Nocturnal Mischief Makers
What to do when your cats turn into hyperactive night owls.
It’s 3.00 am. All is quiet in my neighborhood except for the hooting of an owl in nearby bush, which, believe me, is much better than having a bullfrog croaking in the creek. (That sounds like mechanical machinery gone awry.)
Suddenly it sounds as though there is a herd of elephants thundering through the house. The ruckus is enough to bring on heart palpitations until the brain sends a message that “it’s only the cats….”
This is a typical scenario is feline households around the world. Cats, by their nature are nocturnal creatures and didn’t get the memo that in suburban domestic situations, nighttime is for sleeping.
The only way to get them to fall in line with your nighttime routine is to ensure they get plenty of both mental and physical stimulation during the day. This is particularly important because cats left alone during the day are both bored and lonely, and will appreciate whatever efforts you make to keep them busy.
Here are a few simple ideas that will actually improve your felines’ daily lifestyle and ensure they will curl up and go to sleep when you do.
If you already have a nice tall cat condo, consider repositioning it near a window. Cats love to people watch if it’s a street view. And if you can offer a garden view, even better. Installing a bird feeder will mean they will be kept busy keeping an eye on the birds. A water fountain also brings activity. The alternative to a tall cat tree is a window cat hammock or perch. There are several models available.
We have a bay window in out kitchen and I have put a crate mat down on the tiles so that Fudge and Ziggy can nap in the sun and watch what’s going on outside, too. It’s a very popular spot in the household.
Another form of stimulation is giving your cats toys to interact with during the day. Puzzle feeders are great because it means they have to work for their food and this keeps them occupied.
If you have an only cat, consider adopting a friend. Most cats love feline companionship (If properly introduced; this is a subject for another blog.). My cats spend a lot of time engaging with one another, playing games and chasing one another. Fudge is 16 years old but that doesn’t stop her romping around with 4-year-old Ziggy. After a play session, they curl up, crash and sleep.
Finally, make sure you have playtime every evening. My cats love wand toys. Not only do they love to interact with them but they also like me to throw them so that they can retrieve them and get the games going again. It’s a really good idea to engage in some social interaction with them before bedtime to tire them out. If you do it every evening, you will soon have a routine in place that is a win-win all round. Sleep well!
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats