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Got Catsomnia? What to do when your cat keeps you up at night.

This is dedicated to everyone who’s been awakened at the crack of dawn by their cat! The fact is that it may not be hunger that drives your cat to rouse you. It’s because cats are crepuscular—a great word that describes an activity that takes place at twilight, i.e. at dawn and dusk. Prey animals tend to be active during these times, so cats have naturally evolved to take advantage of Mr. Mouse’s social hours. If anyone tells you cats are creatures of the night, that’s not technically true. Cats have superb night vision, but even they can’t see in pitch-black darkness, so cats tend to sleep when it’s dark/night.

So, what can you do if your cat’s crepuscular peak hours don’t coincide with yours?
It goes without saying: don’t allow your cat to share your bed/bedroom. And it may be best to shut your cats in a room at night as far away from the bedroom as possible so that you don’t hear them scratching the door in the morning. If your cats are your bed companions, try installing blackout curtains to shut out the early-morning sun. That might buy you a bit of time, but don’t count on it. You could wear earplugs to block out their crepuscular cries, however this does little good when the cat decides to walk on your face, or knead your chest. Or, you could try keeping your cat awake during the day so it sleeps longer at night. Apparently, cats sleep up to 16 hours a day!

What To Do If Your Cat Wakes You During the Night to Play
Some cats need to be locked out of the bedroom because they may nip at your toes moving or swat at your eyelids twitching while you sleep. If your cat cries and scratches at the door, you can discourage him by placing something he dislikes in front of the door, such as vinyl carpet-runner (placed upside-down to expose the knobby side) or double-sided sticky tape. If your typically well-behaved cat suddenly starts wandering restlessly at night crying or needing to eat more, there may be an underlying medical concern, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) that is easily controlled with medication. Have him checked out by your veterinarian. Excessive nocturnal crying can also be due to age-related deficits, such as a loss of hearing, vision, or sense of smell. Try moving your cat’s food and water dish near his bed and put his litter box along an easily followed path. Letting the cat sleep near you may be comforting to you both.

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