Is there any concern in feeding my cat right before bedtime?

Yes, it can disrupt your sleep, because some cats display surges of energy that will cause them to run, jump, chase and “hunt.” Your just-fed cat may also wake you to request outdoor bathroom breaks or, if she’s an indoor cat, make very noisy use of her litter box.

Cats spend much of their day napping and tend to be most alert at dawn and dusk – and nighttime. If you feed her before bedtime, she’ll just have that much more energy for hunting! Depending on the routine, she might also associate after-feeding time with play, belly rubs, petting or whatever.

A set routine is the best. Cats do not like surprises, and are most happy when their household revolves around a predictable schedule. Giving them a set time for food, safe outdoor play, interactive play, grooming, and petting will go a long way toward maintaining their well-being and giving you a good night’s sleep, every night.

Also, since cats are such “creatures of the night,” it’s better to re-adjust her schedule by playing with her about 15 minutes before bed. The interactive play will make you both feel like sleeping when you are through!

A few years ago, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study where they found that over half of their sleep clinic patients complained of pet-related sleep disturbances. If you are one of them, you might want to also try these strategies:

• Give her a bed of her own. Give her a comfortable bed in a spare room, corner of the living room (with a screen for privacy), or even a bathroom. If necessary, rub a bit of catnip on the bed initially, to encourage her to use it.
• Close the bedroom door. A determined cat might scratch at the door for awhile, but she will eventually give up and either go to sleep or find some other activity.
• Turn on noise-cancelling machines. Set your sound machine on your night stand to ocean/waterfall sounds, or just “white noise” to mask your feline’s meows.Or consider wearing earplugs at bedtime.

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