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Nighttime Crazies? How To Take Your “Catten” From Wild To Mild

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Noodles gets the “crazies,” the zooms-at-three-a.m. stuff. Dusk and dawn are favorite times, when the predator is on alert. She thunders up and down stairs, races down halls, or gnaws on your head, on your nose, on toes. She’s after prey, whether imaginary or just you. Cattens also knock things over, for the fun of it, and because they’re a little clumsy still–with all that energy, those legs, that speed, their coordination’s not perfect yet.

The good news for you is that cattens respond to structure and learn patterns. Here are some tips to help both of you through this stage with the least amount of stress for all.

At bedtime, wear her out before you turn in. That doesn’t mean playing with Noodles until she pants; just until she’s tired and either lies down or walks away.

After play, give your catten a good snack. You’re imitating what cats do naturally: they hunt, then they feed. He’ll groom, which is calming, then sleep.

A final meal of the day won’t ensure that Noodles sleeps through the night, but it may well add a few hours to his doze. An auto-feeder for through-the-night feeds may help, but if feeding wet food, be sure to scrub the feeder with hot, soapy water every morning, and fill it the last thing before retiring.

Finally, ignore antsy behavior. It’ll get worse before it gets better, but after a while, your catten will get the message; if there is no response, there’s no point in continuing the annoyance.

Sweet dreams.

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

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