pets

Insomniac cat

Friday, October 5, 2007

Every week Dr Chris Brown answers your pet questions — submit your own or browse our archives.

Question

"Despite sleeping in the very back room of our house, my cat still manages to wake me up in the morning. Very early in the morning in fact; as early as 2am. Nothing, apart from food, stops him. It's driving me nuts and I need some sleep!"
— Rachel

Answer

Although it might seem like your cat doesn't need his sleep like you do, the reality is far from the truth. Your cat loves his sleep. Only problem is that he does all his cat-napping while you're at work, meaning that when you arrive home, he feels like it's time to start causing chaos. But instead of play, he gets imprisonment at the back of the house. He puts up with it for a few hours but then wreaks havoc until he's released. So we need to look at readjusting his body clock to put it more in-synch with yours.

Here's what you need to do to. Start his 'work' day by setting alarms on your TV, radio, oven (and whatever else you have) that go off at various times during the day. As an extra annoyance, try calling your house phone at regular periods. All of these measures should interrupt his sleep and make it harder for him to rest for long periods. Then, by hiding dry biscuits (or even toys) around the house, encourage him to use his hunting instincts to search for them. Finally, positioning a ledge by a window to give him a view of the world will provide him with entertainment and discourage him from dropping off to sleep.

Any time he's not sleeping during the day is time he'll have to make up for at night during your sleeping hours. Persist with these measures, don't give in to his dawn demands and you'll eventually swing him round to your style of sleeping.
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