Having a cat can be a bit like having a baby – your pet can wake you at all hours with her meowing. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The reasons why your cat is meowing and waking you at night might have something to do with her hunting instinct, or there could be other things going on for her. To help stop the problem and get a good night’s sleep, it helps to understand why your cat is waking you. Here are some reasons she might be getting noisy at night:
- Her instinct is to hunt in the early morning, and she’s just naturally awake and active at this time.
- She’s not getting enough activity during the day and is just not tired at night or she’s waking refreshed at 3am.
- She’s hungry.
- You’ve recently moved or had a change of schedule and this is causing her to wake early.
- It’s habit – you have given her meowing attention in the past and now she’s looking for more.
- She’s got some health issues that are affecting her sleep patterns.
What you can do:
- Keep her active during the day. This means keeping her more alert and awake with games and treats. If you feed her just in the morning and night, feed her smaller amounts more regularly, to stop her from sleeping in the day for hours at a time. If you’re not at home, look into a cat feeder than dispenses food at regular times. Food puzzles are also good for entertaining her and dragging out meals. The busier she is during the day, the more sleep she will need (and you will get) at night.
- Play hunting games in the evening. If you think your cat is waking to hunt, play hunting games with her at night. Your local pet store will have plenty of toys that help mimic the hunting experience. Get it out of her system before bed and she is less likely to want to hunt at 3am. And don’t be disheartened if it takes a few days and even longer for this to work – this habit can be hard to change.
- Whatever reason she is waking and meowing, do your best to ignore the behaviour. Every time your get up to your cat in the middle of the night, she sees this attention as positive, and she’ll keep trying to get it, especially if she’s been doing it for a while. Again, it might take several nights for her to get the message – in fact her behaviour might get worse before it gets better – but eventually she will work out that night-time meowing just doesn’t get your attention any more.
- Give her a feed later in the day, to minimise the chance of her seeking food at all hours.
- Take her to the vet for a check-up if you think her waking might be health-related or if nothing else seems to be working.