Do you own a feline who insists on being your alarm clock every morning? That's great if you have to be up at the crack of dawn each day. However, if you would love to sleep in — especially on the weekends — you may want to change this particular habit of your furry feline friend.
Why the wake-up call?
If you have an incessant kitty alarm, you've probably wondered, "Why does my cat wake me up every morning?" One reason is that cats are very smart, and yours has obviously trained you to do its bidding. At some point during your relationship, your cat needed something — food, water, companionship — and woke you up with a few loud meows or a gentle paw to your face. Naturally, you responded by getting out of your warm, cozy bed to feed or play with your feline. Voilà! Your cat discovered that it could get you to do what it wants. So, what do you do now?
Tips for turning off your kitty alarm clock
To stop your cat from waking you up in the mornings, you must first find out the underlying reasons for its behavior. In other words, why does your cat wake you up at 5 a.m.? Here are some possible reasons:
Is your feline hungry?
If your cat consistently wakes you up for its morning meal, try feeding your cat its dinner later in the evening. Cats have small stomachs, so another idea is to use an automatic feeder that can release some food to your cat at regularly scheduled intervals. This way, your cat doesn’t need you to get its food, and you can get some more sleep.
Is the sun waking up your kitty?
Felines are crepuscular predators, meaning that they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. So, if the first rays of the sun are waking up your little friend, consider installing blackout shades in your bedroom.
Does your cat need more exercise?
If you're out of your home most of the day, your cat is probably spending a good chunk of its time napping. That means your feline won't require as much sleep at night and will be ready to rumble first thing in the morning. If this is the case, one solution to your early-morning wakeup calls could be to provide your cat with plenty of exercise in the evenings.
For example, you could spend time using a fishing pole toy to play with your cat, or you could train your feline to walk in a harness so that you can take it out for strolls around your neighborhood. Evening activities should help tire out your cat and, hopefully, buy you a little more sleep-in time.
Cats can also benefit from mental stimulation. A puzzle feeder, for example, could give your cat a good mental workout even while you're at work. Some owners also find that installing a bird feeder outside a window can give their felines something to watch during the day.
Is your cat bored?
Waking up in a household where everyone is asleep can be boring for your cat. So, it's probably going to look for someone — or something — with which to play. You can stay one step ahead of this issue by leaving out toys that your feline can play with by themselves before you get out of bed.
Break free from the early-morning cycle
The last step is to un-train yourself so that you are no longer at your cat's mercy in the mornings. That means if you've provided your cat with plenty of exercise, food, and toys, it's time to ignore your feline's requests for you to rise and shine. However, there is one caveat — sudden changes in behavior could be signs that your cat is ill and may need to be examined by a veterinarian. For instance, in older cats, unusual meowing or changes in their sleep patterns can be signs of feline cognitive dysfunction.
Fortunately, virtual vets — such as the ones you can access through the Figo Pet Cloud mobile app — have made it a lot easier to get your cat evaluated by a professional in the comforts of home. If you make sure your cat is healthy and happy, you should be able to rest easy in the mornings.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.