How to Get Your Cat to Sleep With You

Two Parts:Preparing for BedSleeping with Your Cat Through the Night

Have you ever just wanted your cat to stay in bed with you and cuddle through the night? Cats can be very active at night, so getting your kitty to stay asleep and not disturb you while you sleep can be tricky.[1] With the right preparation and sleeping arrangements, you and your cat can have a long peaceful rest together for many nights to come.

Part 1
Preparing for Bed

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    Schedule a play session right before bed. Establish a nighttime routine with your cat by having a 10-15 minute play session right before bedtime. This will tire out your cat and signal to your cat that it's time to get ready for bed. Use your cat’s favorite toy and run around the house for the play session. Afterward, reward your cat with a small snack.[2]
    • Establishing a “getting ready for bed” routine will train your cat to follow your bedtime and wake up time. Try to schedule the play session for the same time every night and go to bed shortly after the play session. This will reinforce the routine and keep you and your cat on the same sleep schedule.
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    Feed your cat a meal before bed. Most cats will take a snooze after a big meal, so encourage her to sleep by feeding her right before you head to bed.[3]
    • You can also invest in an automatic feeder. This will give your cat the freedom to get up and feed herself in the early morning or throughout the night without disturbing you. Put the feeder on a timer so it dispenses one to two times a night. Make sure you reduce your cat’s daily meals so she doesn’t overeat during the night and gain weight.[4]
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    Put a perch near your bed. This will allow your cat to observe you preparing for bed and get her comfortable in your bedroom. Once you get into bed, your cat can easily move from the perch to her favorite spot by your feet or curled up between you and your partner.[5]
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    Play with your cat throughout the day. An active cat during the day can lead to a sleepy cat at night. Enrich your cat’s life by giving her love, attention, and play throughout the day. This could mean a grooming session once a day, play sessions in the morning and when you get home from work, or a short walk around the block on a cat leash.[6]
    • Keeping your cat active, especially at scheduled times throughout the day, will give her a reason to sleep through the night in your bed.

Part 2
Sleeping with Your Cat Through the Night

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    Correct any negative behavior from your cat in bed. Once you shut off your bedroom light and your cat settles into your bed, you may think you can both drift off to sleep. But cats can be skittish at night, even after a long play session before bed, and may playful swat your face, sit on your head, or meow to get attention. It’s important that you reinforce your status as the pet owner by correcting your cat when she does this behavior in bed.[7]
    • This might mean sending your cat to the other side of the bed by saying “no” and moving your cat away from you. Or, you can send your cat to the corner by placing her carrier in the corner of the bedroom. If she starts to act up when you are in bed, say “no” and point to the carrier. Continue to point until she goes into the carrier for a time out.
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    Avoid playing with your cat or feeding her if she wakes you up. Don’t get out of bed to feed her, play with her or interact with her. This will signal to her that you are rewarding her for waking you up. She will then continue to try to wake you up throughout the night to get attention from you, and a “reward”.[8]
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    Send her out of the room if she keeps you up at night. If your cat simply will not let you sleep during the night or continues to wake you up, you will need to communicate to her that it is not acceptable and send her out of your bedroom.
    • If she cries and scratches at the door, you can discourage her by placing double-sided sticky tape, aluminum foil, or a Scat Mat in front of your door. This should prevent her from trying to bother you through your bedroom door at night once you send her out.
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    Take your cat to the vet if she meows or cries throughout the night and the day. If your cat is very restless at night or cries or meows throughout the day and night, she may be experiencing pain or discomfort from a medical issue or problem. Speak to your vet about your cat’s symptoms to ensure your cat is not bothering you at night due to a medical issue or problem.[9]

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Categories: Cat Training