Waking you up – unwanted meowing and general naughtiness
How do you get your cat to let you sleep through the night? For some cats this can be as easy as closing your bedroom door. Other cats will continue to claw at your door, loudly meow or race around the house in the loudest possible way until you pay attention. Don’t forget that your cat probably spends most of her day sleeping and is a little ball of energy by the evening. Keep in mind that cats are crepuscular creatures meaning they are most active at dusk and at dawn.
When your cat tries waking you up it’s because she wants your attention; think of it as a compliment – you’re just so fun to hang out with. If you reward her with any kind of attention (talking, petting, feeding or even something negative like yelling) you are teaching your cat that her attention seeking behavior works. Cats catch on quickly so if she is successful getting attention or food once, she will continue her nightly escapades. If your cat is currently in the habit of waking you up at night, the first step is to completely ignore her attempts for attention. This is the hardest step and you will most likely lose some sleep the first few nights. Stick with it! You need to reteach your cat that this behavior does not result in attention or food.
Spend time playing with your cat every night before you get ready for bed. These should be interactive sessions using a wand toy to really engage your cat. Play until your cat is tired, usually about 15 minutes, and let her capture the toy a few times so she feels satisfied that she is a successful hunter. Wind down the play session once she starts getting tired and end it with a meal or favorite treat. You’ll know you are on the right track if your cat starts grooming herself after her meal. A cat’s natural cycle is to hunt, capture/kill, groom, sleep, repeat. All of this should lead to a more restful night’s sleep for your cat and in turn better sleep for you.
If your cat is particularly active at night try leaving toys and treats around the house for her to find during the night. Rotate the toys and leave them in new places to keep things interesting.