Does your cat like to run around in the middle of the night, meowing and disturbing your sleep? Does he stare out the window during the day, wanting to go outside? If so, you’re not alone.
Dealing with a Hyper Cat
Plenty of owners find themselves in this situation: their cat sleeps all day and seems to wake up only at night, once it’s time for bed. There are ways to help alter these habits and ensure your cat doesn’t continue to disturb your sleep on a regular basis.
Though many people like to let their cat outside to explore, the truth is your cat is much safer in an indoor environment, where he or she is protected from hazards like moving cars, children with bad intentions, and other predators like dogs and coyotes. Keeping your cat indoors means they are more likely to be bored and need outlets for their excess energy and desire to hunt. Because cats are natural predators, they enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction they get once they have succeeded. It’s up to us as owners to help ensure they still achieve that satisfaction even as indoor cats.
Provide the Resources
If your cat has excess energy, chances are he or she has engaged in at least one negative behavior, whether it be scratching your furniture, keeping you up at night, or bothering you for attention during the day. Many owners get upset and blame the cat for these types of behaviors, but in reality, it’s up to cat owners to help their pets channel this energy into something positive and productive. If your cat is “too hyper” or won’t let you get a good night’s sleep, try some of these suggestions to help tone down the hyperactivity:
1) Let your cat explore the outside – Supervised and on a leash, that is. Again, cats don’t have any special senses that keep them safe outside, which is why letting them out on their own can be extremely dangerous. Outdoor cats have much shorter life spans than indoor cats, and we all want our pets to live as long as possible, so taking the risk of letting them outside isn’t worth it. Instead, buy a small harness and leash for your cat and take him or her on a walk to explore. It can be as simple as a trot around your backyard or a longer, more substantial walk if your cat is willing to go that far. Some cats love going on walks, others don’t. Your cat may just flop down on the ground and roll around – that’s fine, too. Find out whether or not your cat enjoys it and if so, try to take him or her out as frequently as possible to help them express their natural instincts.
2) Make time for play – Playtime is crucial for the happiness of a cat. Sure, cats like to sleep most of the day, but not engaging them in any playtime during the day may make them exert that pent up energy at night, which is often unpleasant for owners. Find the type of toy that your cat prefers and play with him at least once a day, several times if possible. Some cats prefer the wand toys with something hanging from the stick, like a fishing pole. Others enjoy playing fetch with bouncy balls like a dog. The laser pointer is a toy that most cats love to play with, so shell out a few dollars and get one at the pet store. It can provide hours of entertainment for both you and your cat!
3) Provide a cat tower – Cat towers, kitty condos, and other larger play structures help cats express their natural hunting instincts, too, by allowing them to be above their “prey”, watching them from afar and jumping down to play when they want. Many cats love their towers and will spend hours a day either sleeping or playing on them, or both. Skip the pet store and purchase one online where they are much cheaper. Or better yet, build one yourself! Just make sure to cover it with carpet or a material that makes it climbable for your cat, otherwise it defeats the purpose.
Give Them an Outlet
If you are having trouble sleeping at night because of an over-active cat or you find that your cat is simply bored with being inside, but you understand the dangers of letting him or her out, squeeze in some extra playtime during the day. Giving your cat this extra attention, be it through a walk, a play session, or a kitty condo, can help your cat get rid of its excess energy and be tired when it comes time for bed. Then both you and your cat can sleep soundly again.