Your cat wakes you at 4 am when you have an important meeting. Why? What can you do to stop this from happening again?

Cats have adapted to human lifestyles despite being evolved for night-time activity.

Cats are more active in the morning and evening than in the middle of the night. They change their activity cycles to fit in with their housemates.

If you sleep at night, your cat should rest as well. A lot of people sleep with their cat. In a survey of women in the US, 30 percent slept with at least one cat.

Cats want to play in the wee hours.

The reason your cat is waking you up will help you understand how to stop them. There are three reasons your cat might be waking you up.

1. They're hungry

This is one of the most common reasons. One of the first things a sleepy person will do is feed their cat. The cat is more likely to repeat the behavior if it is rewarded.

Make sure your cat is getting enough to eat throughout the day to address this problem. You can give them a snack or meal before you go to sleep.

If you feed your cat in the morning, you need to make sure it doesn't wake up with breakfast. Aim for at least half an hour between when you get out of bed and when you feed kitty breakfast.

You can teach your cat to associate something else with getting food.

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2. They don't have a routine

Cats like to know what's going to happen.

Keeping a regular routine has been associated with reduced stress in cats.

To maintain a routine, keep the times the same each day.

Dirty or disturbed litter may be a reason your cat is waking you up. If you have to, try not to move litter trays, bowls or scratch posts.

If something changes in their environment, you can either move furniture or have a new houseguest or pet. This is normal for cats.

Your cat will eventually settle in to the new normal if you keep the routine consistent.

Cats love to sleep, but they also like to play and move their bodies like us.

If you are not home often, it is important to give your cat access to a variety of toys and resources around the house.

Cats have a place to stretch and climb. They have an opportunity to play and exercise with balls, soft and motorized toys.

When you are at home, play a game of chase around the house with your cat or use an interactive toy like a cat wand. You can make a game for your cat.

Cats are easy to get bored with. You should keep variety in your play times. You should not play with your cat in the hour before you want to go to bed. If you can arrange a play session before you go out, it will help keep your cat quiet.

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Help! I've made these changes and my cat still woke me up!

Your cat might wake you up. As your cat adjusts, this behavior may get worse. At night or in the early morning, ignore your cat's behavior. If you can, don't get up and interact with your cat when they wake you.

If your cat still wakes you up, it is time to go to the vet. There might be a reason for the behavior.

It would be great if you and your cat could agree on when your sleep and wake-up times are. It is possible to love your cat and still sleep.

Susan Hazel is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Adelaide.

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