Dear Miss Behavin’: My cat has decided that 4:00 am is the best time to meow at me, knock things off the shelves, and sprint around my house. I’d like to sleep through the night! What should I do?
There are a few reasons that might cause this common cat behavior. Cats are naturally more active at night and at dawn, so it is normal for cats to be up at these timesCats will meow at their owners when they are hungry. When are you feeding kitty? If you feed your cat right after you wake up in the morning, kitty will meow earlier and earlier to get their food. Many cat owners accidentally let their cat train them to feed early, since their meowing is rewarded with food. Get in the habit of feeding kitty after you’ve had breakfast and morning coffee. This way your cat won’t associate you getting out of bed with immediate food.
Kitty might also be a bit bored! Make sure to have a play session with kitty every day, ideally one in the evening. If you can tire your cat out later in the evening, they will have an easier time sleeping longer through the night (and so will you). Rotate toys every so often so kitty doesn’t get bored. After play, you can give your cat their evening meal and they will be tired out with a full kitty belly.
If kitty is still meowing at night, the best thing to do is ignore them. It may sound insensitive, but with patience kitty will realize meowing won’t reward them. Once again, cat owners will accidentally reward night meowing with attention, pets, or food.
If kitty is still meowing excessively take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.
Here’s to a full night’s sleep for you and your cat!