It is 5AM and your cat has made a subtle appearance on your duvet cover. Quiet meows turn into persistent meows punctuated with pawing, kneading, licking your face and now your REM slumber has been vetoed by your 10 pound house cat.
Although obnoxious, keep in mind that your cat’s heightened activity just before sunrise is hard-wired and while some people mistakenly believe cats are nocturnal, they are in fact ‘crepuscular’, meaning, cats are late night party goers and early morning risers.
Think about it. Is there any reason this behavior might be advantageous from a survivalists point-of-view?
When not eating chicken pate from sterilized crystal goblets in Friskee commercials, cats naturally prey on mice and birds. Mice and birds are most active in the wee morning hours. You’ve heard of the phrase ‘The early bird gets the worm’. Take that one step further. The early cat gets the BIRD…who gets the worm. Make sense?
Now, here is what to do about it.
For one, RESIST THE URGE to feed him just after you’ve rise. Wait a minimum of twenty minutes before grab his food bowl. Secondly, proactively satiate his need to hunt in the evening. Any time between dinner and bed time will do. Using a feather wand toy (DA BIRD band toy works well, because the feathers swivel in a manner that resembles a fluttering bird), allow him to stalk, hunt, pounce, bat, and mouth at the wand toy as if it were a real prey animal.
Do this for 3-6 minutes and cease the game BEFORE his attention wanes.
Next, give him a HIGH PROTEIN snack–tuna fish, turkey, or chicken baby food work fabulously. Heat it slightly so it is reminiscent of a warm bodied prey animal (don’t cringe, you knew they weren’t vegetarians), and give him 1-2 tablespoons depending on his size.
By proactively satiating your cat’s predatory needs at night, your cat will be more relaxed in the morning, thus greatly reducing the need for a 5am wake-up call. If this alone doesn’t do the trick, contact Tanya Cardwell for a personalized behavior training.