problem with my cat, she tends to wake us up early in the middle of the night or when it's too early to get up quiet yet. I might have to start doing this to make sure she doesn't bother us further at night anymore.
Kitty Won't Let You Sleep? Try This.
Posted Thu, Oct 04, 2007, 10:01 pm PDT
People often ask me how to get their cats to stop waking them up in the middle of the night.
Here's a technique to help your cat get on a schedule that doesn't interrupt your beauty sleep. I call my training technique for this the “cycle of four.” The four steps are: hunt, feast, groom, and sleep.
Let's look at it from the cat's point of view.
In an outdoor setting, a cat (1) goes through physical exertion to capture his meal. Afterward, he (2) enjoys his meal. He then (3) grooms to remove traces of prey. (Grooming is crucial to survival, because it prevents other prey from realizing there's a predator nearby.)
Then, with a full tummy, your cat's ready for (4) a nap to recharge his energy.
You can use this knowledge to help your kitty get on a nighttime schedule that's more compatible with yours. Here's how:
- THE HUNT. Right before you're ready for bed, conduct an interactive play session, using a fishing pole-type toy. You can do other play sessions throughout the day and evening, but it's this pre-bedtime session that's crucial for resetting kitty's internal clock.
- Next comes THE FEAST. Reward the Mighty Hunter with food or a treat. If you schedule-feed, divide up his daily portion and offer a meal after playtime. If you free-feed, take up the food earlier in the evening. After playtime, make a big production over placing the food back down.
- GROOMING. Your cat will take care of this.
- BEDTIME. If you've led a satisfying play session and offered a food reward, kitty will probably be ready to sleep.
For more tips, preorder my new book, Starting from Scratch.