DEAR JOAN: I recently adopted a cat, Sugar. She is my first cat, although I’d had dogs for many years. I love cats and thought it would be nice to have one after I lost my last dog.
So far it’s been pretty good. She is affectionate and uses her litter box. She likes to sit in the window and watch the birds.
The only problem I really have is that she sleeps most of the day and then is up at night. She prowls around and sometimes makes a lot of noise, which wakes me up. Is there anything I can do to switch it around so that she stays awake during the day and sleeps at night?
Alicia G., San Jose
DEAR ALICIA: Have you tried switching her decaf morning coffee to fully caffeinated?
While cats are not true nocturnal animals, they are crepuscular, meaning they’re most lively at dusk and dawn. Cats sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, and because they retained a lot of their untamed ways and instincts, they like to prowl through the darkness and hunt.
Keeping Sugar busy during the day, playing with you or interactive toys, will mean less sleep in the day and more at night.
Right before bedtime, do a little hunting with your cat, providing toys that Sugar can stalk and chase, such as a toy mouse on the end of a string, which you can drag around or dangle in front of her.
I had a cat that liked to stalk me at night, which was a little disconcerting, but we turned it into a game we both enjoyed.
If she’s making a lot of noise playing with her toys, put the loud ones up at night and pull out the soft, quiet ones.
DEAR JOAN: I have a question about ants. Is there any way to get rid of them when they invade a third-floor apartment, without killing them?
Gail Ghose, San Carlos
DEAR GAIL: If you have a hand vacuum, you can suck them up and deposit them outdoors. Then spread talc or cinnamon at the places where they’re coming in, creating a barrier they won’t want to cross.
DEAR JOAN: This is in response to your request for quirky traits of cats. My new-to-me, geriatric kitty (16 years old, we think) recently has begun a new game. It involves waiting in a common area to be chased to the bedroom, where he loves to jump up onto the bed to be petted.
When he first started doing this a few weeks ago, he would wait to make sure that I was following him, and I would attempt to catch his tail. He would meow and grunt like he was so happy, then meow again, if the petting stopped too soon. Now he knows I will chase him, and it can be so much fun involving belly rubs and lots of scritches.
Another quirky trait is for him to use his right paw to gently tap me when he feels he’s not getting enough attention or when he wants attention to be all on him. When he first did this, I had my back turned to him. He tapped me on my back three times in quick succession, like a knock at the door, as if to say “Hey, you’re not paying attention to me!” Needless to say, it was very effective.
Alice C., Los Altos
DEAR ALICE: You have a wonderful cat, who is excellent at communicating his needs and desires.
I love these stories. Keep them coming, readers.
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