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Pet tips
April 21, 2014, 05:00 AM By Scott Delucchi

Occasionally, but not often, one of our kids, ages 5 and a half and 3 and a half, wakes us up in the middle of the night. Now, we don’t have a cat — our two kids plus one dog is enough activity — but I understand this can be a common activity for them. And, unlike our kids who just want to cuddle with Mommy or Daddy (usually Mommy!), cats think of the early-morning hours as party time. And, they have such “endearing” methods for waking their humans. They might paw at their owners’ eyelids, sit on their head or pounce on their midsection. Unless you want to wear catcher’s gear to bed, you have to deal with this. It’s simply nature; cats have an internal clock that is opposite of most people. The hours right before dawn are when they get busy, and, they attempt to make it play time for us, too. Do you yell at them to leave you alone or fling a pillow wildly in their general direction? Probably didn’t work, as cats don’t learn from punishment. You likely won’t have much success changing your cat’s natural rhythm, either. But, you do have options. For one, close your door! Don’t give your cat access to your room. If you want to allow your cat to come and go as she pleases, give her more exercise each evening so she won’t look to play with you hours later. You can tempt her into a 15-20 minute session with a cat dancer or laser tag, or give her a ping pong ball to bat around in an empty bathtub. And, since she may be waking you early for her breakfast, try an automatic feeder set to dispense her food at 5 a.m., just before the witching hour when she flops on your head. Unless you bar her entry into your room, there’s no quick fix; we’re dealing with nature here.

Scott oversees PHS/SPCA’s Adoption, Behavior and Training, Education, Outreach, Field Services, Cruelty Investigation, Volunteer and Media/PR program areas and staff from the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion.

 

 

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