How many of us woke up with a paw in the face this morning? I would guess quite a few readers are dealing with this issue. Or perhaps you conceded to feed your cat at 4 am and crawl back into bed. To add insult to injury, once you’re up and all your cats’ needs are met, they go back to sleep for the day. Why, oh why!—do our cats do this to us? Are they just mean spirited? The answer, thankfully, is no. They are just crepuscular.
“Cree-what?” you say? Crepuscular /krəˈpəskyələr/ animals are primarily active during sunrise and sunset. This has served your cat biologically as those are the best times for hunting their prey while avoiding their own predators. If the early bird gets the worm, then the early cat gets the bird.
The bad news is, your cat will be crepuscular no matter what. We can’t change genetics. The good news is, we can minimize this behavior. The even better news is, it doesn’t involve a spray bottle!
When you work with Best Behavior, we can:
1. Work with your cat’s daily cycles to get the hunting energy out, especially at sunset when you’re awake.
2. Ignore the unwanted behavior so it is no longer reinforced. This will not be an overnight solution. You can’t demand that your cat who got breakfast at 4 am today has to wait until 9 am for now on. But if you’re willing to put in the time, we can work your cat to a compromise time.
3. Arrange your home so your cat has something to do until you get up. When feeding in the morning doesn’t work, it often means that you waking up is the highlight of your cat’s entire day. We need to get some more enrichment in there so they are a teensy bit less clingy.
While all cats are crepuscular, every cat is different. Best Behavior tailors each behavior plan to the cat and the person using functional assessment and intervention design.