Continuing The War On My Lack Of Sleep

erick244

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Hi all, I've been on here a few times in regards to trying to break my cat's middle-of-the-night habits. She's stopped climbing curtains and clawing up my bed frame. Great, right? Not so. She has finally recognized when bedtime means sleep time; I sleep on multiple pillows and she camps out above my head, gets comfy and falls asleep. This works great until as early as 2 AM ( I work late and go to school so sometimes I don't go to bed until midnight :( ) and my body and sanity cannot take it anymore. She perches on her pillows and claws at my scalp, paws at my hair and tugs at it. If I cover my head with my arm, she scratches my arm. If I cover my head with my blankets, she gets aggressive and scratches harder.

I have read all the articles on forcing yourself to ignore your cat's responses and they'll eventually stop bothering you. But there is no way I can ignore the sensation of razor blades on my head and my hair being pulled out! She will continue this off and on, hour by hour, until about 9 AM when she'll tucker down and fall asleep. By then, my body has given up sleeping in intervals and I'm just a zombie from there on out.

I have an automatic feeder set and she runs when she hears it go off, but once breakfast is over, she comes right back at the head clawing. I'm gone most of the day due to work so she only gets to interact with me a few hours at a time, so the idea of locking her out of my room does not sit well with me. I want her to be able to spend time with me but this persistence has got to stop. Is there anything you guys have tried with your cats or have any suggestions? I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep and that's risking a lot with school and work and my general wellness.

Thanks for the help! :(
 

susanm9006

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Use a warning phrase like “sleep time” or something you will remember to use consistently and set her on the floor. When she comes back on the bed and starts to pester, use warning phrase, pick her up and shut her outside your room for rest of night. Repeat every night and she will learn that unless she is quiet she is banished.
 

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Hi. Not too much I can think of to offer, really. But, when is the last time you feed her at night before you go to bed? Maybe break her last meal into two parts, and feed the last part right before you go to bed? Then, break her breakfast into two parts as well, and feed her one very early, and leave the second half for a later time.

You can also get a enclosed bed/carrier (separate from the one you would use to take her to the vet) and place it above your head, where she likes to sleep apparently, with a favorite small blanket or pillow that she likes to rest on. Then, when it is time to go to bed, tell her "bed" and place her in her new bed. If she somehow manages to bother you there, just move her bed to beside you on the bed and then ignore her, if you can.
 

ArtNJ

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If you won't close the door, make a cozy cat nest somewhere in the bedroom. Then remove cat from bed. When it comes back, remove again. X250. It will likely work, on the "eventually" time scale. May, however, reduce willingness to go on the bed when you are awake, so that is a downside.

I'm sure a lot of the other stuff matters. Just for example, FeebysOwner FeebysOwner 's idea to examine your feeding schedule is a good one regardless. But if you cant solve cosleeping, move on from it is my advice. If you aren't willing to exclude from the bedroom, exclude from the bed.
 
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MoonstoneWolf

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How about some quiet toys, like a catnip mouse and only put that out at night. I think a lot of times the cat is more bored than hungry. Or you can hiss at her and then ignore. I'm learning how fast Treasure is learning by me hissing. She backs up, stops what she's doing and finds something else to do. And she was a feral cat and not domesticated til about 5 years of age. And she still comes running to me so she doesn't hate me for this.
 

rubysmama

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so the idea of locking her out of my room does not sit well with me.
I understand how you feel about locking her out of your room, but it might be the only solution, so that you can get some sleep. :sleep2:

When I first adopted my Ruby she would wake me 60 to 90 minutes before it was time for me to get up, and she would keep coming back every few minutes, so once she woke me, I didn't get back to sleep. Before long I started to get sleep deprived and I had no choice but to put her out of the room and close the door when she woke me.

When I'd put her out of the room, I would tell her she "had to wait for the radio to come on". And after a couple weeks (I think) one morning, instead of a cat waking me up, my radio did. And then she jumped up on my bed. She'd waited for the radio!

That was over 5 years ago, and these days she will occasionally wake me before my radio comes on, but if I ignore her, she will just go away.

So it's worth trying putting your cat out of the room when she starts pawing at you. You could also try saying "owwww" when she paws at your head, so she is aware that she's hurting you.

Good luck. Hope you get a full night's sleep soon. :sleep:
 

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What works for me is to keep the kitties out of my room and use a very loud sound machine. Blocks out the screams and door scratches.
 

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I have no advice but I want to say I'm with you. I am semi retired. fortunately, because my three cats wake me up at 3 am and 8 am. I've had to adjust my sleep schedule. If I feed them before I turn in, they sleep better.
 

Coolgram

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Hi all, I've been on here a few times in regards to trying to break my cat's middle-of-the-night habits. She's stopped climbing curtains and clawing up my bed frame. Great, right? Not so. She has finally recognized when bedtime means sleep time; I sleep on multiple pillows and she camps out above my head, gets comfy and falls asleep. This works great until as early as 2 AM ( I work late and go to school so sometimes I don't go to bed until midnight :( ) and my body and sanity cannot take it anymore. She perches on her pillows and claws at my scalp, paws at my hair and tugs at it. If I cover my head with my arm, she scratches my arm. If I cover my head with my blankets, she gets aggressive and scratches harder.

I have read all the articles on forcing yourself to ignore your cat's responses and they'll eventually stop bothering you. But there is no way I can ignore the sensation of razor blades on my head and my hair being pulled out! She will continue this off and on, hour by hour, until about 9 AM when she'll tucker down and fall asleep. By then, my body has given up sleeping in intervals and I'm just a zombie from there on out.

I have an automatic feeder set and she runs when she hears it go off, but once breakfast is over, she comes right back at the head clawing. I'm gone most of the day due to work so she only gets to interact with me a few hours at a time, so the idea of locking her out of my room does not sit well with me. I want her to be able to spend time with me but this persistence has got to stop. Is there anything you guys have tried with your cats or have any suggestions? I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep and that's risking a lot with school and work and my general wellness.

Thanks for the help! :(
Hello! I feel for you, because my new cat, Gracie, wakes me up every day between 4 and 4:30am. I want her to sleep with me, but once she's awake there's no going back to sleep for me. I've tried ignoring her and pretending I'm still asleep, per advice I read, but there's no way that works. She continually walks completely around my body again and again, ending at my head and often touches my face with her paw. Luckily she doesn't bite or scratch but sleeping is out of the question at that point. I won't feed her at that time of the night, that would just give her further incentive to wake me.

What has worked for me is that I have a spare bedroom that I have turned in to the "cat room". It has everything she needs in it - litter box, dry food to pick at and water, and a cat tree by the window. Once she wakes me, I get up and after opening the window in the cat room so she can see out, I put her in the room and shut the door and back to bed for me! At first I felt bad doing it, but I was becoming so sleep deprived I just wasn't functioning well, so this has been the best solution for me. I wish you luck in finding your perfect solution.
 
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erick244

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I understand how you feel about locking her out of your room, but it might be the only solution, so that you can get some sleep. :sleep2:

When I first adopted my Ruby she would wake me 60 to 90 minutes before it was time for me to get up, and she would keep coming back every few minutes, so once she woke me, I didn't get back to sleep. Before long I started to get sleep deprived and I had no choice but to put her out of the room and close the door when she woke me.

When I'd put her out of the room, I would tell her she "had to wait for the radio to come on". And after a couple weeks (I think) one morning, instead of a cat waking me up, my radio did. And then she jumped up on my bed. She'd waited for the radio!

That was over 5 years ago, and these days she will occasionally wake me before my radio comes on, but if I ignore her, she will just go away.

So it's worth trying putting your cat out of the room when she starts pawing at you. You could also try saying "owwww" when she paws at your head, so she is aware that she's hurting you.

Good luck. Hope you get a full night's sleep soon. :sleep:
She used to wake me up a little before it was time for breakfast and I eventually learned to live with that. In fact, getting up early and getting stuff done was kinda nice! But now I'm considering this all-nighter behavior to be quite obsessive.

I have locked her out of my bedroom once and I woke up to a bundle of unraveled carpet at my doorway. I rent and while the landlord is super, super nice, I am not about to let her get destructive. I was looking into one of those plastic scratchproof mats that fit under doorways--I read they work for some people and not at all for others. She can fit her paw under the door frame and make the door pound in the framework so I'm also not about to be the annoying neighbor either! Perhaps the mat is something I can try. Thanks for your feedback!
 
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erick244

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I have no advice but I want to say I'm with you. I am semi retired. fortunately, because my three cats wake me up at 3 am and 8 am. I've had to adjust my sleep schedule. If I feed them before I turn in, they sleep better.
I've tried splitting her breakfast intervals; she'll get an 1/8th cup at 5 and an 1/8th at 7 cause well, initially 5AM was her wake up call and 7AM was my schedule. I have been told to try this with her dinner, too. So maybe I will feed her some at 7pm and then feed the remainder, say, at 10pm? I was fine with adjusting my schedule to something healthy but at this rate I'm literally just taking naps throughout the night and I'm worried about the health and mental consequences of keeping this up. Thanks for your insight!
 
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erick244

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Hi all again, to summarize your suggestions, I do have quiet toys for her to play with at night but she gets bored with them. I suppose it's because I intend for them to be nightly routines but they go missing and she finds them during the day. I do have a little enclosed bed that I moved to my bedroom but she isn't big on it so maybe if I get her a pillow bed for her to sleep on and perhaps some room-specific toys?

Last night I tried my hand at good old classical conditioning and I'm hoping it catches on like it's supposed to within time, cause right now it didn't do a darn thing for me. Each time she'd perch on my pillow and scratch at my hair, I'd pick her up and put her on the floor and say NO. I found myself caught in a routine of throwing her off for hours on end. She just didn't get it. If she laid there on the bed, I wouldn't say a thing as a way of telling her "behave and you can stay".

I'm going to search around for a scratch mat I can place under my door so I can attempt to close her out again. I'm willing to try anything! :(
 

MoonstoneWolf

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Infuse the toys with catnip. Rotate them out. They won't be bored for long. An something else I do is put some crushed catnip in their last meal with mixed kibble. When catnip is eaten they sleep which is the opposite effect if they sniff it.
 

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I'm with the carrier as bed. when you and she go to sleep good. When she wakes up, tell her no. If that doesn't work, put her in her carrier right then. Throw a towel over her carrier. If she starts screaming, put the carrier in another room and shut the door. Put toys in the carrier.

You may have to do this several nights in a row, until she figures out that waking you up means being locked in the carrier. This isn't cruel, it's called survival. If you don't sleep and crash your car and die, she won't have a future either.

Over the years I've had 28 cats who pretty much had the run of the house, including two who slept on my pillow beside my head - they were grown they slept and a tiny one who curled up in my hair. The tiny one also slept, but I did get a stiff neck, which I
tolerated. So I'm not telling you to do anything cruel or even mean. It's the same as putting children to bed and insisting they stay there.

BTW she will fight you to not get in the carrier. Even if she loves her carrier as a play house, she will fight going in to go to the vet and to go to sleep. That is the way it is.
 

MoonstoneWolf

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Something else I thought of: Do you have some days off of work (if you work from away from home) that you can wear out your cat by playing with him during the day time? If so try that as well. When I had Pepper as a kitten she would love to get a ball and bounce it down the hard wood steps, run down, get it come to top of steps and rinse and repeat. It kept me awake for a week and finally I took the ball and hid it from her, bringing it out only during the daytime. I then had a week off of work so I used that time to play with her. By the end of the week she was a confirmed night sleeper and up during the day when I was up (except for the usual 50 naps). But she never bothered me at night again
 

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Yoshi will get on top of my chair and try do what your girl does. He does it when he's really happy to see me, so a happy, playful, cat version of love. Definately no fun if it's happening in the middle of the night.

I usually suggest a "Mama hug" for babies but since you've tried everything else and she's destructive when locked out you could try it. When she wakes you pull her down beside you and use a gentle bear hug to keep her close to you and still. Pet her and tell her it's time to sleep. When a Mama cat wants a kitten to settle down they hold them still and lick them. Keep those nails trimmed in case she sees this as an invitation to wrestle.

She probably sleeps while your at work and school. If it's possible, maybe a friend to play with during the day would help her sleep through the night.
 

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Okay, if you've already said no to this idea, I apologize. There is one last desperate solution, which almost always works. Get another kitten, the same age as she is. She's less than a year, right? At that age they don't need much in the way of introductions, because they want to PLAY NOW. They will wear each other out. they will play with each other all day and when they wake at night. Kit will go to the other kitten to play because the other kitten will wake up and play. Kittens come in batches for a reason. They also teach each other manners and comfort each other when they are afraid and you're not home.
 
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erick244

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Okay, if you've already said no to this idea, I apologize. There is one last desperate solution, which almost always works. Get another kitten, the same age as she is. She's less than a year, right? At that age they don't need much in the way of introductions, because they want to PLAY NOW. They will wear each other out. they will play with each other all day and when they wake at night. Kit will go to the other kitten to play because the other kitten will wake up and play. Kittens come in batches for a reason. They also teach each other manners and comfort each other when they are afraid and you're not home.
I have seriously considered getting her a friend, more of a younger kitten if anything. She'll be 2 this month and she still has a lot of kitten energy in her. I just don't know how I feel about having another cat that may potentially have more destructive traits than her. I know that sounds silly and I knew what I was signing up for when I adopted a cat. I'm also not sure how well she does with other cats in her territory. I think I remember her shelter report saying she stayed away from other cats in the play room when she was exposed to them. I do think after a grueling six months of trying to socialize her, she's become a lot more confident so I feel like after some cautious time with another cat, she may be able to find a best friend.
 
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erick244

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Well, I decided to kick her out two nights ago. I let her sleep nicely on my pillow and then when she starts clawing at me, I take her out and close the door. She does claw at the bottom of the door and meow loudly but it's at least a little bit more sleep for me. This morning, though, she did pull up threads of the carpet so I'm going to look into maybe a deterrent spray or maybe some anti-scratch tape for the doorway to train her not to touch it.

How odd that for the longest time, I just wanted her to snuggle with me in bed and now I'm the one begging to be left alone!
 

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Can't pull up the threads in her carrier, that's what makes it useful in this situation. I know you're looking at it and thinking it's so small, she'll be cramped and unhappy. Cats like small places. Small covered places that are hard for others to get into make them feel safe.

Okay, I won't push any more. hope you get some sleep.
 
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