russian blue cat sitting on bed


Ahhh … nothing like peacefully drifting off after a long day. You’re having the most wonderful dream when — WHAP! — your cat starts tapping your forehead with their paw at four in the morning, wondering if you’d be a dear and fetch them some fresh SHEBA® meals. For a creature that sleeps 16 hours a day, why do cats insist on being awake when you want to get some rest? Even more important, how can you persuade them to let you sleep? Let’s investigate, shall we?

sketch of cat in the night

The night belongs to cats

Why are cats up all night? Is that when the clubs are open? Or when secret cat TV shows are on? Actually, it’s because cats are crepuscular creatures, which is a fancy way of saying they’re more active during the evening and at night. It’s been part of their ancestral instincts since day one and always will be.

You can’t fight Mother Nature on this one, but you can redirect your cat’s instincts to reduce the number of late-night raves on your bed.

How to prevent 4 a.M. Wakeup calls

Set up a pre-bedtime ritual

Cats are creatures of habit and love a routine that makes them feel loved. By setting up a pre-sleep routine that includes a nutritious meal, playtime and a few quality cuddles, you can help minimize the chance of them disturbing your dreams.

sketch of cat with two plates of food

Split dinnertime into two courses

Serve a small meal earlier in the evening and another just before you turn in — SHEBA® PERFECT PORTIONS™ packs are ideal for this! Serving dinner in two parts will keep your cat from bugging you in the wee hours of the morning. Plus, they’re more likely to be all “I’m so full. I’m just going to lie here on my sofa and catch up on my beauty sleep.” Using a food dispenser with a timer may also prove wise — it’s the cat version of the early-morning breakfast diner.

sketch of cat playing in the night

Schedule a playdate an hour before bedtime

Your feline has patiently waited all day while you were out, just so you could have the pleasure of playing with them. Play sessions at dusk or twilight, when cats are instinctually more active, are a great way to bond and use up their excess energy, so they’ll be more inclined to let you sleep in.

sketch of cat laying down in front of cat toys

Provide quieter toys

Put out fabric-covered, plush or less noisy toys before bedtime. Otherwise you might wake up to the sounds of their favorite sparkly jingle ball being batted up and down the hallway.

sketch of cat walking past bedroom door

Keep your bedroom door closed

Kitty might be displeased at first, but they’ll eventually get the idea and realize the rest of the house is theirs. Which they usually assume anyway.

sketch of cat sleeping on floor with litter box next to him

Make sure their litter box is clean and bedding is accessible

If they don’t have a clean bathroom or a comfortable place to sleep, they’ll want to speak with the manager. (That’s you.)

sketch of cat wearing glasses with cell phone

Turn off your cat’s cellphone

You don’t want them texting friends or uploading lip-sync videos to social media while you’re trying to get some shut eye. Just kidding — but it’s fun to imagine.

Here's to you and your cat getting more quality sleep.

Sweet dreams, darlings.

Oh, and if you both want a good bedtime story, we suggest checking out this video. Should your cat wake you up in the wee hours, you can listen to "The 4AM Stories Podcast," designed to help you get back to sleep. If you're still awake, come share your 4 a.m. Stories on Instagram with the hashtag #4AMStories.