Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fellow cat owners: I need yo help!

For those of you who don't know: I've recently acquired a cat. Or I guess I should say I captured rescued him. Shortly after Derek and I got married, we noticed this little orange ball of fluff roaming around our apartment complex. We hadn't seen the "mother" cat in some time, so assuming the worst (she got smashed in the dumpster) I started to worry a little for the fluff ball. I started throwing bits of food - actually leftover chicken and cheese cubes from our wedding - to him in the parking lot, but he never would come close enough to let me catch him.

Finally, after weeks of enticement, I was able to lure him inside our apartment with some sardines. It was pretty gross, but finally the little fluff was safe and warm and I was going to work on finding him a home. Long story short, we ended up keeping him. Because, really, who can resist that face and precious cuddles that go along with it. 

For the first few weeks, he behaved just as you would think any feral cat would behave - scared, skiddish, and not trusting or wanting much to do with myself of Derek. At one point, after we moved out of our apartment and into our house, we didn't see him for almost a week. Now he spends most of his days indoors, lounging around the house while us measly humans make a living to pay for his food and toys. He loves to cuddle, play, and do tricks for food now. He is (almost) a completely different cat (he still gets skiddish if we wear loud shoes that "clomp" when we walk). 

Just look at that sweet little muffin.

Here, he's saying "Mom can I just sleep wif you pweez?" How do you resist?!

The issue I'm having now is this: he doesn't like to sleep. Well, I should say that he doesn't like to sleep when we like to sleep. He snoozes in the evenings while we're eating dinner/watching a movie/tv but as soon as we start getting ready for bed, he becomes a wild heathen animal, and doesn't settle down for at least an hour. Then, usually between 2-3 AM, he wants to play again - either attacking our feet under the covers, playing in the mini-blinds, or any other rambunctious behavior not appropriate for anyone besides 21-year-olds at 3 in the morning. 

What should I do??

It's too cold to leave him outside at night (in my opinion) and he cries LOUDLY if we shut him out of the bedroom. My thoughts were to keep our bedroom shut at all times - even in the day when we're not home - and let him get used to not going in there at all. But will he continue to cry? He knows we're in there, he can hear us, and I know that all he wants is to be near us and it makes me sad that he is sad. Should I change his feeding schedule and feed him right before bed (like a baby) so he sleeps better? I am at a total loss here and you can call me crazy, but I have never had this problem with another cat. I don't know if it is because he is a male (I've always had females) or because he was raised in the wild, or he doesn't get enough "play time" in the day. Again, totally lost.

Any of you other cat moms (or dads) have any advice for me??   


Rebekah @ The Straight Arrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebekah @ The Straight Arrow said...

This is going to be long, so I apologize in advance. One of my cat's does this occasionally, and I wake up in the middle of the night while she sprints across my bed, using me as a spring board. The odd thing is she only does it a few nights a month so I started to think it might have something to do with the moon phases? My older cat used to do the same thing, but she stopped as she got older so it could just be a kitten thing. I do suggest when he is trying to nap in the evening to keep waking him up. That was my solution. Every time she fell asleep I'd make her get up. She looked pissed, but it did actually help to make her wait until I went to bed to let her sleep. Also, with both of them, when they were less than a year old, I'd be sure to play with them like crazy to tire them out, like an hour before I went to bed so they had time to calm down and weren't still hyped up when I went to sleep. Trying to lock them out of my room was a total failure. The older one throws her entire body against the door crying and the younger one actually knows how to work the door handle and lets herself in. Cats aren't actually nocturnal. I don't know the term, but they are most active during dusk and dawn. Once he gets older he should get into a more regular schedule. Just try not to let him sleep too much in the evening before bed time and tucker him out as much as possible. Good luck! He is absolutely adorable!

(Edited for errors)

Rose L said...

I had a very similar situation. We took in a cat in August that had shown up at the previous house we were renting and was living in the barn. Shortly after taking him in, we moved. He is a pretty well behaved cat but he is really talkative. During the day this is fine but at night not so much. After about a week of him constantly meowing at night, I switched up his feeding routine. Cats will take a long nap after a satisfying meal. So now we feed him some dry food in the morning to munch on throughout the day and then right before bed, we give him his can of wet food. This has completely solved the problem. He still plays at night but he doesn't meow until we get up in the morning.

I think a lot of it is establishing a routine. I read somewhere that it can take a cat a month or so to be comfortable and adapt to a routine.

tl;dr try feeding your cat at night right before you go to bed and see what happens.

Sarah :: Plucky in Love said...

As our cat got older, it DEFINITELY helped with this issue. Also, as long as he's got food and water and toys in the main living areas, he doesn't meow at our door. He gets real annoying when he's hungry, though.

Also, I remember reading about how cats really like to play and connect with humans (when they want to har har), so being ignored when they want to play is like the ultimate punishment. If your cat ever plays during waking hours in the ways he does while you're trying to sleep (attacking movement under blankets, etc), maybe stop him then too. They're SO smart. He'll start to pick up on it. ...if he wants to.

Anonymous said...

Aw! I don't have any advice but I just wanted to say how cute! It looks like he's really taken to you!

Rachel said...

I would try to keep him active during the day- play with him when you get home from work to "tire him out". Make sure he has food and water overnight too- sometimes that is why they get bored/active while you're sleeping.

Or, honestly, go into a Petsmart and ask someone there for help. Usually they have a cat expert there or someone at a local shelter you can get in touch with.

Thanks for saving a life and taking in the cat :)

Kristyn said...

Maybe give him a bed to sleep in? Maybe that would help? I don't really have a lot of advice even though we do have a cat. Ours is uber lazy and sleeps most of the day. He does get bursts of energy though, and he will cry out at night when he is moving one of his toys around with him. It's cute, but annoying.

Brittany Fry @ The 26th of August said...

awe he is so cute! It sounds like everyone has given you great advice and hopefully something will change his behavior. Our issue isn't our sleeping arrangement with our cats but with our 187 lb mastiff who thinks he needs to sleep right between my husband and I. Needless to say we have many sleepless nights of letting him sleep with us or sleepless nights of him crying because he is shut out of our room.

the Florkens said...

I've had cats my entire life and yes, sometimes this is a battle you have to fight. Granted, it is easier when you have them as kittens since it is easier to teach kittens to sleep (or at least leave you alone at night). Here's my advice:

1) At night, move the cat, his litter box, toys, food, water, etc. into a different room and shut the door. If you are worried about him tearing up the door or something, you can get bottles of motion censored canned air and place it by the door. When he approaches the door, the will spray and he will freak out and not want to be close to it. It will teach him to stay in his room. If he cries, ignore him (if you can even hear him from the room he's locked in). It may take a coupe of nights, but he'll learn to be quiet.

2) Once he sleeps nicely in the other room, don't lock him in it anymore, but instead, shut your own door and place the canned air outside of it. He will see the canned air and know not to approach your door. (PS. My mom has done this for her cats and she literally can now just sit a can of air freshener outside the door. The cats don't know the difference but still don't dare approach it.)

3) After you do #2 for a bit, try removing the canned air and opening your door. He might have readjusted his routine to sleep more at night at this point and learn to leave you alone. If however, he bothers you at night, have a kennel or something available to put him in and carry him to the farthest part of the house away from you. We did this a LOT when our cat Jasper was a kitten. If he bothered us, he got put in a kennel until morning. He soon learned that not bothering us meant he got to lay on the bed WITH us. So, he stopped. Your cat will figure it out too!

Hang in there and good for you for rescuing him. He is a cutie!


Pink and Green Mom said...

I have a cat that was most definitely caught out in the wild. She has her own bathroom with a cat bed. When we first got her, she would bang on the door during the night and my husband would think someone was breaking into the house. She eventually settled down but I think it is very important that she has her own room or space. Food wise, I give ours a scoop when I let her out of the bathroom in the morning and one right before bed. You might want to invest in some ear plugs until she he gets used to either his own sleeping space or not being in yours! :) Good luck!

Amber Thomas said...

Ok. I have really no advice at all because the one cat I had ran away for like 5 years and then randomly reappeared at Christmas time and that was a HUGE surprise.

But, she looked just like your sweet boy and she was NAUGHTY and that made me laugh.

Lauren said...

I agree with wearing him out as much as you can before bed! I wake my cat up if he's been sleeping too much so I can sleep. Mine wakes me up for food if I don't fill his bowl before I go to sleep. He likes to be near us, too, so he has a bed in our room and knows when we get in bed and turn off the lights, then it's time for sleep. A lot of it could be kitten energy, sadly, and perhaps some of it will be lost once he gets fixed (assuming he isn't already - he looks super young but I'm comparing him to my 16 lb fatty!). Good luck - so sweet of you to take him in!

The Life You Love said...

I don't have any cat advice, but I just wanted to say that your kitty is adorable! I want one once I have the time and money for a pet, and I hope the cat I get is playful and cuddly, too!

Tami @ Friday Morning Buzz said...

I feel like everyone has already told you what you need to know- wear him out as much as possible before bed. Mine used to do this when they were younger and we started doing laser pointer chase time right before bed. It worked pretty well and for years now they've slept through the night with us. (I sound like I'm talking about a baby, haha)

Ralph Marion said...

I will say this. You might have to get used to it. I have two cats with my wife, and they do this almost every night. During the day, they are just chill as can be. Once you try to sleep, it seems like they are all active. Wish I knew a way to help you out with this.

shannon said...

but i want your cat. like bad.

alk alk said...

Girl, I hear you. I've got one cat who mostly sticks to her own at night. The other one sticks to me at night. He's terribly invasive.
During the summer, we have a screen door that stays open that they created their own 'door' in, which is pretty convenient. They come and go as the please.
During the fall, when the door is closed, they are ridiculous. Constantly in and out. They're used to their freedom. We try to kick them out in the morning before we leave for work and they tend to sleep better at night. It doesn't always work, but it helps.
Good luck! I love the little shits and they can help get you through some tough times.

alk alk said...

UPDATE: My noninvasive cat just sat on my face while I was reading in bed. Just to prove I know nothing.

April said...

Such a cute fluffy thing!!
My cat used to do the same thing. The blinds were the worst, but if I shut him out of my room he would bang on the door all night. He was also a sleeper in the evenings, so I started trying to keep him active when I got home from work and that helped. Also having plenty of food/water during the night kept him from having to wake me up! He's almost 3 now and has gotten so much better!
Good luck with your little guy!

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