Does your cat have an annoying habit of waking you up at night stepping on your face, patting your head, crawling under the covers and meowing? This could be a real problem. Sleep deprivation caused by a pet has physical and mental effects that last for weeks or even months.
In this article, you will learn how to get your cat to sleep at night so that you too can get a good night’s sleep. To understand why our cats do what they do, we need to take a look at their ancestors.
The ancestors of domestic cats (the North African lynx) preferred to live alone, they were nocturnal or twilight hunters. Today, many domestic cats retain these behavioral traits that affect their sleep and activity patterns.
The domestic cat today is crepuscular, Which means it is most active in the hours before sunrise and Yet it descends directly below the horizon every night.
This means that it is perfectly normal for your cat to always wake you up at the same time in the early morning or move around the house at night; But you can work with your cat to create a sleep cycle that works for both of you.
Before you start training your cat to sleep through the night, Rule out any medical condition he may have.
While felines are naturally more active at night and in the early morning, some also have trouble sleeping at night due to emotional or physical issues.
Infections, disease, and pain can alter a cat’s normal sleep and activity patterns. Rule out any medical problems by taking your cat to the vet for a full medical examination.
Reasons your cat may have trouble sleeping at night
While it is normal for cats to be most active in the early morning and evening, they may have trouble sleeping at night due to health issues or stress.
Changes in your pet’s sleep schedule can have several causes. Let’s find out some of the reasons why your cat might be waking up at night.
- Chronic anxiety Like medical causes, chronic stress can produce a variety of nonspecific signs, including poor sleep. Besides sleeping problems, stressed cats may also talk excessively, appear restless, or overly prepare. This type of stress is common in multi-cat households, and often causes unrelated individuals to compete for limited resources.
- Boredom: An indoor lifestyle based on confinement and boredom without environmental enrichment can cause cats to sleep all day and seek their owner’s attention at night.
- Insomnia / Insomnia: Many cats get restless at night despite being affectionate and need plenty of sleep. These cats usually roam around the house in the middle of the night, playing with toys, toilet paper, throwing things off the shelves and trying to get an answer from the owner during sleep. This behavior is usually attributed to your cat’s nocturnal or crepuscular nature, but it is not always healthy. Insomnia can extend to daytime insomnia. If your cat has a sleep disorder, it is essential to consult your veterinarian for a prolonged behavioral examination.
- Environmental changes: Cats are territorial and their heightened sense of smell is one of the main ways to assess their surroundings. Moving to a new home can cause emotional distress, loss of appetite, and restlessness in some cats due to the perception of a new threat to environmental safety.
- Cognitive impairment in older cats: Age-related decline in brain function can lead to behavioral changes such as confusion, memory impairment, and altered sleep patterns. Signs of the sleep-wake cycle include frequent awakenings during the night, increased daytime naps, and increased vocalization during the night. It is estimated to affect more than 50% of cats over the age of 15.
11 Tips for Teaching Your Cat to Sleep Through the Night: How do you get your cat to sleep through the night?
Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques you can use to encourage your pet to sleep on a schedule that benefits both you and them.
Once you determine the cause of your cat’s nocturnal activity, you’ll want to take steps to help your cat sleep through the night. The particular approach will depend on your cat’s situation, but the following tips will help you get on the right track.
1. Create a cat friendly home environment
Create an improved and stimulating indoor environment that increases activity, reduces mental monotony, and prevents behavioral problems. Rich environments should provide opportunities to climb, play, explore, and solve problems without owner interference.
A healthy and stimulating environment should include scratching posts, cat trees, children’s toys and hiding places.
2. Provide your cat with a suitable litter
Unlike dogs, cats do not like to nap on the floor, even if they are provided with comfortable beds in baskets on the floor. They love hiding places and occupy nooks and crannies as hiding places for constant rest.
Your cat should have various sleeping areas around the house, but away from the litter box, food, and water. For anxious/frightened cats, provide additional hiding opportunities with igloo beds or high-sided beds.
A cat-friendly heating pad or bed may be needed when temperature regulation decreases with age or during illness/recovery.
It is true that cats like to sleep with their masters, but if your cat insists on sleeping in your room, put a scented blanket or T-shirt near your bed.
3. Respect the importance of cats’ sense of smell and pheromones.
Cats use a variety of olfactory and chemical signals (pheromones) to communicate with other cats and assess their surroundings.
Use a synthetic cat pheromone product, such as Feliway, in rooms where your cat spends most of its time and when moving to a new environment. This can help increase their sense of security.
Avoid brushing the areas your cat has marked, and offer plenty of horizontal or vertical scratchers, and a sprinkling of dry catnip to entice him.
4. Create a sanctuary room and series of actions from the first day your cat joins the family.
Most cat owners believe that cats should be near them at night, especially when they first arrive, which can set an unfavorable pattern of nighttime play, agitation, lack of excitement, and sleep!
Cats are naturally active at dawn and dusk, but your cat can learn to adapt its sleeping habits to your lifestyle.
There is nothing wrong with placing a kitten in a comfortable, warm and safe environment until she wakes up in the morning, as long as the room has the necessities, including a comfortable bed to ensure her restful sleep. Providing a designated area for your cat to rest can encourage healthy sleep habits.
5. Interactive games and chase games should be a part of their daily routine, especially before bed.
Appropriate play should mimic the sequence of predatory behavior and include:
- Searching for prey
- prey in the mouth
- Dealing with prey
- to bite
Cat catching toys are more flexible and stimulating. Set a weekly schedule of feeding new things and experiences to help your cat be calmer and avoid midnight strikes or bursts of energy at the wrong times.
6. Do not use a single food source for your cat!
Hide the food in different places around the house or near new things so that your cat can “seek” for food. Use the indoor hunting cat feeder to increase foraging difficulty and improve foraging skills.
Create homemade food puzzles using egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, or cardboard boxes. Dispenser balls with a hole to dispense dry food are another challenge after dark.
In addition to puzzle feeders, hide food around the house to enhance foraging opportunities while developing problem-solving skills.
Use techniques such as vending machines to dispense cat food during the day and dispense food early in the morning while it sleeps.
7. cat enclosure
Provide access to the outdoors if possible by purchasing or building a purpose-built outdoor enclosure or providing access through a secure yard to eliminate inappropriate play or attention-seeking predatory responses to assertive cats.
8. Clicker training
Clicker training, especially for domestic cats, will give them something exciting to do in addition to eating catnip and will make the cat more interested in you. You may also see a side of your cat that you haven’t seen before, which will impress your family and friends just as much. Most importantly, it will bring about significant changes in your cat’s behavior and daily habits, reducing the need for constant attention.
9. Hire a cat sitter
If you work long hours and your cat stays indoors, hire a cat sitter a few days a week to spend time with your cat, play, learn new tricks, and take adventurous outings on a leash.
Plan home visits around your pet’s circadian rhythm – most cats are crepuscular (especially those with free access to the outdoors), but some cats are diurnal (ours, for example). Pet cats can adapt their activity patterns to the presence of their owners and their daytime lifestyle.
10. Teach your cat to shut up
If your cat tends to meow (loud noises, meows), your cat probably knew at some point that she would get food or attention if she vocalized. This type of meowing is a learned behavior. You should train your cat by ignoring the behavior when it occurs and offering rewards when the cat is calm.
11. Cat Massage
Cats who like to be held and petted will benefit from a relaxing massage therapy before bed to help them relax and sleep well at night.