How to Stop Your Cat From Waking You Up at Night

There are a few strategies to keep your cat from ruining your sleep

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. If medication or pharmaceutical sleep aids aren't an option, you can try one or more of these suggestions to get a full night's sleep, and still give your cat the attention it needs.

  • 01 of 09

    Give Your Cat Its 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. Give your cat a comfortable cat bed in a spare room, a 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 the cat to use it.

  • 02 of 09

    Schedule Playtime Before Bed

    Cats are nocturnal animals. They sleep almost all day and play or hunt all night. You can help readjust a cat's internal clock by scheduling an interactive play period of at least 15 minutes before bedtime. Follow the play sessions with a snack, which should leave your cat drowsy.

  • 03 of 09

    Adopt a Second Cat

    A single cat may easily become bored at home alone all day and will expect its human companion to provide attention at night. A second cat will offer companionship 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 09

    Close the Bedroom Door

    A determined cat might scratch at the door for a while, but it 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 a product like Soft Claws.

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  • 05 of 09

    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.

  • 06 of 09

    Darken the Room

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

  • 07 of 09

    Don't Give In To Food Demands

    If your cat interrupts your sleep early in the morning by pouncing on you to seek breakfast, don't allow the animal to train you. Tell it  "no!" then cover your head with the sheet, blanket, or even pillow, if necessary. When your own clock (internal or bedside table model) tells you it's time to wake up, then feed your cat. This will teach the cat that breakfast is served on your schedule. 

  • 08 of 09

    Use Earplugs

    If all else fails and your cat's scratching at the door keeps you awake, even though it eventually stops, use earplugs. Swimmers' earplugs effectively seal the ear canal and should give you some relief.

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  • 09 of 09

    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.