Remember that scene from the 2019 animated comedy film The Secret Life of Pets 2, where Chloe the cat, forces her owner up from bed using different tactics. She starts by sitting on her chest, meowing loudly into her ears, aggressively shaking her head before resorting to the classic hairball technique. Does your cat wake you up too early in the morning like Chloe hours before your trusty alarm goes off? Then brace yourself because you’re certainly not alone.
This scenario may be funny, after all cats are cute and cuddly, but if your kitty is ruining your good night’s sleep, then you’ve got a problem that needs fixing. The good thing is that you’ve come to the right place for help because I’ll be sharing with you effective ways to stop your cat from waking you up before your alarm goes off.
Why Do Cats Wake Up So Early?
Cats do have a playbook of weird behaviors, and this can leave new pet owners a little confused. When cats do strange things, we start to wonder where that behavior comes from. Another feline who is a master of the wake-up arts is Romeo, a Russian cat star of the popular cat blog “Romeo The Cat.” His early morning wake-up tactics included meowing loudly at his owners while they slept, breathing in their ears, flipping laundry baskets, and sitting right on their heads. So why do cats like Romeo and Chloe wake you up so early?
1. Your Cat Is Hungry, Thirsty, or Just Wants A Snack
While you may want a more scientific explanation for your cat’s behavior, the most common reason why kitty will drag you out of bed by 4 am or earlier is food. Breakfast isn’t called breakfast because we ran out of names to name our meals. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not just for you, but Kitty also looks forward to it. Because cats fast while they sleep, ‘breaking that fast’ is one meal they can’t wait to have. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for your cat to pounce on you at 4 am, scratching at doors, meowing loudly in your ears, among other things in their playbook.
2. It’s A Part of Nature’s Configuration
Cats can be crepuscular creatures, which means they’re most active in the early morning and early evening hours. While humans can sleep 6-8 hours at night and experience long sleep cycles, cats have shorter sleep cycles and instinctively wake up early in the morning to hunt (what would be a natural behavior if they were in the wild). But because hunting for house cats basically involves getting you out of bed to feed them their favorite grain or cereal-free biscuits, they will continue to do so unless taught to do better.
3. Kitty May Be Bored And Needs Attention
Remember that one ex that would always text you before bed and early in the morning because he/she was totally into you and needed attention, cats are no different. One cat owner reported that her cat wakes her up by 4 am with “yowls, pawing, and stomping” and because she hates to hear him cry, she would get up, play with him and then feed him. Because cats are creatures of routine, this looks like a really positive routine from a cat’s perspective, don’t you think? Kitty probably thinks, “All I have to do is cry and stomp on my Hooman when I need attention and I’ll most certainly get what I want, Easy peasy.” Also, if you spend most of your days working away from home and come home late, you have little time to spend with your cat during the day. So kitty probably knows the night time is all she’s got to get all the attention she needs.
4. Your Cat May Not Be Getting Enough Stimulation
Cats, like dogs and every other pet, love to play and run around the house and chill with their hoomans. This kind of stimulation and exercise is an integral part of a cat’s development and forms a crucial part of your cat’s day. If kitty spends her supposed active periods lying around like a couch potato or you simply don’t engage her, be prepared to suffer the consequences at night when your cat may be fully awake and looking to play.
5. A Problem With Your Cat’s Bedding
If kitty doesn’t feel comfortable sleeping in her bed or has a problem with her bedding, she’s more likely to wake up earlier than expected.
6. Symptoms of Underlying Illness
Does waking you up too soon with endless meowing and cries seem like a new behavior that started overnight? Then it would be best if you took Kitty to the vet because she could be trying to let you know something’s up.
7. Your Cat Only Does it Because You Allow It
The hard truth is that your cat wakes you up too early because you allow it to, especially if your cat woke you up previously, and you fed or played with her. As much as you love to train your cat and teach her new tricks, cats are excellent trainers themselves. According to Dr. Marci Koski of Feline Behavior Solutions, “Cats know how to get your attention and then once you do the thing that they want you to do, they’re like, ‘Yes!’”
How to Stop Your Cat From Waking You
You might be wondering if you signed up for a cat or a hyperactive alarm system. Well, you don’t deserve to have your sleep interrupted just because you have a cat; no one does. Below are effective ways to solve these problems and keep both you and your cat happy.
1. Buy an Automatic Pet Feeder
Thanks to modern technology, you can now automate your cat feeding hours, diet plan, and ration by the simple push of a button (or buttons). There are tons of automatic pet feeders on the market today, and these devices can help you solve the problem of Kitty wanting a night snack, or waking you early in the morning for breakfast. All you have to do is program the feeder to fill kitty’s bowl at specific feeding times, and train kitty to go to the feeder when she’s hungry.
2. Employ The Use of Toys and puzzles
If your cat doesn’t get enough stimulation during the day, you can introduce her to engaging toys and puzzles to help tire her out. A tired cat is a sleepy cat, and you can be confident that she’ll stop waking you up so early. Leaving the toys out for her to play with at night when she’s bored will save you valuable sleep time.
3. Positive Reinforcement Training
Because cats are routine animals, it’s possible to train them to stop a particular behavior you dislike. Some types of training are easier and more successful than others, but there’s no harm in trying. Let kitty understand when no means no, and you can even keep her distracted and locked out of your room. For positive reinforcements to be effective, you must have provided alternative things for Kitty to do to stop the repeated behavior.
4. Keep Your Cat Active In the Daytime
If you are at home for most of the day try to keep your cat awake in the daytime and play with your cat as much as you can. This will get your cat tired and it will most likely wake up later.
5. Try to Play With Your Cat Before Going To Bed
Since Kitty might be an attention-seeker, one way to keep her satisfied and save your sleep is by having regular interactive play sessions with your cat in the evening just before bed. This is a good idea if you can’t keep your cat awake and active in the daytime.
6. Change Your Cat’s Bedding
If your cat doesn’t sleep enough because she’s not comfortable with her bed or bedding, you too wouldn’t. Try to find out what bedding type she’s most comfortable with and use it.
At first, having a cat-sized alarm clock could be handy especially when you have to wake up early for work, but when you’re on holiday or completely burned out and need that very elusive sleep, it can almost drive anyone insane. Or maybe your cat-sized alarm clock may be an hour or two off, waking you up at 4 am instead of 6 m.
Save your sleep and your sanity by adopting these techniques to stop your cat from waking you up too early today. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the results will come.