The Sleepless Lives of Cat Owners
The scenario: you have just crawled into bed after an exhausting day at work and just as you begin to doze off, your cat jumps on the bed and starts biting your toes. Annoying, yes. Natural cat behavior? Absolutely! Cats are nocturnal. They are feisty hunters of the night. They are not trying to annoy you on purpose; they are wired to come alive when the sun goes down and can’t, for the life of them, understand why you insist on going to sleep during the best part of the day!
Don’t worry, your cat is not Dracula in disguise. He is doing what he would do (naturally) if he lived in the wild. Cat’s are perfectly equiped to function at night. In fact, a cat’s eyesight is so good they can actually see in near pitch blackness. Given the choice, their evening hours are spent socializing, defending their turf and finding treats to eat and they’re extremely good at the latter. This is good for them but not so good for their prey (or your toes for that matter)! For a cat, nighttime is the best time! Not so for you. But all is not lost!
There are several things you can do to help your cat wind down before you go to bed. For one, set a scheduled playtime (preferably in the early evening) and stick to it. Changing your cat’s habits will not come easy. You will have to stick to your “play plan” in order for it to work. Before you feed your cat his dinner, give him a few cat toys and allow him to play before he eats. A good way to get your cat interested in his old toys is to store them in a bag with catnip. This will give the toys a new and exciting smell. Catnip does not work on all cats, however many love the scent. Once bored with his old toys, the catnip will make them fresh, new and interesting.
Once your precious puss has finished his meal, get out the cat teaser (don’t pretend like you don’t own a cat teaser or two) and play with him until he is no longer interested. Even if you are exhausted, it is important to play with your cat in order to tire him out. About 30 minutes before you go to bed, put away all of his toys. Eventually, he will learn that this means it is time to wind down. Not only will your cat benefit from these play sessions, you will too when you finally get an uninterrupted night of sleep.
Scheduled play times also allow you to bond with your cat which is actually very important. By playing with your cat during the early evening hours you are basically resetting his inner clock. Though it may take quite some time