Is your cat not letting you sleep at night? A short adaptation period, including games, stimuli and patience, will solve the problem
Orli Zacai – Chinese Medicine for Animals and Consultation for Cat behavioral
Many cat owners know this phenomenon very well: night falls, the cat wants more attention, it’s time to sleep and the people are tired, but their cat has other plans, which include games, howling, running through the house, and a desire for attention.
Everyone knows that a cat is a creature of the night and its night activities are natural to nocturnal animals such as cats. Cats are active primarily from the evening until the early morning hours, so that if you let the cat choose, it will sleep all day and at about eight or nine at night it will wake up, stretch itself, sharpen its claws and begin its cat activities.
As stated, the problem with this picture is that the natural schedule of the cat is 180 degrees away from that of most people, and therefore what we need to do is to change its daily schedule from being awake at night to being awake during the day, and this is a lot easier than you might think.
The most important aspect of dealing with a “behavioral problem” such as this is not to make the situation even worse. What do we mean by this? One of the reasons that cats act like this is that their owners permit them to act this way. Some people get out of bed and play with them—thinking that the cat is lonely and bored. Others feed the cat and then wonder why the cat wakes them up over and over again in the middle of the night. They actually educated the cat to do this by not only getting out of bed but by giving the cat a prize.
In attempting to solve the problem we must not punish the cat for behaving in the natural way of his species. It is of course clear that we should be sensitive to the cat’s needs and that we cannot expect a cat to sleep for 24 hours a day. A cat needs stimuli and it can be assumed that when you are away from home during the day, that the cat spends most of its time sleeping. You need to teach the cat to change its schedule so that its more active time period will be in the earlier part of the evening.
Instead of allowing the cat to sleep all evening, while you are watching television, turn it off, sign out of Facebook and play a bit with the cat. Take a fishing rod game and let the cat chase it and run around the house. Teach the cat to use its claw sharpening stand, through games, to climb the ‘cat tree’ in the house or the shelves; bring it new toys every once in a while or be creative and prepare some toys yourself.
Most cats love to crawl into crates or boxes in which you place some catnip. We recommend that you play with and then feed the cat near bedtime and even provide it with quiet games to play with during the night to keep it busy when you are sleeping.
If you make sure that the cat will play during the evening and will be tired out before you go to bed, this will significantly increase the possibility that it will sleep at night.
Make sure that you play with the cat during the day and in the evening. Then you can assume that your cat will get used to sleeping at night since it will be tired out, and because it will be satisfied that you are providing it with its physical and intellectual needs. Do not give up if your cat still wakes you up at night during this adaptation period to the new daily schedule. Even if you are doing everything correctly, simply be patient and wait. If you give in you will have to start the whole process over again.
After you have supplied the cat with a bunch of enjoyable games, it is time to teach it that jumping on your face or howling outside the bedroom will not work and will not bring any interaction. The more consistent that you are – the quicker the changes will come.
There are no shortcuts
If you believe that just ignoring the cat during the night will change its schedule, you are mistaken. That way you will cause a bigger problem then the one you had previously, and the cat will become more frustrated and even nervous. In many cases a frustrated and nervous cat will eliminate in various places in the house, our will develop other problems, which will not be pleasant to either party. Therefore, it is worth making an effort during a short period, during which you reset the cat’s “clocks” and so eventually improve your own quality of life.