Cool It, Cats

How To Get Your Cat To Sleep At Night, As Told By The Office’s Angela Kinsey

Dunder Mifflin’s resident “cat lady” feels your pain.

Written by Team Scary Mommy
Angela Kinsey as "cat lady" Angela Martin on 'The Office'

If you’re a feline-loving family, you’ve undoubtedly heard the telltale pitter-patter of cat paws padding and pouncing through the house at night — when everyone (and everything) is supposed to be *sleeping.* Cats don’t care if you show up to school drop-off looking like a mombie because you only got four hours of shuteye. Cats do what they want, and as cat owners know all too well, that often includes throwing what sounds like middle-of-the-night cat raves. What’s the deal? Are cats nocturnal? How do you get your cat to sleep at night?!

Angela Kinsey understands the frustration. Plus, she knows a thing or two about cats. Her iconic character in The Office, Angela Schrute (née Martin), has 12 cats over the course of the show.

And while Kinsey hasn’t quite reached that level of cat-lady status in real life, she deeply loves her feline family members, Snickers and Oreo. Something she doesn’t love quite as much? Their penchant for being “super chatty” in the early morning and running full speed through the house at night.

While cats aren’t nocturnal, they are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Even cats who seem like total night owls aren’t nocturnal — although it can definitely feel that way. In fact, a recent study by Blue Buffalo (whom Kinsey has teamed up with) found that half of cat parents’ sleep is affected by their cats’ nighttime activities.

This is a statistic Kinsey can relate to on many levels.

“We have two cats, and they’re very different. We have Snickers, who loves to snuggle, which is awesome… except sometimes that snuggle at night means on my head. She likes to wrap herself around the top of my head as if she were my hat. And sometimes, as she falls asleep, she likes to try to eat my hair,” Kinsey tells Scary Mommy.

Kinsey’s other cat, Oreo, is their “super mischievous cat,” she admits. “She’s always up to something, just climbing stuff, jumping off stuff. And, at night, she gets into everything! We come downstairs in the morning, and she has just drug out something and started to kind of take it apart.”

Oreo also happens to be a very early riser — ”I’m talking around 4 a.m.,” Kinsey says. “She’s like, ‘Let’s do this; let’s go.’ And she’s running around with the zoomies, and she’s very chatty. This cat has a lot to say, but it’s always been about 5 a.m.”

Sounds familiar. So, what’s a sleep-lovin’, cat-owning person to do? Through trial and error, Kinsey stumbled upon a few solid sleep solutions for her felines that benefit her entire household:

Put the House to Bed

“One of the things that was a big game-changer for us is that when we feed them their last meal, we go to bed,” Kinsey explains. “That helps a lot with Snickers. She’ll eat that end-of-night meal, and then she wants to just snuggle.”

Get a Pet Feeder

No matter when the household goes to bed, Oreo gets up with (or before) the sun. To offset this, Kinsey bought a pet feeder with a timer. “It even has a little voice activation, so we recorded ourselves saying, ‘Here, kitty, kitty!’ We set it for around 5:45/6 a.m., it goes off in the kitchen, and Oreo will run,” says Kinsey. “It shoots out a little bit of Blue Tastefuls dry cat food … then she won’t be at our door howling or climbing on our heads.”

Prioritize Daytime Playtime

Cats sleep a lot during the day — it’s their thing. As for Kinsey’s cats, she knows exactly where to find them napping. “They have a chair in the living room. I mean, I bought this chair for us. I bought them cat beds; they don’t use them. They love this one chair,” she laughs. Silver lining: That’s where the family goes when they want to motivate the cats to get moving, and her youngest son has a classic tactic. “It looks like a little mouse that you point, and it shines a light,” Kinsey shares, adding of the cats, “They love the little laser pointer.”

Include Them in the Daily Hubbub

“We have a house that’s moving and grooving because we have three kids, two little chihuahua rescues, and the two cats. So, there’s kind of always something going on. I think that helps the cats because there’s always going to be someone scooching them out of the chair to do something,” she explains.

Kinsey also created an active space for the cats to hang out in the middle of things: an “enormous” cat tree. “We’re true cat people because we have a cat tree right when you walk in,” she jokes. We tried it all in the house, but they want to be with us; they really do. They’re so social. Now we have this giant cat tree in the kitchen — in the corner away from where we cook — but we put little treats at the top, and they’ll climb it.”

Keep Them Well-Nourished

Like most cats, Kinsey’s are super picky. But as a total foodie herself — she’s a panelist on MTV’s Deliciousness and has a baking show on YouTube with her husband, Joshua Snyder – she understands the importance of nutrition (and taste) to overall well-being. “I want them healthy and happy,” she says. “I want to feel good about what I’m feeding them. They’re my babies… my fur babies.”

With these little “cat hacks,” Kinsey and her family have reclaimed some sleep. Still, in news that will surprise no cat owner, Kinsey confesses that Snickers and Oreo still “run the house” at the end of the day.