As you will know, sleeplessness is a terrible affliction affecting most cats. It’s true! Just go outside on a balmy summer’s night and what do you see? And hear? Dozens of bored cats whiling away the sleepless hours on fences and garden walls, often singing their plight to the moon in a chorus of lament. You didn’t think we did this for fun, did you? Absolutely not. We’re simply desperate to sleep, but we can’t.
The condition we suffer from is known in veterinary circles as ‘feline insomnia’, and here’s what you can do to help your cat achieve a more restful and prolonged sleep:
- Vacate your bed – or at least a good portion of it, because we do like you to be there with us. An area of, say, five times our normal size will do because, as you should already know, we tend to expand in our sleep.
- Don’t move. It is so annoying to be woken by a large human mass turning over in the bed with a squeak of the mattress and a groan, just as you’ve finally dropped off.
- Do snore; we like it. But make it regular and not too loud – just a soft purr will do. We might even join you!
- Have a full glass of water at the ready on the bedside table. Not too narrow, so we can get our noses inside to drink. There is nothing more frustrating than a half-full glass with a narrow neck preventing us from reaching the water with our tongues. Cats have been known to get stuck in such silly glasses, and injuries can result – even to you – when we have to thrash about to free ourselves.
- The suggestions above apply to night time sleep, but as you may realize cats also need to sleep during the day, so make sure you allow for a couple of hours here or there throughout the day to relax on the sofa and always invite your cat to sleep on your stomach. The gentle heave of your abdomen is incredibly soporific and a wonderful time to bond, which is why we generally like to lie close to your face and stroke you with our whiskers.
- Finally, and firmly, forget the cat beds. They are useless inventions based upon human conceptions of what cats like. Don’t believe the glossy ads; those people are lying. Save money and take a cat’s guidance instead. It’s okay; you don’t have to thank me.
Susanne Haywood is the author of Tigger: Memoirs of a Cosmopolitan Cat available from all good bookshops or online: http://bit.ly/CosmopolitanCat.