Meow! During the day, this sweet greeting is a welcome hello. But at 4:30 in the morning, it’s a loud, demanding alarm clock. If your cat wants attention and shows it by meowing or laying on your head when you’d rather be sleeping – we understand the frustration.
There are many reasons that your cat may be expressing themselves vocally at night, but it’s typically one of two reasons: boredom or hunger.
Cats are masters at training us. In this case, your cat is likely waking you up early in the morning because they woke you up once before and you either fed them or gave them attention. So they continue to wake you up to keep getting that food or attention.
To stop your cat from waking you up at inopportune times, you’ll have to give them something else to do — a distraction that’s more rewarding than waking you up. You may need to try a few different options before finding a solution that works for you and your cat, such as:
Positive reinforcement training. Training your cat not to wake you up in the middle of the night may be the most difficult item on this list, but if your cat has responded well to training before, it might just be your best solution to a full night’s sleep. Learn how to use positive reinforcement training to keep your cat from waking you up.
Automatic feeder. If your cat is waking you up because they truly are hungry, an automatic feeder can be a lifesaver. Simply set the feeder to dispense a small amount of food in the timeframe when they typically wake you up. You can use the feeder to encourage your cat to sleep in by delaying the timing feature by a few minutes every couple of days. If they start meowing loudly again early in the morning, set the feeder to the last successful feeding time and try slowly extending the time again.
Toys and puzzles. Toys and puzzles can provide your cat with mental stimulation that will help tire them out so they aren’t waking you up. You can leave the toy or puzzle out at night to keep them busy while you get some sleep. This solution works especially well if your cat is bored.
Play with your cat before bed. Lastly, try playing with your cat before bed to tire them out. Properly tired kitties are more likely to sleep through the night, allowing you to get some much-needed shut-eye.
If you have a senior cat that won’t stop meowing and yowling after following the suggestions above, it might be time for a trip to the veterinarian. There may be a medical reason why your cat is meowing and waking you up in the morning – like an overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, or even diabetes.
With some patience and training, you’ll hopefully be able to get some much-needed sleep!