Melatonin for cats?

TacosAndPurritos

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My living space recently changed and I'm now sleeping in the same room with my cats. I used to sleep in a separate room since I could never get any sleep when they were around. In some ways, it's been really nice to cuddle with them at night, and I feel good knowing that they aren't ever lonely. They seem so much happier. However, without fail, no matter what time I go to bed, no matter how long I play with them before I turn in, they will be absolutely batshit insane for 30 minutes to an hour while I am trying to fall asleep. I've gotten to the point where I am falling asleep 1-2 hours after I intend to, which is causing all sorts of problems for my mental health and work situation, not to mention the intensity of the anger I feel every single night, which feels almost poisonous, especially before I am supposed to be resting and recovering.

Nothing I've tried has changed this behavior - I tried playing with them before bed and getting them really pooped out, giving them a good meal that they love afterward - doesn't change anything.

I'd like to explore other options to try to reprogram their routine a bit, maybe with melatonin? I tend to use melatonin temporarily myself when I need to change my sleep schedule, usually for no longer than a week, which I have done many times before while switching from day sleeping to night sleeping.

Just wondering if anyone has experience using melatonin temporarily for their cats? Any recommended products? The strategy I'm considering is playing with them for half an hour and then giving them some melatonin followed by their 4th and final meal of the day. I would probably give it to them maybe 30 minutes before I plan on going to bed. Does this sound like a good strategy? I'm also not sure how long I should do something like this before their new routine is "set" and they fall into the groove of a new habit. Any advice is welcome from anyone who has been in this situation or has used melatonin or other sleep aids/sedatives. I don't want to give them anything permanently, just temporarily while we all create a new routine together. I also have gabapentin if that would work better.
 
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TacosAndPurritos

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Yes, I actually followed the steps of this and other such articles already.

Edit to add: And obviously I don't have the option of sleeping in a different room like I used to.

Edit to add again: The good news is they don't wake me up once I fall asleep, it's only for the hour after I climb into bed that they go nuts, even after a long vigorous play session and a meal.
 

missymotus

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Melatonin is safely used in cats as birth control (though not effective for all), it does not make them sleep nor recommended for neuters.

we teach our litters at an early age that lights out equals sleep.
They have enrichment in the form of self play toys, cat tv, lots of tall scratching trees to run and jump on, and get play sessions throughout the day, and one before their supper. They eat a tasty raw or wet meal then it’s lights out.
 
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TacosAndPurritos

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Melatonin is safely used in cats as birth control (though not effective for all), it does not make them sleep nor recommended for neuters.

we teach our litters at an early age that lights out equals sleep.
They have enrichment in the form of self play toys, cat tv, lots of tall scratching trees to run and jump on, and get play sessions throughout the day, and one before their supper. They eat a tasty raw or wet meal then it’s lights out.
I adopted mine at 5 and 7 months old, so I didn't really get to train them into those habits. Plus I went from a night shift to a day shift within the last 6 months. Thankfully they seem to think lights out means play for one hour like maniacs and then sleep soundly all night. I just need to figure out how to eliminate the "play for one hour part", or else completely restructure my schedule so that I have an extra hour of laying in bed before I actually need to be asleep.

Edit: Obviously I still give them a nightly play session, but I would like that to be the end of it. I just don't know how to train that.
 
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TacosAndPurritos

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Just wanted to update this thread to say that I found what I realize in retrospect is a blindingly obvious solution...

I was brainstorming ideas yesterday and started thinking about why it is that they go crazy when I turn the lights off no matter what time of night it is, and it dawned on me that they are crepuscular - active during the changes from day to night, night to day. I thought maybe their energy levels are being triggered by the indoor lighting changing. At the very least, they are responding to my routine, and when the lights turn off, that is the signal that I'm about to turn in for the night.

So I tested this theory out last night - I played with them at the normal time we usually play, an hour or two before I get ready for bed. They got their normal evening meal. Then, an hour before I needed to start sleeping, I turned off all the lights. I just hung out and went about my normal bedtime routine in the dark (with enough ambient street light coming through the windows to function, thankfully). Sure enough, they immediately started going crazy for the next 45 minutes, and then crawled right into their respective sleeping areas and stayed asleep until I woke up. I didn't actually fall asleep until an hour and a half after I was supposed to, because I was half expecting them to jump on me at any moment, but they didn't!

I feel really dumb for not figuring this out sooner, but I'm glad that I did. Hopefully, this may help someone else in the future who is dealing with the same problem.

Thanks to all who replied!
 
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