Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Can Animals Get Insomnia? Foiling Furry Insomnia

by | Aug 3, 2012 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 10 comments

Can animals get insomnia? Maybe you also need tips for foiling furry insomnia with your pets won’t sleep.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep, suffering from insomnia. So I got up, climbed the stairs to my office, and worked on the piano score of KURVES, in preparation to share with other theaters (yee-haw!). While I typed, Seren kept me company and decided it was the purr-fect time to play. She woke up Magic, who had been snoozing at the foot of the stairs. So even once I was ready to sleep, the “fur-kids” had lost the urge.

Cats normally sleep up to 16 hours a day and almost never have problems sleeping. Dogs rarely have trouble sleeping, either. They get plenty of naps while you’re at work. They have plenty of energy to stay awake at night to guard the house, play, and pester snoozing owners.

In a house with both cats and dogs, the pets may keep each other awake playing throughout the night. Cats are most active at dawn and dusk when mice would be foraging. Nocturnal antics are most common in kittens and usually decrease when the cat reaches 12 to 18 months of age.

When you must arise for work early each morning, midnight games stealing sleep won’t thrill you. There are several methods you can use to prompt pets to sleep on your timetable. Here are some tips that work for Magical-Dawg and Seren-kitty.

Bedtime Tips for Your Insomnia Pet

  • Schedule playtime a half hour before bedtime, and wear out your pets so they’ll crash when you do. Chasing the ball for dogs, or a flashlight beam for cats works well. Magic loves to play hose-tag during these hot steamy days, and Seren adores chasing Da Bird fishing pole toy.
  • You can also provide a late night meal to keep pets from pestering you at 3 a.m. to fill the bowl. That helps with cats especially. Seren will be quick to complain if her bowl falls empty.
  • Slow, calm, instrumental music can soothe and help lullaby pets to sleep. It works for people, too. Learn more about music and pets here. Actually, slow calm music works well for me, too. I reserve The Chieftains rollicking music for when I need energy, and play my cello CD’s to help me concentrate or snooze.
  • The timekeeper hormone melatonin tells us when to sleep and when to wake up and has been used in people to treat jet lag and sleep disorders. Some veterinarians recommend using it to help pets sleep, too. Melatonin is available at health food stores (not quite as tasty), but you’ll need to ask your vet for the proper dosage.
  • Milk contains the chemical tryptophan that helps promote sleep. A quarter cup of warm milk as a bedtime snack may help pets snooze more readily. However, some dogs and cats don’t digest milk easily so nix the snack if diarrhea develops. The fur-kids are quick to point out that tryptophan is also found in turkey.

Do your pets never hit the snooze button when you need your beauty rest? How do you deal with the late night high jinx? Please share suggestions. I may need to invest in earplugs.

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

10 Comments

  1. ExclusivelyCats

    Must admit my gang has always been good about sleeping through the night (wish I was that good). I think the nighttime snack is key, between 9 and 10 here. If she’s chilly, Tekla will hop up on the nightstand and want to dive under the covers. Mollie will come to visit if she hears us during the night, and Pully, the orange alarm clock, lets me know when it’s 7 a.m.

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Hi Sally, it doesn’t happen often with Seren. But once she gets wound up, look out! I do think she’s losing some hearing, because her sweet voice has become more strident especially at night. She never has had that distinctive Siamese yowl, but it’s getting growly the older she gets. Holy cats, she’s 15!

      Reply
    • amyshojai

      Seren will tell us, night or day, when she sees the bottom of her food bowl. She does not like a “happy plate” LOL!

      Reply
  2. Brenda

    I thought I had the answer but that was last week.
    Mostly Oscar isn’t disturbing us if he is well fed and has plenty of food in his dish and confidence it will be filled again when he is ready. He comes and says “good night” and isn’t heard from again unless/until he runs out of food or has some other issue. This training took awhile though. We keep him pretty busy from late evening right up until bedtime.

    I would advocate AGAINST melatonin for pets or humans. U.S. supplements are not regulated properly and there were some horrific tales one Dateline (or one of those news shows) some years back about deaths and serious liver (I believe it was liver) problems from some. Lead is also often in supplements. (There is a great book on the topic, but the title has momentarily left my head.)

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Hi Brenda, Your caution is right on target. It’s true that supplements aren’t regulated as well as prescription drugs–but then, prescription drugs get recalled and have overdose issues as well. It’s important to remember that “natural” does not equal “safe.”

      Poisonous mushrooms and a snake’s bite are both natural, after all. 🙂 This is why I always recommend veterinary advice with such things. There are studies available in the literature that often vets have access to that laypeople don’t, so they’re in the best position to advocate for our individual pets. Thanks for the comment and caution!

      Reply
  3. Marcia

    This info helps, Amy. My cat doesn’t have a problem sleeping but I’m considering bringing home a kitten from a litter my daughter’s cat had. He may keep me up at night.
    The next to last one born had some issues. He’s 8 weeks old now and not as well developed as his 1st and 2nd born sisters. He had trouble holding his head up until a week or so ago. He’s still not very coordinated but does play with the other kittens and seems to be getting enough to eat. They are just getting switched over to food and a litter box. so I’ll wait until that routine is established, but I worry about his mental state. My daughter affectionately calls him Dumbo because he’s not as ‘with it’ as his sibs. Have you seen this before and do you think it’s something he’ll outgrow?

    Reply
    • amyshojai

      Breeders tell me they see this pretty often. Sometimes the kitten finally catches up with the siblings. Remember that during a breeding, conception can take place over a period of a couple of days, but usually ALL the kittens are born at the same time. So it’s not unusual for some variation in development. My guess is that by the time they’re weaned, all the kittens will be closer in development.

      And yes, there are differences in mental acuity and physical dexterity between kittens within the same litter, just as there might be differences between human siblings. In my experience the very smart kitties (and dogs, too!) can be more of a challenge because they seem to question and find their own ways of doing this. Even if a kitten isn’t the sharpest pencil in the box they can be very sweet, and make wonderful companions.

      Reply
      • Marcia

        Thanks so much, Amy! That makes me feel a lot better about his growth. My daughter just told me he had no problem with litter ‘training’ and switching to kitten food. He’s mostly Maine Coon and part domestic short hair. He’s grey and gold with blue eyes. Very pretty and very sweet.

        Reply
        • amyshojai

          Awww, that’s good news! He sounds lovely. When you get him, I hope you’ll share SQUEEEE! kitten pictures.

          Reply
          • Marcia

            I definitely will!

Leave a Reply

Categories:

Recent Posts

Fear of Fireworks & Thunder? How to Calm Pet Noise Fears

Does your dog fear fireworks? What can you do for a cat or dog scared of fireworks? What about earplugs for dogs? Cats aren’t immune so New Year’s celebrations, Memorial Day (or graduation hijinks), July 4th fireworks, and thunderstorms can turn pets into shivery bundles of fur when BOOMS, bright lights, or even wind and rain noise fill the sky. Pets can be scared of all kinds of loud noises, and I get asked for advice all the time.

I share this information twice a year in time for July 4 fireworks, and the New Year fireworks. No matter the time of year, always pay attention to pet safety. . .

Cat Hairballs & Shedding: 7 Tips to Solve the Big Hairy Deal

Karma-Kat recently has “urped” up more cat hairballs, and I know why. I bet you didn’t know that in hot weather, cats lick and groom themselves to cool off. Of course, that can lead to more hairballs, so in hot weather or shedding season, you may see an uptick in these problems.

But swallowing lots of fur isn’t healthy, and hairballs are more than a nasty nuisance. Kitties that produce three or more hairballs a month should be checked by the vet to rule out other health issues.

Hairballs cause diarrhea, appetite loss, coughing, retching, constipation—or even deadly intestinal blockage. Cats have had hairballs as big as baseballs that require surgery to be removed! Most cases won’t need surgery, though, and most hairballs can be easily eliminated. Refer to these tips to untangle your cat hairballs problems.

Tips for Adopt A Cat Month: Shelter Cats Rock!

I see so many kitten pictures on social media these days. Every June, we celebrate National Adopt A Cat Month (sponsored by American Humane Association) and also National Adopt A Shelter Cat Month (sponsored by the ASPCA. Two holidays wrapped up in one, and how appropriate, since June is kitten season.

But cats can be adopted year around. Both of our cats came to us as “dumped” kitties, showing up on the back porch. When you adopt from a shelter, though, you have the advantage of planning for the new kitty’s arrival. Any time is a good time to bring a new furry wonder into your life. Whether you adopt a shelter cat, foster a kitten, or adopt a cat that shows up on the doorstep, they’re all worthy of love. Right? Here’s my tips guide for cat adoption…

Safe Hot Weather Games for Pets: Keep Cats & Dogs Cool in Hot Weather

Yikes! It’s hot-hot-hot here in Texas. We’ve hit triple digits already. Shadow-Pup is NOT happy. He misses his ZOOMIES in the back garden, but I’m afraid to let him overdo too much. It’s time for hot weather games for pets and keeping cats and dogs cool in hot weather. This year, I’ve invested in more indoor fun for Karma-Kat and Shadow-pup, some with the help of pet products companies sharing neato-torpedo products. Here are some of my favorite pet hot weather games, including Tearribles, Purrini, and LifePro Dog Treatmill (giving some schtuff away!).

What kind of cat toys float your kitty’s boat?  Do your pets enjoy water fountains? Would your hot dog relish a cooling bed, or a wading pool? I offer some more hot weather games and tips in the ASK AMY video, below.

And for a flash from the past, enjoy the Magical-Dawg video of some water fun. I need to get that doggy tub out this year and see if Shadow might indulge.

How do your dogs deal with the weather? Please share your tips for keeping hot dogs cool customers!

Fearful Fido? Know the Signs of Dog Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (FAS)

June is Pet Anxiety Awareness Month. Do you have a fearful Fido? Do you need help with the fireworks and loud thunderstorms happening this time of year that makes dogs scared? It seems silly, but some dogs feel stress when their human wears a hat! I wanted to share some resources for recognizing and understanding signs of canine fear, anxiety, and stress.

While it’s normal for dogs to be cautious and not run head on into traffic, too much stress and anxiety isn’t healthy. Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) also affect the immune system, impacting both physical and emotional health.

Up to 20 percent of dogs will be born prone to introversion and fear. Proper socialization improves puppy confidence, but abuse or poor socialization can result in anxiety-ridden adults. Pain or illness also can cause anxiety so these dogs associate certain kinds of handling with discomfort. Ongoing anxiety, stress or fear may lead to fear aggression.

Extreme fear interferes with learning, making it even more difficult to help dogs overcome the angst. Fearful dogs quickly recognize that escape behaviors or fear aggression makes the scary situation go away, so they learn to repeat these behaviors…

Chewy Once a Year Blue Box Event: Pet Products Savings for Your Special Pets

Y’all may notice something different about my blog–yes, it’s been spiffed up, thanks to a fantastic web designer! Seems the perfect time to celebrate with some great opportunities for your pets. Once a year, Chewy price drops all kinds of pet goodies in their Blue Box Event–good from June 21 through June 24, so don’t wait. Stock up on all the must-have dog products and cat essentials, as well as pocket pet supplies. Oh, you’ll find way too many bargains for me to list simply by going to this Blue Box Event link. But here are some of my favorites. Shadow-Pup and Karma-Kat put in their orders. Shhh, keep it a secret or your fur buddies may swipe the credit cards and have a fun time!

Get a $25 eCard Gift Card when you purchase $75 worth of select pet products favorites.

Up to 50% Off Select Toys During Chewy’s Blue Box Event.

Up to 50% Off Select Disney During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Up to 30% Off Once-a-Year Pet Parent Deals During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Learn about more savings…

Small In Show: Calling All Pocket (and other ) Pets!

Why do dogs and cats get all the love? Well… they deserve it, but so do the #SmallInShow contenders, as Rainn Wilson says. “Small pets are truly overlooked. Everyone goes straight to dogs and cats. But Kaytee is out to show that these little creatures have big personalities and are just as worthy to be part of your family. That’s something that was easy to get behind,” said Rainn Wilson.

No, I’m not compensated to share this. It just tickled me, and we all need some giggles these days. Back in the day, I loved my hamsters Whiskers, Snowball, and Cinnamon, and the first pet article I ever sold (for real live dollar$$$) detailed the story of my rescue parrot, Venus, a spectacle Amazon. Pocket pets deserve the love, too.

Besides, I miss attending Westminster, and certainly understand where Rainn comes from in his disappointment. Enjoy this fun MOCK-umentary from Kaytee. The company is launching its inaugural #SmallinShow Award Show, inviting pet parents of hamsters, bunnies, mice, birds and other small companions to share images and stories of their mini heroes across social media. The #SmallinShow Award Show will culminate with the crowning of three winners who will each receive a one-year supply of Kaytee products….

Work Goes To the Dogs & Cats: PSI’s Take Your Pet To Work Week!

Today, it’s PSI’s TAKE YOUR CAT TO WORK DAY! At my house, every week is Take Your Pet to Work Week. This year, it falls on June 20-24, with the CATS’ day on Monday, and the DOGS’ day on Friday. For many folks who continue to work at home, they experience the joy–and challenges–of work with furry companions 24/7.

Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999 to help promote pet adoptions, this week celebrates the 24th anniversary of the event. I’ve written about this nearly every year, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures in the blog.

This year, of course, we have a new dog, Shadow, helping us celebrate. And we’re still navigating a new “normal” after losing our beloved Bravo following his cancer diagnosis. You’ll see some pictures of Bravo with Karma and Shadow, below, as I can’t bear to remove them just yet…after all, he’s still one of my Furry Muses…

Heatstroke Dangers: Pet First Aid for Hot Weather Play & Travel

These hot summer days, Shadow loves to run and play outside, but the hot weather can lead to heatstroke dangers in dogs as well as people. This week, we topped the thermostat at 101 degrees, and it will continue to hover near three digits all week long. Fun in the sun can quickly turn to tragedy if pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent cat and dog heatstroke dangers. Pet heatstroke is common because cats and dogs can’t effectively keep cool in hot summer weather. It becomes especially dangerous during summer travel in cars. Here’s how to save your pets’ lives if they overheat…

How to Prepare for a Disaster: Pet Preparedness & Tips

With the latest hurricane on the way, it's time to revisit your pet disaster plan. You do have one, right? After Katrina and Harvey, everyone should understand the importance of disaster preparation. June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and in the fall, September...

Visit Amy’s Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This