Training a Cat to Not Sleep on Your Head

Many cats love to sleep with their owners, however they don't always honor our personal space. Sleeping on our heads may be their way of showing that they care, but it can interfere with a good night's sleep. This is a guide about training your cat to not sleep on your head.

Cats laying on a woman sleeping in bed.
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One of my cats keeps trying to sleep across my neck. She does it several times a night. I immediately wake up and put her on the floor, but she's not taking the hint. Does anyone have any suggestions? If I shut her out of the room, she tries to get in by clawing through the carpet. There's already a hole in the carpet outside the door, so keeping her out of the room isn't a good option. She's really interfering with my sleep. Help!

By Stephanie from Hillsboro, OR

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Have you heard the old saying "If you can't beat them, join them."? (as in 'defeat' not 'beat them physically', LOL). My cat started trying to sleep on the top of my head just this past Winter (who knows why when she's eight years old and never did that before) so what I tried was slowly lifting my head up until she rolled off of it, then scooted myself up and laid my head (gently and without full weight on top of her of course) like she was my new pillow instead of my head being her pillow. She fairly quickly decided that wasn't comfortable nor suitable and moved. It only took a few shorts nights for her to choose to sleep next to the top of my head instead of on it. ;-)

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Cats think differently than dogs. Dogs want to please us. Cats, by instinct, solve their own problems. Any attempt to change what a cat wants to do is seen by them as an obstacle to overcome. The only way to thwart a cat's plan is to make it so the cat no longer wants to do the thing that is annoying you.

The solution of laying your head on the cat when it tries to lay on you is a good one. You might also wear a glove (if you cat has claws) and grab her paw and not let go until she panics. You must do this every time. Shortly she will stop. My aunt cured a cat from getting on her counters by putting the cat on the counter and not letting it down. She did this several times and the cat avoided the counter.

By Lilac from Springfield, MA

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Large dog crate with blue litter box.My cat tried this as a kitten, as well as, waking us to play at all hours of the night.

What I did was get a large (Great Dane sized) dog cage and put a small litter box on one end, a padded stool for him to sleep on on the other end, with water and a bit of dry food under that. I kept it as far from the bedrooms as possible. When he would wake us, I put him in the cage. If I woke again, I would let him out. If he tried to play, I would put him back. This went on for approximately a couple of weeks. Then he got the idea that if he woke us, he would go into the cage. He stopped. When the lights went out, he would curl up at my feet and sleep from then on.

It was an exhausting couple of weeks, but 9 years later he still sleeps at my feet in the summer and at my side in the winter (under a blanket, I guess he gets chilly), but no more waking us.

By Compltlyme from Sammamish, WA

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Pets CatsNovember 8, 2011
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