How To Stop Cat From Waking Me Up

Sleep is an important part of everyday. But, when you have a cat or in my case cats, getting a full night’s sleep can quickly become a problem. If your cat is like mine, then you know they love to wake you up at 3 or 4am. That does not need to be the case!

So, how to stop a cat from waking me up? Cats are naturally nocturnal animals, and therefore tend to do their hunting at night. You need to change your cat’s Circadian rhythm so that their sleep schedule changes to mimic yours. Your cat will naturally want to sleep longer than you, but by ensuring that bed time is closer to the evening and their waking hours are in daylight, you can ensure yourself a full night’s sleep!

The best part about this is that it is not very hard to accomplish. It will however take some time on your part and with most things in cat training there are several steps involved. But do not worry! By the time you are done reading this guide you will be fully prepared to take the next steps towards changing your cats sleep cycle and preventing your cat from waking you up at night.

How I stopped my cat from waking me up

As mentioned briefly above we are going to be switching our cat from being nocturnal and move him closer to our sleep schedule, so that he sleeps through the night like we do!

This process is relatively easy to accomplish but it will take both time and patience on your part. With the reward being, your cat will not wake you up at 3am.

Cat Wakes Me Up for Food – The Morning Solution

If you are like me your cats have feeding times based around your schedule. I like to wake up at 4am, which is when I must get up for work, and once I am ready I give my cats a wet food before I head out the door.

Well, this was all great.

Until that first weekend hit where I finally got to sleep in. But it wasn’t much past 4am before I was woken up by a very familiar “Meow” followed by a yowling!

Why? Well because it was feeding time! And my cats did not understand why the normal 4am meal was not occurring.

If this situation sounds very familiar, then you cannot blame your cat for waking you up. You, like me, created this behavior.

But, alas this is the first easy fix.

We start by deconditioning your cat to morning wet food at ungodly hours of the morning. If you have to leave for work early, and no one else is there to feed the cat, then you will need to free feed.

Let this go for two weeks. Your cat will hate you during this time. But stay strong!

They can still have wet food just at normal hours when you would not mind if they woke you up.

Once a few weeks have gone by, or when you get to a weekend. Begin by teaching your cat new wet food feeding times.

I like times around 9am, since I am always awake by this time.

It will not take very long for your cats to realize that they need to be awake, and at the cabinet that the food is kept in by that time. Took about three days for my cats, yours might be a bit longer. So just stick with this!

And that’s it for mornings! Your cat will now not wake you up at night for food. But we still need to make some changes to their day.

Keep your cat from waking you up at night – The Playtime Solution

Cats are hunters!

It is a large part of the reason that they are keeping you up all night. They are busy hunting prey, or in the case of indoor cats… they are playing.

Somehow, they manage to sound like stampeding elephants while they run around at 3am too!

But there is a very simple solution to fix this as well, and it is a must do if you want to keep your cat sleeping through the night, and thus keeping you sleeping through the night as well!

The Playtime Solution!

This is required for the next steps to work as well so read carefully, but it isn’t hard.

You need to have some serious, interactive playtime with your cat roughly one hour before you would like to go to bed.

By serious playtime, I mean that you will know when it is over because your cat will tell you he doesn’t want to play anymore.

In our house we call this lemur time, because it is when our boy Mr. Cain grabs his favorite toy and we play fetch until he no longer brings the toy back. Or, he lays down on the edge of the bed and cuddles his toy.

For your cat, obviously this will be a bit different. But, find your cats favorite toy. You know, the one that the second you pick it up your cat comes running!

Then proceed to play with your cat until they quit. It could be ten minutes, it could be thirty. The important part though is that your cat is tired. He has hunted. And now he wants to feast and go to sleep!

Yep, FEAST!

That is the final step to the playtime solution!

You are mimicking hunting. And what do cats do with their caught prey.

Dinner time!

So, you are going to reward your cat for their hard play session with a nice can of food! Not only does this reward the play session. But it also puts your kitty into a bit of a food coma.

After your cat has had their evening, post play session and victory feast. They will generally start looking for a place to curl up for the night and get some sleep.

Free Feeding So My Cat Doesn’t Wake Me Up

So, there is another feeding system you can use if you do not want to have your cat on a feeding schedule that could potentially wake you up. And that is Free Feeding!

With Free Feeding your cat does not have the need to wake you up for food. Because well, he already has an entire bowl of food that he can graze on at his leisure.

In my personal situation, I use a combination of this and the above methods! My cats always have food available to them. But we also have set times through the day where they will have the option of eating a wet food!

I feel like, for cats, this is the best of both worlds!

It also prevents my cat from waking me up in the middle of the night because they are hungry. They know when the wet food comes, and they already have kibble they can snack on in the meantime.

Additional Questions

Why does my cat wake me up to be petted? Your cat will wake you up for attention because he has been conditioned to. If in previous evenings your cat wakes you up with meowing, and you proceed to get up and give him attention. Then you are rewarding his bad behavior. And essentially you are granting his demand. If you do not want to have to wake up when your cat is meowing for you to get up, then do not train him to do so. By ignoring your cat in these situations, but then providing him a lot of attention when you are awake, he will learn the proper time to seek pets.

Why do cats walk on you while you sleep? Your cat walks on you when you sleep because they do not care that you are asleep. Most the time cats are busy playing at night and you are just in the way of their activities. If you own multiple cats, you will notice that they will walk on each other while they are asleep as well, so you are not unique to this.

Does your cat wake you up? All cats will wake up their owners if they have needs that have not been met. If they need to be fed or if they want to be entertained, then your sleep is of little care to your cat. From a cat point of view, you can just take a nap later! If you do not want your cat to wake you up, just follow the tips in this article and you will never be woken up again.