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My Cat Is Keeping Me Up At Night. What Should I Do?

It’s 5am and you’re soaking up the best sleep of your life, until…kitty wakes up. Now that he’s not snoozing, all you hear is meowing, crying, scratching and just about any other noise he can come up with. It can be torture!

Cats are notorious for their persistence. If they want you up, you’re getting up — no ifs or buts about it. But there is likely an underlying reason for this nighttime crying, even if it feels unfounded. Here’s how to approach the issue with compassion, while still keeping your sanity.

First, rule out a medical issue.

Sudden restlessness can be a sign of an issue more major than boredom. Your cat may be suffering from a medical problem that is causing pain, so pay attention!

Noticing strange behavior such as straining, distinct whining or apparent discomfort? Give your emergency vet a call to ask their opinion. They may advise you to come in right away, depending on the symptoms your cat is experiencing.

How to solve it:

  1. Call your vet immediately to rule out medical concerns and address them.
  2. In perfect health? Read on for tips that have more to do with emotional coping.

Second, consider your current lifestyle.

Have you and your pet gone through any major life shifts lately? Maybe you moved into a new place, broke off a long-term relationship or introduced a new person or pet to the home.

Lifestyle changes can unsettle your cat, causing them to feel a little out of whack for a while. Addressing them (or working on finding a new normal) is the best thing you can do!

How to solve it:

  1. If their setting has changed, try to establish normalcy. Keep a careful routine and create cozy spaces.
  2. Provide lots of positive attention and reassurance to your cat. Let them know you care.
  3. No lifestyle changes that might upset your normal? Read on for more tips that have to do with behavior.

Lazy cat

Third, check your cat’s activity levels.

A bored cat is a restless cat, always. Plus, their nocturnal tendencies are not to your advantage. Domestication has certainly shifted our cats’ activity patterns to be more diurnal, but most cats will still wake multiple times throughout the night. This is normal!

How to solve it:

  1. Schedule lots of interactive play sessions with your cat during the evening in an effort to “wear them out” before bedtime.
  2. Set up a variety of enrichment activities to keep your kitty occupied during the daytime. A cardboard box is a great start!
  3. Done all you can do on this front? Let’s see if we can solve this with feeding routines.

Fourth, examine mealtime.

Cats get really sleepy after a big meal. Great! They also tend to get rowdy when they’re hungry…less great. If your cat is waking you purposefully in the early morning hours (or the middle of the night), it’s entirely possible they are hungry and ready for their next meal.

How to solve it:

  1. Set up a timed feeder that will dispense food at certain times of day and night.
  2. Keep a reliable feeding schedule. You’d be restless too if you didn’t know when your next meal would be arriving!
  3. Certain that your cat is well-fed and getting enough calories? It might be time to give kitty a little more attention.

Fifth, improve your cat’s social life.

If none of the above concerns are the cause of your cat’s midnight restlessness, you might have another bigger issue to address: your cat’s social life.

Some breeds (or mixes) are particularly social beings. They love to be loved. If your cat isn’t getting enough attention, consider adding a second cat to the family or find a way to remedy the issue on your own. More cuddles, more conversation, more one-on-one time.

How to solve it:

  1. Work on recognizing your cat’s emotional patterns. Are they lonely? Sick of being left by themselves at home while you work?
  2. Give your pet more attention and love when you’re around. Let them know that you enjoy their company!

Have you dealt with this before? What did you do to calm your cat at nighttime and improve your sleep?

My Cat Is Keeping Me Up At Night. What Should I Do?

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