How Does Your Cat Wake You up?

Cats like to wake us up in the morning for breakfast. I suppose a cat wakes up earlier than us; it seems that way anyway. It is probably because they are crepuscular and like to be active at dawn and dusk. So your cat wants to wake you up at about 4 am. How does she do it? There are numerous imaginative ways to achieve this objective. Cats use their techniques intelligently.

Often, some form of physical contact is required as is shown by this bicolor cat in the video below.

My former cat used to do the same thing. However, often it would not work as I refused to respond whereupon she would extend the claw of the middle toe offer are left forepaw and gently nick the skin of my hand with it. A highly effective technique! It was certain to work.

On other occasions, she might walk along my chest and then leaning carefully forward she would nibble my nose. Yes, another highly effective technique to wake me up.

Sometimes cats use less imaginative techniques but achieve results through sheer persistence. What about jumping up onto the bed and while staying at the end of the bed simply meowing persistently until something happens? Some cats will do this at a distance, perhaps in the hall or in another room but it is the persistence of it that wins through in the end.

A refinement on making physical contact and simply shouting at you is to do something which irritates you. I believe that a cat can learn what irritates you and then do it to make you respond which in turn get you out of bed.

So, for example, your cat may know that you don’t like it when she knocks something onto the floor from a bedside table or perhaps plays with a computer cable which is attached to your computer on your bed. He or she will do one of these things and invariably you wake-up and ask her to stop at which point you are then interacting with her and awake enough to get up and give her breakfast.

What sort of techniques to your cat employee to wake you up in the morning?

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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25 Responses

  1. Leah says:

    I have to admit I have 3 cats but they don’t really try to wake us up however if we do wake up they ensure that we don’t go back to sleep! MC Ozzie will sit on the bedside table meowling and Alfie will pace up and down the bed. Often when I open my eyes naturally Alfie shocks me into being wide awake in a split second by being about a centimetre from my face looking at me as if to say ‘ah good you’re awake – about time’

  2. Sylvia Ann says:

    Crikey, DW! You’re right, of course! At least I more or less remember Yoko Ono’s name! Was never crazy about them ‘back then’ but Paul McCartney has mellowed: his singing is extraordinarily pleasant, at least to my eardrums. Don’t know what happened to Ringo, or if he’s still recording, but Paul apparently composed a symphony in the classical style several years back. Interesting guy…guess his young wives have kept him equally young, except for his voice – that is – which has faded in a beautiful way…sorta like a Matthew Brady sepia-tinted photogravure, or a pressed flower in a century-old family album.

  3. Sylvia Ann says:

    Howdy, pal Ruthie — I laughed at your description. Such a dear little Wee it is. Pet them both whilst you have them.

    I have a couple of e-mails from you. Checked this morning, and my $640.00 brand-new machine actually let me onto the e-mail screen, but not into any of the documents, of course. Unreasonable of me to have hoped that it would. Must learn to be grateful for what I have here. Will try to wamble up the road to the library tomorrow – though we’ve had a cloudburst for days. We broke a 30-year heat record last week, and I nearly keeled over. Can’t take the heat since moving down here, and have learned to love the rain.

    Ruthie — this is off the subject for a cat website, but did you say once you listen to the radio now and again? Have you heard Sir Paul McCartney? He’s been recording a heck of a lot lately. Yes – I prefer Bach & Rach(maninoff)…and yet…HE IS NOT HALF BAD! His voice is enfeebled and epicene, but surprisingly endearing. The guy is ear-candy! I still remember Ringo’s assassination. I was sipping a glass of H.B.C. in a nightspot with this harmless old swain, when the bartender announced Starr’s death.

  4. Sylvia Ann says:

    My cats never slept in my bed. Neither did I ever read library books in bed. Was never into digital flesh-pressing strangers in churches where it was a tradition. Have never strolled around the house barefoot then climbed into bed. While my cats were dainty and immaculate, they lolled on the rugs.

    Public sidewalks are plastered with gobs of spittle and worse, wads of chewing gum, MRSA microbes (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), antibiotic-resistant, resurgent TB, every variety of STD, whiskered rotifers (albeit lifeless) that infested the puddles in parking lots, vermiform microorganisms of every description. Oy gevalt. My old-country Japanese friends had the right idea: they removed their shoes on the porch and wore sandals indoors.

    My cats were devotedly cherished in their lifetimes and mourned every day since their death, but slept upstairs in their own bedrooms amongst an array of snuggy-loos, pillows, afghans, blankets, toys and saucers of multi-flavored cat food – canned and fresh – to sustain them during the night.

    And every morning, they beat on my door at 6:30 a.m.

  5. kylee says:

    well….. usually they meow loudly or scratch at the hallway door, or come around to my bedroom window outside and meow and moan really loudly!!! till i have to give up. As my cats are indoor and outdoor cats well at least 4 of them. With jasmin being too young still i lock the cat door at night which she hates but its to protect her as dont want her going outside a night. She wakes me up by giving me a paw in the face on my eye or she cuddles up and licks or she play fights.

    • It seems that your cats employ the usual techniques. Persistence and if needed physical contact. I am always impressed by a cat’s persistence. I learnt from that 😉

      • kylee says:

        yea they learnt very well. Like if they cant get an answer from me from the kitchen area they try the other way i.e the bedroom window. when i know i have get up, as the meow is more should i say urgent!.

  6. DW says:

    Bigfoot wakes me up a minimum of four times a night. Usually by crawling over my body. He weighs less the 8 pounds now, but still, depending where those big feet land, it is a rude awakening. He usually just wants to be pet. So I do. We get into our cuddle position, and I usually drift off again. Then I get the head bump “don’t stop! don’t stop!” He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…etc.

    • Bigfoot wakes me up a minimum of four times a night.

      Help…..! How do you cope with that? God, though, he is gorgeous. Such a beautiful relationship you have with him. Very tender. Your comment is very descriptive.

  7. Dee (Florida) says:

    I’m always up before anyone here. I don’t think I’ve been awakened by a cat in a very, very long time. Can’t remember.
    But, my awakening sets off a series of events. It always amazes me that cats can become fully awake in an instant and I am groggy and groping for coffee.

  8. Riverside Robyn says:

    Mine prefer walking over my head and then laying on my chest. That is why I do not sleep with my cats overnight. Naps with them during the day are fine–I don’t mind if they wake me, because if they don’t, then I will sleep too long.

  9. Eva D.R.Force says:

    -First one our bed every morning is our multicolored main coon-ZOE * She leaps up onto the edge [ my side] & slowly walks towards me intent on being quite until she can see my eyes open! Then comes the tiniest of meows & a lay down at my feet-waiting-
    When I finally do get up-she comes to life pouncing & her MEOW’s become much LOUDER* Cute-
    -Our Four Maine Coons Motto: Night whisper’s [very considerate well mannered & respectable*ps-If I am ill one or two will lay vigil at my side until I recover*

  10. Barbara says:

    Folks just NEVER let your cat see how Simon’s cat wakes him up

  11. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Jozef knows exactly how to get me up early when it’s my turn! He walks up me digging his feet in and drags the cover off my head and shouts MEOW. Then he jumps off the bed and back on. Sometimes I pretend to be asleep so then he does his ‘pogo stick’ up the bed and then goes round and round like a spinning top, by which time I’m wide awake and helpless with laughing.
    His party piece is once he’s got me up he runs to the top of the stairs and waits to be ‘an old lady’s trap’ running down in front of me all the way and stopping at the bottom.
    If it’s Babz turn to be the first up he jumps on her bed and gets Walter to help, he always knows whose day it is!

    • Jozef is very determined and what he does is guaranteed to be successful 😉 Amazing.

    • DW says:

      Don’t you love how they keep track? Nothing dumb about thoze boyze.

    • kylee says:

      Rebel does this thing where he complains most of the time jumps up on duchess and if i still havent answered will scratch on wall. Then once im up he will make sure im coming like half way down the hall way. he always makes sure im coming a purrs over me on my legs

  12. My tomcat “Matata” is the non-human delinquent child of the house, a total nuisance as far as “Cat Behaviour” is concerned. He had this tendency of “Yowling” at unearthly hours of the night which he has reduced since the time i kept him in a separate room in the house.Every morning at approx 0430 to 0500 hrs he comes into the bedroom and “Yowls”.He is lucky to be born in India and owned by a bachelor who treats him like animal royalty. If in Europe or America he would have been dumped at a “CAT SHELTER” and “euthanized” as a “Problem Cat”.Imagine the entire family of a house-hold being woken up every night due to cat yowling! As for my other cat “Matahari”,she is a absolute copy-book picture of lazy cat behaviour who loves sleeping throughout the day and night.She is only active during feeding hours and absolutely quite, no disturbance to the house unlike tomcat Matata.One charming personality of tomcat Matata is his loving nature, almost childish as he considers us humans his parents, the ultimate ‘SPOILT CHILD” of the house.In this classic candid photo both the cats are seen on the table having their cat siesta.

    • He is lucky to be born in India and owned by a bachelor who treats him like animal royalty

      This made me laugh. He is lucky. Can the neighbours hear him? I like your description of them both and Matata being a spoilt child. Who spoilt him? 😉 You are like me. I spoil Charlie. You always pay a price for that!

    • kylee says:

      they are beautiful cats ur so lucky to have such lovely pets.

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