Many cat owners surely know that their cats usually already active every morning before even the sun had the nerve to peek over the horizon because they wanted to be fed. While the rest of the household was fast asleep their cat wanted to have some food to suck down their bowls.
Unfortunately for those of us who enjoy sleeping at night this is a natural behavior in cats and while the problem may not happen to every cat owner it happens too many. So what can you do? Even though cats have been domesticated animals for thousands of years now dating back to ancient Egypt, they still have retained most of their wild instincts and this is a cat’s natural instinct; hunt and feed.
Cats are predatory animals, they hunt, and the cat’s natural time to hunt generally falls between dusk and dawn because most of the prey they hunt are nocturnal (rats, mice and other rodents). So, if you can’t or don’t want to let your cat out at night to hunt on her own what should you do?
Fortunately, there is solution to this dilemma. Training your cat to stop this behavior may be fairly easy, but be warned, it will take a little patience on your part but a good night’s sleep may be the reward.
What you need is a cat toy, preferably a mouse or something similar, a piece of string and a stick. Attach the cat toy to a string and the string to the stick. While you are watching your bedtime TV or doing whatever you’re doing before bedtime ritual is take your cat toy and play a hunting game with them.
Cats love to chase things because of their hunting instinct. Play with your cat for about 15 minutes, enough time to tire your cat out and give her the satisfaction of having hunted. During your game create as realistic a hunting scenario as you can, make noises like a mouse (or whatever animal you are emulating) squeaking or scurrying through the brush.
Let your cat catch the toy from time to time so that your cat will feel as if she was involved in a successful (rather than a frustrating) hunt. Towards the end gradually slow down the game drawing your little hunt to a close. Your cat will probably be sufficiently tired by this time. At the end of the game feed your cat something you know they like.
You don’t need to feed her a full sized meal, but feed her an amount sufficient enough to satisfy her hunger. A handful of cat treats or a little piece of left over pork chop may be sufficient. Then go to sleep. In all likelihood your cat will be satisfied and will not continue her ritual of waking you up every morning.
You may need to continue your hunting game with your cat for a week or two before the early morning meowing goes away, and even after it does it’s a good idea to play this game with your cat from time to time in order to keep the behavior from returning and to keep your cat feeling like an accomplished hunter. But if you follow this routine you should be able to satisfy your cat and get a little shut eye at the same time.