Cats are known to sleep long hours, but when not sleeping they can be very active. These periods of activity often occur at night. If your cat is trying to wake you up after you go to bed, she may want to play, eat, or just enjoy your company.
Young cats under the age of one in particular can drive their owners crazy with sleep deprivation! So how do you put a cat to sleep?
Understand that the cat's ancestor, the African wildcat, is primarily nocturnal. Domestication has changed the activity patterns of our pet cats to be more diurnal (awake during the day), but most cats still tend to wake up at least twice during the night. The good news is that cats can learn to let their owners sleep in peace.
How to put a cat to sleep? Rule out medical issues first
If your cat is constantly walking around your house at night meowing or crying, he may have an underlying medical condition that is causing pain or discomfort. If you suspect this may be the case, take your cat to the vet to rule out medical issues, especially if you notice that he meows excessively during the day as well as at night.
DISCOVER ALL OUR CAT SLEEP MASKS
What if your cat is keeping you up at night?
To prevent your cat from disturbing you while you sleep, try the following suggestions:
- Schedule a few interactive play sessions with your cat during the evening. Try using toys that can mimic the movement of mice and birds, such as dangling and wriggling toys. Games with ping pong balls, soft balls and furry mouse toys are great for cats that like to fetch. Play until your cat seems tired.
- Give your cat a main meal just before bedtime. Cats tend to sleep after a large meal. If your cat keeps waking you up during the night to eat, buy a timed feeder that you can fill and set to dispense once or twice during the night. If your cat is hungry, it will learn to wait for the feeder rather than disturbing you while you sleep. Be sure to reduce meal sizes so your cat doesn't gain weight.
- Incorporate a variety of enrichment activities to keep your cat busy during daylight hours. The more active your cat is during the day, the more likely it is to sleep at night.
- If your cat is social with other cats, consider add a second cat to your family. If the two cats are compatible, they will probably play together and leave you alone at night. However, raving cats can disturb your sleep as much as they try to wake you up!
- playful cats sometimes unintentionally hurt their owners asleep. For example, your cat may notice your eyes moving under your eyelids while you sleep and patting your face while playing. If your cat tries to play with you or wake you up while you sleep, take him out of the bedroom at night. If he cries and starts scratching the door, you can discourage him by placing something in front of the door that he won't want to step on, such as a vinyl rug placed upside down to expose the gnarly parts, double-sided sticky tape, foil, or a Scat Mat™ (available at most pet supply stores or online pet supply sites). Alternatively, you can set up a 'crazy trap' in front of your door. Try hanging your hair dryer on the bedroom door knob or placing your vacuum cleaner five or six feet from the door. Plug the clothes dryer or vacuum into a remote switch (available from Radio Shack). When your cat wakes you up meowing outside your door, you can press a button on the remote control to turn on the device. Your surprised cat probably won't come back to your door after that and will go to bed.
What not to do to put a cat to sleep
Unless you suspect your cat is waking you up because it's injured or sick, don't get out of bed and tend to it. If you get up and feed your cat, play with it, or even interact with it, you will have inadvertently rewarded it for waking you up. As a result, he will make more and more effort to wake you up each subsequent night instead of sleeping. Even getting out of bed to scold your cat won't work well.
How to put a cat to sleep? You have all the keys in hand!