“Long nights, a rough bed; our cat’s ‘meow,’ running through our head,” we’ve all been there. 3 A.M. wake up calls asking for a meal, or simply for attention. It’s the same old pattern, and we always get up to heed our furry companion’s companion beck and call.
However, consecutive sleepless nights won’t do any of you some good. As important as giving our cats the attention and love they need, it’s crucial that we take care of ourselves, and we get some shut eye as well. So, how exactly do we train our cats to do just that?
Guide Your Cat’s Circadian Rhythm
Much like humans, cats have their own circadian rhythms as well, and they vary greatly from ours. Cats are nocturnal, and are naturally inclined to wake from dusk ‘til dawn. Now, it is possible to reset their body clocks, but you’d have to guide their circadian rhythms first. To efficiently influence it, it’s going to be our job as their parents to provide them with, and maintain, a feeding schedule.
The best way to affect a cat’s behaviour is by strategically controlling their feeding schedule. Allowing them to eat whenever (and whatever) they want is what’s hindering us from dramatically making an impact to them. Without a schedule, you’ll also be putting your cat’s body in a constant flux of digestion, making their energies highly unpredictable. It’s best to stop free feeding, and stick to scheduled meal times, which is better for your cats.
Try to Get them To Sleep When You Do
Feeding your cat it’s last meal an hour and a half, prior to your bed time, is a good technique to try and get them to sleep when you do. However, don’t give it to them immediately. What you want to do is to give your cat a sweet amount of play time, tiring them out, before feeding it to them.
Cats run on four principles: Hunt. Catch. Kill. Eat. The play time will serve as the “hunt, catch, and kill,” part. Once they’re pooped out, then you let them eat, and soon after that, they’ll be grooming themselves ‘til they finally fall asleep.
Learn to Ignore Them Completely
Now, there’ll be times when they still won’t let you sleep, despite everything you’ve done. This is where things get serious because the next thing you have to do is… You have to ignore them completely. Yes, you read that, you ignore them completely.
The point of ignoring them is to discourage them to repeat their behaviour. Whether it’s in a positive, or negative way, responding to them is still attention. Tell your cats that nothing is going to happen whenever they do that certain behaviour, by not heeding to it.
Before your cat finally learns to let you sleep through the night, it’s going to be an uphill battle. However, the payoff will be so much worth it, for both you and your cat, as you let your body get some of rightfully earned snores. No more late night wake up calls.