A colleague of mine states that she is late for work because her cat forgot to wake her up. The non-cat lovers in the room think that this is strange. At that time, I think that this is strange also. After becoming a cat parent, I know that a cat wakes up people quite regularly. Sometimes this may be appreciate, but not on a regular basis. A cat waking you up gets to be annoying. Why does a cat insist on waking you early? Actually, there are a few reasons to explain this phenomenon.
Let’s take a look at what science tells us about this behavior. Cats are crepuscular animals. This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their vision is best adapted for these levels of light! not for complete darkness. Cats are not classified as nocturnal animals. Cats sleep during the night also. In the wild, cats use this time of day for hunting their prey. With indoor cats, this is their peak time for playing, and socializing.
Learn Routines Quickly
Cats learn routines very quickly. It only takes a few days for cats to learn your schedule. If you wake up at the same time each day to get ready for work, cats remember this. They remember this for seven days a week. Now, this really causes a problem when you have opportunities to sleep later. It takes more time for them to understand that you sleep later on weekends or your days off. After awhile cats adapt to this change in the routine. It takes longer, but cats learn these two different routines.
“I think cats are cooperative and nice about how often they try to complement our schedules,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, certified cat behavior consultant.
The sleep cycles of cats differ from humans. Some cats sleep as much as 20 hours a day. They have sleep cycles frequently throughout the day which is the complete opposite of most human schedules.
Your sleep cycle consists of five stages. Your sleep ranges in depth from barely napping to an intense state of deep sleep. During each stage of sleep, your breathing, heartbeat, and activity levels change. These cycles of sleep occur from four to five times a night. Cats can sense your sleep patterns. They are able to recognize a light stage of sleep. They use this time to wake you up.
Most people tend to want something to eat when they wake up. Cats get hungry during the night. When they notice that dawn is approaching, they are ready to eat. Since they may not have access to their food, they are not shy about asking you for it. Unfortunately, this may result in waking you up to early.
Cats sleep a lot during the day while you are away. When cats are awake, they like to explore and play. During the early morning, your cats are very active and hunting for something to do. They exhibit the “let’s get going” attitude, and they want you to join them. Waking you up may be a form of entertainment, or they may want you to wake up and play with them.
Crave Social Interactions
Cats are very social animals. They crave interactions. When you think about it, cats spend a lot of time alone. Cat parents may work all day. When they arrive home, chores need to be done. There is just not enough time to give cats the amount of attention that they require. By waking you up, cats are able to get some attention. They made something exciting happen that recognizes their presence even if it is only a grumpy sound or movement. They receive a social response no matter if you respond positively or negatively.
React to the Lighting of the Room
If your room allows for daylight to shine through the windows, this is a signal for your cats that it is time to wake you up. A light room encourages your cats to revive you from your slumber. They do not want you to miss the early morning action. Remember this is one of the times during the day when cats are most active.
Experiences Some Type of Discomfort
Sometimes it seems that all cats can be quite dramatic. If something is wrong, they will let you know that they are unhappy. They could be sick, hungry, or thirsty. Cats will certainly let you know if they need a clean litter box. Just like humans, cats want to be comfortable. Cats are intelligent and alert you to problems.
You Are a Target of Temptation
Cats are curious and mischievous. Seeing you sleeping and maybe snoring is a little too tempting for them. They enjoy pouncing from a higher perch like a headboard or a dresser. Also, they may be displaying hunting instincts passed down from their ancestors, so cats may use a surprise attack to wake you.
Needs Are Not Met Immediately
Patience may not be a virtue of cats. If they want you to play with them, they can be quite demanding, even if that means waking you up. Cats quickly realize that if certain behaviors get them what they want, then they will continue to be demanding. Sometimes cat owners inadvertently encourage and reinforce unwanted behaviors.
Everyone is not like my colleague that I spoke about earlier. You may find it to be very frustrating to be awakened early in the morning. If so, there are a few things that may help alleviate the problem. Darken your bedroom. This may cause cats to wake up later. Feed your cat before bedtime or leave some food out. It is very helpful to play with your cats before bedtime. This serves two purposes. The cats are receiving attention and social interactions from you. Most of all, playing tires cats. They will need to rest. This encourages them to sleep longer. Now, all of your cats’ needs are met. Hopefully, this helps pet owners and cats sleep better and longer.