Train Your Cat to Let You Sleep

Jackson, I haven’t slept in three days. My cat keeps me up all night long. I’m gonna kill her. No, I’m not gonna kill her, but Jackson, you gotta tell me. I’m gonna kill myself here. Tell me, how do I sleep through the night? And I say, oh, that one? That’s easy.
So let me ask you something, people. You ready to get cat-ified? Let’s go! As you have noticed I’m sure, this is not exactly the cat cave. It is a cave. It’s a little echoey in here. But no, I am in a hotel room in San Diego, California, where we are wrapping up filming the season of “My Cat from Hell” season five, premiering– coming up in the spring.
Do stay tuned because you’ll find out everything you have to know about the premier of “My Cat from Hell” here, on the Cat Daddy channel. Just, you know, stay tuned.
So today we’re talking about what? Your cat allowing you to sleep through the night. Now, the last episode I was talking about the concept of circadian rhythms, a cat’s 24 hour clock, and how naturally it wants to get them up at dusk and dawn. We can help guide their circadian rhythm. We can reset their body clocks.
But there’s a couple of really important things. Now when last we met I also gave you homework, and that homework was about making sure that you established a daily rhythm, that you establish rituals that happen throughout the day that helps keep their body going.
And the one thing that is most important to what we’re going to do right now is they’re feeding schedule. Remember something, if you allow your cats to graze all day long, if you allow them to eat whenever they want to eat, then not only do you not have a chance of affecting their behavior even a little bit, but you’re not allowing their body to process food in the natural way. They’re constantly in this arc of digestion.
And we don’t want that because then their energy is totally unpredictable to us. Here’s what I would ask you to do. If you free feed, make it stop. The next step is, you bring in meal time. Real big change in a cat’s life is not met with nice things. And you do not want to encourage bad behavior, and by making rapid changes like that, you kind of are.
We’ll keep the dry food out, but then every day you just put less and less in there. And by the end of that first week that, there is food down there, they don’t feel like they’re missing anything.
But by an hour after you leave for work, they’ve polished it off and now they’re waiting for a meal. Now here’s the rule of thumb. I would like to see no longer than between six and eight hours you can make it happen. So you’re feeding three meals a day and then your cat’s energy is coming up to meet those meal times.
And I guarantee you, within a week or two of instituting this meal time, your cat’s energy will come up to meet your schedules. Your second step is to try to get them to go to sleep when you do. Let’s say your bed time is 11 o’clock. OK. So by 9:30 you should be feeding your last meal. But you don’t want to do that in a vacuum. In the past– you know me– we have been talking about hunt, catch, kill, eat.
Right? And so that means playtime. That means you have a really nice, chunky play time right before that last meal. You bring them to a boil during play time. You get them just pooped out. Then you let them come down for a second. Again, all cats have the second wind, the third wind. Cats are built for speed, not for distance.
So bring them to a boil, let them come down. Bring them to a boil, now it’s going to take less time for them to get worn out. Now less time, now they’re tired, right? When they pooped out, boom. Now, hunt, catch, kill, eat. Feed their last meal of the day. What comes after eat?
Groom. Yeah, baby. We’re all about getting clean right now. And then sleep. And then you go to sleep. Now we’re getting to the hard part. Because now you’ve got to do some serious work. So now it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, and your cat is waking you up. But you know, I gave you a meal at 11 o’clock. I wore you down at 9:30. You should be down for the count right now, but you’re not.
Now here’s the tough part. I mean, I’m laughing only because I know how ridiculously hard this is. What you’ve got to do at 3 o’clock in the morning, your cat’s driving you crazy. You ignore them. You ignore them completely. Completely. And you definitely don’t get up, feed them, walk around, go to the bathroom, come back again. You don’t play with them. Nothing. You ignore them completely.
Because that is payoff. Negative attention, positive attention, any attention whatsoever is still attention. You have to extinguish the payoff. If you tell them night after night after night that nothing’s going to happen when they do that certain behavior, that behavior will stop. So people, what that means is that for about 10 days to two weeks, it may be really, really long nights. Don’t kill me.
Now, if it goes past 13 nights? Whatever, come find me. Because I’m telling you, it won’t happen. In conclusion, let’s give you some homework. Take a look at that blackboard. Now, write it down here. First thing you do is change your cat from free-feeders to meal-feeders. Big change. Next thing you do is you feed in conjunction with play. Third thing, remember that your cat’s energy moves with your energy.
So remember that you’re trying to merge the two together. Your energy, your cat’s energy, your clock, your cat’s clock, merge them together. Then don’t forget, the last meal of the day an hour and a half before you go to bed. You’re going to hunt, catch, kill, eat, let them groom and sleep until you go to bed. Boom.
Then we get through the night. And then the last step, folks– the last, most important step is, ignore them. You guys can do this. You can affect your cat’s body clock, and that’s how you do it. That’s how you sleep through the night. Boom. Consider yourself cat-ified.
Alright. Let’s wrap this up. Hey folks, if you’re trying to find me, I’m easily found. Take a look at Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and YouTube and Google+. And don’t forget, speaking of Google+, every month we do Live from the Cat Cave. And that is a live Google Hangout.
This month I’m just going to be doing live question and answer. That will be a lot of fun. In the meantime, folks, take care of yourself. Take care of your cats. And all light, all love, all mojo to you. THEME SONG: You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m not a bad cat. You’re a bad cat. I’m just misunderstood. Meow.