Nothing is sweeter than a sleeping kitty. And, some might say, nothing is more distressing than a wakeful kitty--especially if that cat is awake at 3am or 4am and wants the humans to be awake as well.
Sadly, this is pretty common. Cats are designed to be at their most active during dawn and dusk, when their preferred types of food are most active. Normally, a cat would do the most effective hunting during this time, so the cat's internal clock is set to start ringing the alarm at dawn and dusk.
Cats who are hungry at 3am become cats who meow or rattle the doors or pace or just jump up and down on the humans until they get up. And when mealtime is through, these cats settle right back down into a nap.
Feeding the kitty a little snack at bedtime can help to stave off some hunger pangs, and that could allow the cat to delay the wakeup calls by an hour or two. But there's one more trick you can try with very persistent cats who continuously wake up super early.
Wake those cats up periodically throughout the day for sessions of active play.
Cats that sleep all day long without ceasing have a ton of energy to burn off, which often means they have plenty to spare when the wee hours of the morning come around. Meanwhile, cats who expend a bit more energy during the day tend to sleep in a little more at night.
Most cats sleep rather lightly when they do sleep, so it's easy to wake them up. And often, these cats are 100 percent ready to play when you do wake them up. Rattle the wand toy, pull out the laser pointer or toss the ball down the hall and the cat is 100 percent in the game.
Fergus is treated to a play session like this every time I walk by him, and since I work from home, I walk by him a lot. We have a little play time for 5 minutes or so, and then I go back to work and he goes back to sleep.
I should say that this technique doesn't work on all cats. Popoki here isn't half as interested in play as Fergus is, for example, and she simply won't get up and move because I think she should do so. She moves when she feels like moving, and that isn't really under my control.
But honestly, I've tried this wakey-wakey technique on quite a few cats over the years, and I can attest to its effectiveness. If you have an early-morning kitty, it might work for you, too!
Are your cats good alarm clocks? Leave me a note in the comments and let me know.