My Kitty Kills My Workouts

Technically, Baby Luv isn’t even my cat; she originally belonged to our oldest child. Midway through our daughter’s junior year in high school, she adopted the cute orange tabby from the animal shelter. The kitten’s original name was Marmalade, but our fashion-forward daughter rechristened her after Paris Hilton’s pet kinkajou.

Cat on table has laser eyes from flash.

Call us short-sighted, but we didn’t anticipate our inheritance of said Baby Luv when  Child No.1 moved out of state for college. Baby Luv’s been our kitty since 2006.

Normally, this would be fine, because I’ve always adored cats.

Except Baby Luv’s psychotic.

Don’t get me wrong — I adore Baby Luv. She also clearly likes me…and therein lies the problem. She’s killing my sleep with her love.

My Cat Wakes Me Up

On many random nights, Baby Luv taps me gently on the cheek with a paw. She plucks at the sheets and head-butts my chest. In cooler weather, she climbs on my back and legs to nestle down. She leans over to stare in my face, purring.

Ah, so sweet. NOT. Because in doing so, she wakes me up.

Why does she do it? Why those nights and not others? Who knows? It seems Baby Luv wants petting, and so I’ve developed the ability to sleep stroke (um…I’ll just leave that alone). On the good nights, she’s satisfied with a few perfunctory pats and settles down, allowing me to fall back into uninterrupted slumber. On bad nights, however, nothing I do is sufficient to stop her attentions. Eventually, I’ll resort to investigating whether she needs outside (no), more food (no), fresh water (no). What she wants, it seems, is company. My awake company.

Cat sleeps next to purple stuffed unicorn.
Though she hates having her photo taken, Baby Luv will reluctantly turn on the cuteness. Kind of.

Evidently, a lot of other people wonder about this irritating feline behavior, too. Type the phrase “why my cat wakes me up in the middle of the night” into Google Search, and some 229,000 relevant responses are listed.

And before you cry “latch-key kitty” (poor thing: abandoned in a lonely house throughout the work week, seeking the love and attention regularly denied her by absent owners), let me assure you that Baby Luv doesn’t lack for company throughout the day. Despite the fact that I talk to and (attempt to) pet her, she mostly ignores me, hiding, except for occasional forays out for food and queenly lounging on the patio, watching the birds and squirrels. She’s living the good kitty life.

Cat nestled by laptop.

When I’ve missed a morning workout, it’s often due to my cat. My friends seem a little skeptical at the blame. Because she hides from all other people (including her original human mama), most of them have never seen, much less met, Baby Luv. In light of that, even I admit the excuse sounds shaky.

Perhaps the better explanation is lack of a good night’s sleep. Her constant interruptions leave me exhausted and dragging, without enough energy to rouse myself with an alarm. But, hey — if the military has used sleep deprivation as an interrogation tool (aka torture), then surely it’s an accepted excuse for skipping boxing, a run, or aqua jogging in wee hours, right?

Cat sleeps on outdoor patio sofa.

Still and all, I love this kitty. And I look forward to trips away from home when I can slumber uninterrupted. In a few days, I’ll be in Arizona, making my way through the Grand Canyon with friends and enjoying the hotel stay.

I’ll be interested to hear how my husband sleeps — or doesn’t — in my absence.

More Kitty & Sleep Reading

Cat sits on newspaper.
Baby Luv enjoys a daily morning newspaper, preferably The New York Times.

“How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body” from The Atlantic

“6 Reasons Why Your Cat Wakes You Up at Night” from

“External Factors that Influence Sleep” from the Harvard Medical School of Sleep Science’s Healthy Sleep website

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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