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Cats help kids get ready for school

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By Dorian Wagner
 

Pop quiz: What's better than any alarm clock for getting your kids up and out the door on time for school? The answer is probably sleeping somewhere in your house right this minute: a cat!

When I was growing up, our family cat, Gizmo, would help me get ready every morning. Like clockwork, she was my wakeup call, meowing outside my bedroom door bright and early, telling me it was time to get moving. My real alarm clock would go off, and that was her cue.

I'm not a morning person and I'm addicted to the snooze button. My mom could yell from downstairs 15 times and I could ignore that, but I couldn't ignore Gizmo. Without her, I'm pretty sure I would have missed my bus more often than not.

What's even better, though, is that because of her, I woke up every morning with a smile on my face. I'd hear her calling for me, and then I'd crawl out of bed and let her in to start our routine. It was our special time together and one of my favorite parts of the day. When I left for college, her wakeup calls were one of the things I knew I'd miss the most.

Now, more years later than I care to confess, I have another alarm clock named Moo. I open my eyes every morning to his nose in my face. He sits on my feet while I blow-dry my hair and watches me put on makeup from his spot on the bathroom counter, making sure I start every single day with a smile.

So how do you go about setting your cat to wake your kids up? If they're the first ones up in the morning, that's easy: The cat will probably go to them automatically. If they're not, you may have to train your kitty.

Have your child give your cat treats first thing before he or she does anything else. Try feeding your cat its breakfast in your child's bedroom. Bring the cat over to the bedroom every morning, until it learns that's where it's supposed to be in the morning. Most importantly of all, make sure your kid rewards the cat for good behavior. Love, massages and hugs are all positive reinforcements.   

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