8 Hacks for Sleepless Cat Owners


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Ah, sleep. Cats are the ultimate masters of it, and we humans never seem to catch enough of it. I’m a light sleeper. Sounds and movements jolt me out of Dreamland, and I have a heck of a time finding my way back to that sweet, sleepy place. I think I need some kind of soundproof room with a big, comfy bed inside — you know, like the bottle in I Dream if Jeannie. Yeah, that’d be super cool.

My three cats usually sleep when we sleep, but at times they romp about the house, knocking objects off tables, cruising kitchen counters, and sometimes walking across my slumbering body. And Cosmo, my little shadow, feels the need to make himself at home on my pillow, leaving me with a tiny triangle for a head rest. Needless to say, when my cats want to get their midnight jollies, my sleep is interrupted.

I know I’m lucky — some people’s cats are active most every night while they’re trying to sleep. Whether or not your cats are part-time or full-time midnight partiers, these hacks will certainly help you catch some Z’s.

1. Basket or box on night table

The sidecar.
The sidecar.

If you want to sleep with your cat, but their movements keep you awake, you might want to consider a basket or box on your night table. This keeps kitty nearby and provides you with a nice, quiet bed.

2. Play before bedtime

Get tired, you!
Get tired, you!

Just before bedtime, haul out the toys and give your cats a workout! A worn-out cat is more likely to crash, increasing your chances of scoring some shut-eye.

3. Set alarms

This is cause for alarm.
This is cause for alarm.

If you’re like me, you have the best of intentions, yet sometimes don’t have the follow-through to go along with them. I love my phone’s alarm clock, and I use it for a variety of reasons. This is a helpful tool when you need to remind yourself to play with kitty before bedtime, or anything else cat-related you want to remember. I use it to remind myself to brush Saffy every day. Cats love routine, and using an alarm will help keep you on track with that routine.

4. Limit water consumption at night


I love to drink water, but know if I drink anything after dinner, I’ll likely pay a few visits to the bathroom during the night. And any time I emerge from bed, my cats assume I must be getting up for the day, and that means breakfast — even at 3 a.m. Then it’s back to the drawing board with getting my cats settled so I can get back to sleep. I love water, but I love sleep even more.

5. A special spot on the bed

Pillow pal.
Pillow pal.

Cats can make beds out of anything.

Pile of laundry = bed

Stack of magazines = bed

Board game = bed

They enjoy being on top of something … anything. My Cosmo is fond of sleeping flat against me at night, which is sweet, but I become overheated. When I move him to another part of the bed, he returns and wants to reclaim his space. Phoebe likes to curl up in positions that make it impossible for me to change positions, and I change positions quite often when I sleep. I discovered the perfect solution to this predicament. I place a pillow or folded fleece blanket on a part of the bed that’s close to me, yet allows me the freedom to toss and turn. I’m telling you, it works. The cats gravitate to their special spot and usually stay there the entire night.

6. Relaxing music or white noise


Light sleepers hear even the tiniest house-creaks, so nighttime feline shenanigans are certain to keep us awake. I’ve found that a sound machine or soothing music relaxes me and blocks a lot of the outside noise. There are tons of selections you can download and play while you’re settling in for the night.


7. Shoe doorstop

Phoebe and indecision.
Phoebe and indecision.

OK, this may seem silly, and perhaps there are better ways to do this, but I use a shoe to keep my bedroom door only slightly open. You see, if I close it completely, I deal with the frantic pawing. If I leave it all the way open, I’m subject to the sounds of the activity in the living room. Plus, I have a thing about sleeping with the door open — it just feels weird. Even Feng Shui tells us to close our doors when we sleep. My cats don’t give a rip about Feng Shui, and just want access to my bedroom at any time of the night. The old shoe-against-the-door trick gives me a mostly closed door, yet provides a little space for kitty entrances and exits.

8. Cat resting-spaces in the bedroom

A bed of one’s own.
A bed of one’s own.

If a cat has his own bed on the floor, or a cat tree or cube in your bedroom, he just might choose to sleep there instead on your bed. Again, score for the light sleeper!

Do you have any hacks for getting a good night’s sleep with cats? Tell us about it in the comments!

Read more by Angie Bailey:

About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food. 

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