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Picture this: you’re settling in to bed after a long day. The cat is curled up at your feet and you can’t wait to catch up on some sleep. You dose off — only to be awoken in the middle of the night to loud meowing. Your cat sounds distressed and anxious as he paces about the room. You throw a pillow over your head, but your furry companion’s sounds can still be heard. Sound familiar?

This behavior, while common, can be disruptive and, we’ll admit, very annoying. Cats are nocturnal animals, which means (unfortunately) that they’re somewhat hardwired to stir come nightfall. Still, there are a few ways to make it bearable…

Stimulation. Keep your cat more active during the day. Better yet: engage your cat in a game of play in the late afternoon or evening, so that his hunting instincts can be satisfied (and it will tire him out a little!). One tip: including some cuddle time towards the end!

Ignore the behavior. Attention seeking kitties may be simply bored and looking for some entertainment. If they’ve gotten a reaction out of you in the past, it could be that your four-legged friend is somewhat conditioned to nighttime meowing or “night calling,” as it’s often called. Completely ignoring him can be hard, but in time, he’ll start to get the picture. Consistency is key!

Push back dinnertime. Full cats are known to sleep better. We suggest dividing Shadow’s meal into two — that way, he can have a snack right before bed and sleep on a satisfied tummy.

Let them know they aren’t alone. Sometimes, cats can start meowing if they feel they’re alone in the house, especially if they don’t sleep with you. It’s their way of asking, “anyone there?” One solution is to put their bed or post in your room.

A note on older cats: excessive meowing from senior cats can be a sign of hearing loss. As always, we recommend a trip to the veterinarian.

Good luck, and be patient! With time it will get better.