It’s all well and good for you to decide that your cat isn’t allowed in the bedroom anymore. Getting kitty to sign off on this deal, though, can be a challenge. I know our cat Sandy wasn’t on board when we started closing our bedroom door at night. She’d wake us up at least once a night with an annoying banshee wail. The little furball was actually clever enough to put her mouth right underneath the door to maximize the volume as well – unbelievable.
We’ve managed to get this problem under control now. It took a bit of time and a bit of patience but wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. Our cat hasn’t cried at night for almost a year now! We did it and so can you. Here’s how:
Get your cat her own “night-time” bed.
I’m sure most domestic kitties have a bed they call their own (or 2, 3, 4, or 5!). Sandy is no different. The one key thing we did though was designate one of her beds a “night-time” bed. If your cat is anything like ours, she probably has one bed she prefers to sleep in at night. We started putting this bed out of reach during the day. Specifically, we place it in the linen closet outside our bedroom. Occasionally during the day, Sandy looks inquisitively at the linen closet door but for the most part I don’t think she misses this bed during the day. The best part is that when we pull out this special bed at night and place it on the floor, she dives in and closes her eyes!
I think this serves as a trigger to let Sandy know it’s night now – and time to sleep.
Play with your cat before bed.
Build some playtime into your evening routine. For us, it’s typically after dinner around 8 O’ Clock. Allow time for a “cool down” period when determining the best time to play. If the session ends immediately before bedtime, your cat may still be wired. You want her to exert energy and then naturally settle down before heading upstairs to the bedroom.
The benefits of this practice are two-fold. First and foremost, we wear the cat down physically and mentally. This obviously results in a deeper, longer sleep for your little buddy. It’s also serves to instil a routine though. The more consistently you practice this, the more your cat understands that sleep time comes after play time.
There are a ton of ways to play with your cat. I wrote about the best cat toy ever if you’re interested 🙂
Spend some time with your cat before you close the bedroom door.
After you make the “night-time” bed available, spend a couple with your cat while she settles in for the night. Pet her. Scratch her behind the ears. Tell her she rules. You know how it goes… These moments will go a long way to ensuring a quiet, peaceful night for all members of the household.
Make the bedroom off-limits.
This means all the time – 24/7. You’re asking for trouble if you let your cat into the bedroom during the day then lock her our at night. Cats (and animals in general) don’t do grey area. They like hard lines drawn in the sand. Sandy knows this hard line exists now to the point where she won’t come into the bedroom even if the door is open. She’ll actually stop right where the door would be were it closed and just look inside.
Deter the cat from entering by other means.
If you’ve committed to all the methods above, chances are your cat isn’t crying at night like she was before. In some cases, though, more direct actions may be required to keep your kitty quiet.
We used a spray bottle in the early stages to really hammer home what we didn’t want from Sandy. This isn’t as straightforward as people think and I’m thankful we didn’t have to go down this road too often. The challenge with spraying your cat has to do with what she associates the water with. If she thinks it’s you that’s spraying her, she’s going to start disliking you! She needs to believe that her crying at night is causing this annoying spray and has nothing to do with you. Initially, my wife wanted to set up a complex booby-trap that would’ve seen her get sprayed if she came to close to the bedroom door. In the end, though, it was far easier to just spray her through the small joint between floor and bottom of door when she cried.
These simple tips helped us make our home a quieter, more peaceful one at night.
How do you keep your kitty quiet at night? I’d love to hear from you!