Yes, we love our feline companions but they can test the boundaries of that love when they prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. One aspect of cat behavior is persistence, and they often use this trait to “train” their humans, especially when it comes to waking up in the morning. The August 2014 issue of Catnip Magazine offered these suggestions on keeping your cat close while still being able to sleep:
- If you like the idea of your cat sleeping with you, but not ON you, try putting an alternative on the other side of the mattress. Alternatives might include his favorite cat bed or a soft pad, whatever his favorite sleeping place might be.
- Does he like watching what’s going on outside? Consider installing a window platform he can lie on to look outside. He’ll still be close to you but will still be able to see outside. A win/win for you and your cat!
- Decided you don’t want your cat in bed at all? Try keeping the bedroom door closed. Most cats don’t like closed doors, though, so if your cat is one that doesn’t he will probably start scratching at the door. If you have to let him in the bedroom, try putting something on the bed that won’t make it comfortable for your cat to lie there. Aluminum foil or plastic rug runners often work as a deterrent. When your cat encounters the deterrent, he may very possibly find an alternate place to sleep.
- If you don’t mind your cat sleeping with you, but hate the early morning “wake up” call, there are some options to try. Establish a strenuous bedtime play routine with your cat to help tire him. At the end of the session, give him a small snack. Another option is feeding him closer to bedtime or bringing a bowl of food into the bedroom so it will be readily available if he gets hungry before you’re awake. Automatic food dispensers may be an option, too. Set the dispenser to serve up your cat’s food portion when he starts his wake up routine.
Whatever option you choose, the key to success is to be consistent. Although it may be difficult, don’t get out of bed when your cat starts the wake up ritual, this will only reinforce the negative behavior. Once he figures out his attempts to wake you won’t succeed, he’ll eventually learn to wait.