Seeing your whiskered friend arrive in your bedroom each morning to kiss and cuddle with you can be heartwarming. Yes – as well as being generally adorable, cats can also be extremely loving toward their humans. As a cat owner, you will be endlessly entertained not only by your pet’s intelligence and interesting behaviors, but also by his affectionate nature.
If you have been living with a cat for a long time, you will already be accustomed to this morning routine. Your feline comes to wake you up and will not stop until you give him your full attention. The reason cats are so affectionate in the morning can vary. It could be due to boredom, or perhaps they just want cuddles and company after a long night with no interaction.
Let’s dive into these details one by one.
Reasons cats are so affectionate in the morning
Waking you up early in the morning is just one of your cat’s many quirky habits. He will come to your bed to lie on you, snuggle with you, or give you kisses. Some insistent cats will even paw their owner’s face until they get the attention they want.
It can be endlessly entertaining to watch these cuddly creatures showing their affection while we sleep. But why do cats wake us up with kisses and purrs? Here are some of the reasons:
1. It is simply a morning habit
Cats can be extra affectionate in the early morning if they are conditioned to receive cuddles at this time. It could also be due to being deprived of attention for all the hours that you have been asleep throughout the night. If this sounds like your cat, then you are likely used to the kisses, purring, pawing, and headbutting in the morning. Some cats can also be a personal alarm clock as they wake you up by meowing loudly and pawing at your face.
2. He craves your attention
Cats can miss your attention while you sleep, as they are innately active in the early hours and in the morning. Our attention-seeking furballs naturally expect their owners to be attentive to their needs during their most active hours.
3. He is bored
Most mammals enjoy consistent interaction with other creatures, and your cat looks to his human owner for this interaction. So, if you have been slumbering away for several hours and your cat has nothing else to do in the house, he may become bored and wake you up to seek stimulation.
4. He is checking on you
Have you ever felt like your furry friend is checking whether you are breathing while you sleep? Although it can be a little spooky, your cat may simply be worried about you. Since you have been motionless the entire night, he might sneak up to see if you are still alive by stretching out his paw and gently patting you on the face.
5. He wants food
Cats are intelligent creatures and learn from experience. If your cat has woken you in the past with a paw on your face, and you have responded by feeding or giving him attention, he will remember this response. The next time he is hungry while you are sleeping, he will paw at you again and, the moment you get up, will likely run to his food bowl and wait. If you do not get up, he will continue to stare at you or paw you until he achieves his goal.
6. He wants to go out
There are some cats that wake their owners at the same time every morning so that they can go outside. This behavior might leave you wondering – how does your cat figure out the time so accurately?
Cats are masters at training their humans to do their bidding. And, being creatures of routine, they know when the time has arrived for a meal, or for their owner to come home, or to go out in the morning for a hunting escapade. In the case of the latter, they will then come to you, purr and nudge you, and you will get up to open the door.
It seems cute, but unfortunately your cat has outsmarted you!
Tips to stop your cat from waking you
Although having a furry alarm clock in the morning can be convenient, there are times when getting up earlier than planned is really not ideal.
Your cat, of course, will never understand that his alarm clock imitation is not always endearing. If he wakes you up too early every day to ask for attention, something must be done to break the routine. Here’s how:
1. Ignore him
If your cat tries to wake you and you do not get up, he might simply leave you alone or go to sleep next to you. Some cats can be more insistent, however, and will not stop pawing your face until you give in to what they want. Stand strong and ignore this, and over time your furry companion will understand that his efforts are not working.
2. Use an automatic food dispenser
Cats will gladly interrupt your sleep if they want breakfast. You can either ignore these demands or invest in an automatic food dispenser. These timed feeders are convenient to ensure that your pet receives food at a designated time. Additionally, if you are a busy fur-parent, having a timed dispenser will ensure your cat gets his meals on time if you are away from the house.
3. Give in, but just a little
If your cat is insistent and keeps bugging you, give just a few scratches and cuddles and then go back to sleep. Your happy kitty might then leave you alone, or lie contentedly next to you.
4. Let your cat sleep in another room
If you are sleep-deprived, it may be better for your furry companion not to sleep in your room. Rather allow him to sleep in a spare room or in the living room. Provide a comfy bed, a litter box, and water to keep him from interrupting your sleep.
However, if your cat is already used to coming into your room every morning, he will probably try to open your bedroom door by scratching or meowing. Due to their territorial nature, cats hate closed doors, especially if they know that you are on the other side.
In this case, the best thing you can do is try to train your cat out of this unwanted behavior. You can teach him commands like ‘no’ and associate this with stopping whatever he is doing. However, this could be a long process and will require patience on your part.
5. Set a fixed schedule
Cats love routine, and nothing makes them happier than when your household activities proceed in a predictable manner. That means you should set a fixed schedule for playtime, cuddles, exercise, meal time, grooming, and sleep. Providing your cat’s basic needs on a regular, fixed schedule will help keep him from disturbing your sleep.
Wrapping it up
Cats can be affectionate in the morning for a number of reasons. But one thing is for sure – if your cat comes to cuddle and lie with you, it means he trusts and loves his human. Take advantage of these precious moments to bond with your feline friend!
However, if your cat makes a habit of waking you up earlier than you like and this is interrupting your sleep, you need to do something to correct the behavior.
If the behaviour is not habitual and your cat is suddenly trying to get your attention throughout the day, it could be that an underlying health issue is bothering him. In that case, look out for other symptoms such as lethargy and lack of appetite, as these are sure signs that a visit to your veterinarian is required.
Image: istockphoto.com / Irina Belova