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Cat Behavior: Early Morning Wake-Up Call

    Comportamento del gatto: sveglia mattutina
    Photo: Lemonsandtea/

    A cat may be the best alarm clock in the world. Most of the time. Creatures of habit, they sense when it is time for certain things to happen. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the memo on the days you want to sleep in, but who doesn’t love a sweet little “boop,” in the morning to get the day going?

    alarm clock kitties

    Check out this adorable compilation of cats helping their people to get the day started. Look familiar?

    Cute…and sometimes not so cute

    Many cats will come to understand your regular patterns. When you get up. Shower. Eat. Watch TV. Even that special time to snuggle. Still, there are some cats that have their own rituals. It may be based on their upbringing, in part. Was your cat a rescue? It could be a change in your living situation? Has a new person come into the house? Or a fart? Did you move? There are lots of factors that create or change patterns, so being sensitive and thoughtful on your part is important.

    Pet experts Doctors Foster and Smith say:

    Wild cats hunt during the night. For many domestic cats, however, nocturnal tendencies don’t end now that food is readily available. Instead, this behavior is simply modified so they sleep during the day when the house is quiet and grow active as your house fills with activity at the end of the work or school day. Research shows that even cats with sleep patterns more attuned to our own still wake at least a couple of times during the night. And we all know that an awake cat is easily enticed to play by the subtlest of movements, such as your rolling over in your sleep.

    Why does my cat like to wake me?

    Cats are nocturnal animals so their being up and at ’em in the wee hours of the morning is not out of character. While their clothes may not align with our own, sometimes our furry friends decide we need to actively join them. And just like us, every cat is different. Take this question sent to Joan Morris of the Pet Connection.

    Why does my cat wake me up at 4 am, demanding to be fed?

    By JOAN MORRIS, Mercury News

    DEAR JOAN: My cat has started waking me up at 4 am every morning to be fed. She won’t take no for an answer. She walks all over me, swats my nose, meows in my ear and knocks things off my dresser if I don’t respond.


    If I try locking her out of my room, she scratches at the door and howls. She won’t stop. She once continued with that behavior for two hours until I finally gave up and fed her.

    What can be done to stop this? I love my cat, but 4 in the morning, especially on a weekend, is too much.

    GG, Concord

    DEAR GG: The first step is to have your cat checked to make sure she doesn’t have diabetes or some other condition that would make her starving at 4 am Chances are she’s fine, but you need to eliminate that possibility.

    Probably the easiest solution is to invest in an automatic feeder. These devices have an alarm clock of sorts, allowing you to set the time it opens and feeds your cat. Start at 4 am and then gradually change the time until you’re at a point that’s more reasonable for you.

    You also can try feeding your cat right before bedtime so that she doesn’t get so hungry so early.

    Joan answers those pet questions all of us have. Be sure to check out her column for more good advice.

    The simple truth

    Cats are wired differently from humans, so understanding their habits, and the particular habits of each individual cat, is important for a successful relationship. Sometimes your cat can train you, but you can also work with your cat to make things work happily for the both of you. A little love and patience can go a long way.


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