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cat circadian rhythm

While there is some discussion as to whether cats are truly nocturnal or crepuscular, not many cat owners will disagree with the fact that cats are often up when their tired owner is trying to get some zzz’s.  But don’t despair.  There are ways to help your kitty sleep when you sleep.

It may be somewhat idiosyncratic on the part of your cat, but kitty often gets frisky at night, just when you are trying to wind down and go to bed. But research published by the National Institute Of Health shows that your cat’s circadian rhythm can be adjusted to be more in line with yours.

According to an article by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, published last year on PetMD, cat lovers can gently adjust the natural circadian rhythm of their cat by paying attention to biological cues and adjusting your cat’s routine to favor night-time rest.

Research suggests that most cats kept on a more diurnal schedule eventually adjust sleep habits to coincide with their humans. In fact, Dr. Coates says, keeping your cat outside at night may be the last thing you want to do if your cat is keeping you awake at night.  Putting your cat outside after dark will only reinforce kitty’s behavior, not help her make the change to resting at night when you are asleep.

How To Adjust A Cat’s Circadian Rhythm

 A full cat is a sleepy cat!

Feed your cat his largest meal right before bedtime.  This will keep hunger at bay and help your cat transition into grooming and sleep more easily.

Make time for playtime.

Increasing your cat’s daytime activity level will help her be calmer in the evening.  Cats, like all of us, need stimulation and activity.  So make time for an early evening play session.  Especially if your furry friend is over-active in the evening, begin play about 2 hours before bedtime.  Include all the things your cat loves like, stalking, running, pouncing, catching and eating.  You might consider having your cat eat her evening meal immediately after the play session.  Be consistent and this routine can help your cat transition into sleep mode.

Supplement with melatonin if necessary.

According to the Ann Arbor News, for cats that have difficulty sleeping at night, melatonin can help. You can ask your vet about the proper dosage. But you might also consider switching to biologically-corrected LED light bulbs during the evening hours. Research shows that CFL bulbs produce Blue Light, which can interrupt circadian rhythm in humans and animals by suppressing the production of melatonin. Switching to non-blue lights, like the Good Night Light from Definity Digital for several hours before bed can help your cat produce his own natural melatonin, which can help him sleep at night.

 Know when to seek medical advice.

If you notice changes in your cat’s behavior, it’s best to get expert advice from your vet.  Behavioral changes can signify medical problems that need to be addressed.

Sebrina Smith

Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.

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