How to Stop Your Cat from Interfering With Your Sleep

Owning a cat is a fantastic and rewarding experience. And in the end, they become more like our children than mere pets. Unfortunately, just like young children, they can keep us awake at night for various reasons. This lack of sleep often wreaks havoc on our lives, especially for those of us who have to get up early for work.

So, why do cats keep you up at night? And what can you do about it?

Melanie, for instance, has had cats all her life. But her new kitty, Iggy, has been leaving her exhausted at work. “He thinks it’s playtime when I am trying to get to bed. And everything is a toy, even my fingers and feet. I don’t know what to do!”

If this sounds familiar, don’t start weeping. As Melanie discovered, the answer was pretty simple. She sets aside between 30 minutes to an hour for kitty playtime. Laser lights, colorful string, toy mice, whatever gets the cat worked up. Of course, as she says, “You need to be part of the play. Sometimes I run around the house with Iggy chasing me, and it works beautifully — for both of us. At bedtime we’re both extremely tired and sleep like logs.”

John had a similar problem. His cat, Shadow, would always “run around like a mad thing at the most inopportune time — from 3 to 6 o’clock in the morning. And not just running and leaping about, but yowling.” It was driving John crazy.

His solution? “Playing with Shadow helped, a little. But after I got him neutered he calmed down. My vet said it helps tomcats calm down, and it worked.” It helps by stopping those irksome I-want-to go-on-the-prowl-and-meet-a-lady-cat hormones. The other bonus: your cat won’t start spraying in the house. And what about queens (also known as female cats)? It helps them, too. No unwanted kittens and no going into heat — perfect.

See Also: Cat Behavior 101 (Slideshow)

Erin had a slightly different problem with her cat, Charlie. “Working long hours meant when I got home, sometimes late at night, all I wanted to do was collapse in bed. But Charlie wasn’t having any of it. He’d not only run about, jump on me and wake me, but would also be very vocal. I don’t think I had a good night’s sleep for a month.”

Erin tried playing with Charlie; she even tried feeding him catnip. Finally she came to a realization. “He was bored all day by himself. So I got another cat. I did worry they wouldn’t get along, so I waited until I had a week’s vacation. Now, Charlie and Bella are best buds and when I get home, we play and then go to sleep.”

James had this to say about his cat. “Tigra was fine when we went to bed; she liked to curl up next to me. But when she’d decide to wake up and play, she was looking for a play buddy. She’d run around the room, even nipping my arm lightly to get my attention. My solution was simple: she got locked out of the room.”

How did that work? Well, his solution takes time, patience and determination. “She would cry and scratch at the door, but I wouldn’t give in. Eventually she would do it less and less, and now, she hardly does it at all.”

James says it took him almost two weeks, lots of valerian and ear plugs to make it through, but it worked. Now he gets to have Tigra with him and a decent night’s sleep.

Then there’s Vanessa. Her cat would always wake her at 5 o’clock in the morning; something she found was giving her dark circles under the eyes and making her less efficient at work. “Max always woke me wanting to be fed,” Vanessa said. “So I simply started making sure he got his evening meal around 10 p.m., rather than at 6, as I had always done. Now I’m able to rest at night, and Max is no longer begging for food at some ungodly hour.”

So if your cat is keeping you up at night, take heart from these stories. It might take a little trial and error, but you should be able to find the right solution to combat your cat’s behavior. Whether it’s play, a change in dinnertime, a companion, training or even a little catnip, we know your answer is there, just around the proverbial corner.

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Cat Interfering With Your Sleep? originally appeared on

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Kate S.
Kate S.2 years ago


Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M.2 years ago

Im with James in the article. OMG my gorgeous cat wakes up at 4am or 5am ...this was when I first brought her home and kept sitting on my head and purring in my ear or kissing me to dobbing her wet nose on my cheek till I woke up half dead and decided things just have to change. I decided what James did and shut her out of my bedroom till she learnt to be quiet. She has the entire house to run around in as I use ear plugs. Its worked and now she goes to bed when I do. She gets quite a bit of exercise but she is full of energy and loves cuddles n kisses if she could 24/7.

John Wesen
Past Member 2 years ago

I just give up, and let Pebbles sleep on my head. :D

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Nicholas, for Sharing this!

Mafalda F.
Mafalda F.2 years ago

My cat sometimes wakes me around 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning. I will try feeding her latter at night like Vanessa and hope it works. Thanks.

Dimitris Dallis
Dimitris Dallis2 years ago

Even if I like cats, I can't stand their hair on bed...

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

we lock ours out bc she likes to knock everything off of the surfaces in the room, even the dvd player -_-

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Tia T.
Tia T.2 years ago

My problem with my cat waking me up is completely different....she wakes me up when she is ready to go to bed by sticking her face directly into mine and her wiskers itch and tickle like crazy. Then she will proceed to knead me in the face or the neck and lay on top of my to fall asleep. I am having to sleep with my head under the pillow:-( Any suggestions?

Sue H.
Sue H.2 years ago

Thanks, my cat does think some play is fun around bedtime.... sometimes we oblige and sometime not, we always feel guilty!