10 Ways to Stop Your Cat From Waking You Up at Night

Young woman lying on bed by cat
Will Woods / Getty Images

Does your cat constantly wake you at night by either playing on the bed, waking you to be fed, or wanting cuddle time when all you want is sleep? Many people with sleep disorders have problems going back to sleep after being awakened by a cat. There is no need to suffer from cat-related sleep deprivation. Try one or more of these suggestions to get a full night's sleep, and still give your cat the attention he needs.

  • 01 of 10

    Give Your Cat His Own Bed

    If you already have a sleep disorder, it is best that you never encourage your cat to sleep on your bed. This means making your bedroom off-limits at all times. Once a cat finds your bed a comfortable place to snooze during the day, he will automatically want to sleep with you at night. Give kitty a comfortable bed in a spare room, corner of the living room (with a screen for privacy), or even a bathroom. If necessary, rub a bit of catnip on the bed initially, to encourage him to use it.

  • 02 of 10

    Cats are normally nocturnal animals. They sleep all day and play or hunt all night. You can help readjust their schedules by scheduling an interactive play period of at least 15 minutes before bedtime, with a toy such as da Bird. Follow the play sessions with a snack for kitty and a warm bath for yourself. Both of you will feel more like sleeping when you are through.

  • 03 of 10

    If He's Home Alone, Adopt a Second Cat

    A single cat may easily become bored at home alone all day, and rightfully will expect his human companion to give him attention in the evening and at night. A second cat will give him companionship of his own kind to keep him happy during the day, and will lessen those nocturnal urges to wake you for play. This is especially true with kittens, who have much more excess energy to burn during their first year of growth. Two kittens are almost always better than one.

  • 04 of 10

    Close the Bedroom Door

    A determined cat might scratch at the door for awhile, but he will eventually give up and either go to sleep or find some other activity. You can help prevent damage to the door by either mounting a vertical scratch pad on it, trimming his nails, or using Soft Claws.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Use Earplugs

    If his scratching at the door keeps you awake, even though he eventually stops, use earplugs. Swimmers' earplugs effective seal the ear canal and should give you some sleep relief
  • 06 of 10

    Use Ocean Sounds or White Noise

    There are a number of commercial products on the market for peaceful sounds that will help you sleep (with the cat on the other side of the door). You can select from bird sounds, ocean/waterfall sounds, or just "white noise," and earphones will help amplify and enhance the sleep-inducing effects.

    I particularly like the electronic ones with optional additional sound cards.

  • 07 of 10

    Darken the Room

    If you are only bothered by those pouncing, biting attacks at your toes at night, use those room-darkening shades to completely darken the room. Replace the digital or florescent dial clocks by the bedside. Although cats can see in very low light, they cannot see in total darkness. (They'll also be more inclined to go to sleep.)
  • 08 of 10

    Don't Give In To Food Demands

    If your sleep annoyance is those little pitty-pats or nose bumps to your cheeks in early morning hours when kitty thinks it's time for breakfast, don't allow her to train you. Tell her firmly, "no!," then cover your head with the sheet, blanket, or even pillow, if necessary. When your own clock (internal or table model) tells you it's time to wake up, feed her immediately. She'll soon learn that breakfast is served on your schedule rather than hers.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Try a Temporary Sleep Aid

    Drink a glass of warm milk flavored with a drop of vanilla after your bath. If that doesn't help, as a last resort, ask your doctor to prescribe a mild sedative to help you sleep. It doesn't necessarily have to be something that will "knock you out for the count," but a mild relaxant should do the trick. You should consider this only a temporary solution as your feline nocturnal training progresses.
  • 10 of 10

    Establish a Predictable Schedule

    Cats do not like surprises, and are most happy when their household revolves around a predictable schedule. Giving them a set time for food, safe outdoor play, interactive play, grooming, and petting will go a long way toward maintaining their well-being and giving you a good night's sleep, every night.