No one likes to be woken every night or too early in the morning, but cats may do this either to get fed or for attention. It’s like Simon’s Cat in “cat-man-do” ! Even if a cat has never woken you, you will want to watch this one!
So, you might get up to feed or pet the cat, and that will likely buy you a little peace for the moment. Great to be able to get back to sleep again! However, your cat has just received positive reinforcement to wake you up, leading to another difficult night of interrupted sleep. Fortunately, you can break this habit by not giving in or reinforcing it. Punishment with never work, but ignoring will! Here is how:
- If your cat meows or paws at you, pretend you are still asleep. If you cat is vocalizing and wandering or pacing, or if the sounds are loud and plaintive, contact your veterinarian because several medical conditions lead to vocalizing, especially at night.
- If it gets bad, wear earplugs to bed or cover your head with the blankets.
- Do not give either positive or negative reinforcement – no food, pushing off bed, yelling, or other.
- Keep doing this for 2 weeks consistently and the habit will usually be broken.
- If your cat really needs food at night, you can use a timed feeder to open at a certain time of night so you are not involved with the nightly feeding.
Unless your cat is sick, do not wake up to feed or give him or her attention. Play with your cat and then feeding just before bedtime will ensure your cat is not without attention or food. Also, it’s important to do your own routine in the morning so that your cat does not associate your awakening with breakfast. For example, go for a run and then feed your cat, or shower and get ready for the day before feeding your cat. Remember, it is important to never get up for your cat unless he or she is sick and needs care.
If you still have problems, call us. If not, sweet dreams!