Pudgy Pets - Cat with a bad sleeping pattern?
04-10-2011, 05:38 PM
I have had my cat Stripey since he was 8 weeks, and is just 15 now.
He is mainly an indoor cat since around age 10 but still likes to go out in the garden a little bit most days.
He is incredibly healthy and playful given his age, it's only in the last 18 months he has become somewhat wobbly climbing fences and doesn't tend to bother climbing onto higher furniture.
However he has picked up a very bad habit in the last year where he will not sleep the entire night. He has no interest in going out at night time and honestly I prefer him to be indoors since he is getting on a bit.
He nearly always sleeps in my room, and will stay asleep until anywhere between 1-5am, at which point he decides it's time to get up. Problem is he isn't content to go amuse himself, he will force me out of bed to go play/sit/give him food for ages. If I try to ignore him he climbs the curtains, claws at books on the shelf, attacks furniture and rolls about the room in a noisy manner.
He's always been very affectionate towards me and various other family members, but he has become incredibly needy and the constant sleep interruption is really catching up with me.
I love him to bits and I'm thrilled he has the energy to be doing this... But I'd also love for him to go back to a more normal sleep pattern. Sitting downstairs in my PJ's at 3am throwing around a toy mouse isn't my idea of fun:dizzy:
I wondered if anyone on here had experienced a similar scenario, or any suggestions on how to combat it?
And here's some pictures of the culprit, just because :p
04-10-2011, 07:41 PM
This is very normal for a cat. If you call one sleep/awake cycle as a "day" then there are several cat days in a human day.
By getting up to play with him, you've taught him that when he's bored, he can count on you to amuse him, if he's bratty enough. He isn't going to learn to amuse himself without training.
You could try to ignore him, but you may need to use punishment (don't worry it doesn't have to hurt, it just has to be annoying - like spraying him with a spray bottle of water when he begins to be naughty, or picking him up and putting him in a crate or in a safe room like a bathroom), because if you ignore him now, he's likely to up the stakes (do even worse stuff to give in, and with each worse thing he'll just learn to keep escalating the behavior until he finds what will get you to do what he wants).
We had this problem with our cat. She even resorted to making herself puke, if everything else failed. My husband started putting her in the bathroom (her litter box and food and water dishes are in there anyway) every time she woke us up "rudely" (by meowing, biting or gagging).
She switched to "subtler" methods (gently tapping, lying on our heads). When those got her sent to the bathroom, she eventually stopped those too.
We don't have her fully trained. She still has a couple tricks up her sleeve. He'll snuggle real close and pur as loudly as she can, and if that doesn't work, she'll lie on our chest with her butt as close to our nose as she can (she pulled that this morning). Or facing the other direction, one of us will wake up nose to nose with her staring into our eyes.
We've thought of keeping her in the bathroom all night (it's a huge bathroom, so with a few toys, it wouldn't be so bad), but we both do like having her share the bed, when she behaves so we keep working with her.
You also have to be careful not to pair reward with punishment (if say you spray him in the face with water, but then feel guilty and get up and play with him, or cuddle with him afteward).
When our cat first started the puking, she'd be put in the bathroom, but it also got us up and moving (to clean the spot, and if it was close to our wake up time, we'd just stay up.). Because it got us up, she actually started using the puking routine even more frequently, even though it resulted in temporary punishment. We had to increase her time in the bathroom and whenever possible go back to bed. It was crazy, but just the sound of us moving around the apartment was enough to reinforce the puking. Getting it to stop was really hard (she'll still pull the trick occasionally).
It might help to get another cat (if that's feasible), but it won't necessarily as your cat could teach bad habits to his new brother or sister. Or their playing could be just as disturbing (My mom had a dog and cat, each under 10 lbs and they'd sound like a herd of horses running through the halls at night).
04-11-2011, 04:48 PM
Thanks for the suggestions :) I think because he is a bit older now I've been letting him get away with more than I should, I guess this would have been easier to fix if I'd not left it as long.
I might try the water spray method and see what happens, I can't really put him in any other rooms since he just claws away at the doors and flooring with true momentum.
I get what you're saying about when you get up because of them... As soon as I'm out of bed he is meowing and running about, looking dead chuffed with himself.
I couldn't really have another cat at the moment, and he's always seemed pretty anti social towards them. There are two young ones who are always in our garden, and he chases them off every time x)
04-11-2011, 05:28 PM
My cat Pandora used to do the same thing. I would consistently put her off the bed when she would try to wake me up. She's a very sensitive cat so any kind of raised voice would deeply affect her. It didn't take her long to figure out that she shouldn't wake me up. Now she just lays next to me and waits.. lol
I would go the carrier route with your cat. Get a carrier that's big enough for your kitty to be comfy, put it in the bathroom and when your cat wakes you up with his tricks, you get up put him in the carrier and shut the bathroom door. Go back to bed. The cat will be fine for a few hours. Eventually he will learn that if he wakes you up he gets kitty jail time and he'll stop. I've used that method with another cat who sometimes gets aggressive and she's learning to curb her naughtiness.
04-12-2011, 07:26 AM
Well, I just had the first night of new 'training' for Stripey. At 4 various points in the night he decided to climb curtains and so on, so I took my spray bottle of water and just used it once slightly above him, each time he skittered off and went to entertain himself.
I felt so so guilty for doing it, and wanted to get up and cuddle him, but it's not a terribly mean punishment, and I think it would be meaner to send those mixed signals.
Hopefully he will start to get the message in a while, and he'll sleep through the nights as he previously did.
I'll keep this updated just in case it helps anyone else with restless cats:p
05-13-2011, 11:38 AM
dont feel guilty. We love our animals and we dont want them scared of us so some of us do baby them to much (im guilty) but a punishment like water is harmless. If anything your helping them bathe! think of it like that if it will make you feel better when sending a squirt its way :) your not a bad kitty mommy your just trying to sleep lol!