How to deal with early morning crying

Nathan1123

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Hey guys!

I have had a five-year old furball for about 2 years now, and lately in the last couple weeks she has gotten a habit of meowing up a storm in the early morning, around 6-8 AM roughly. Even after ensuring she had plenty of food and a clean litter box, my sleep still gets interrupted around dawn by this persistent meowing or steady whimpering.

Usually, in the past I would expect Calley to be fairly active at night, and curled up in my bed asleep by the time I get up. She has her own special blanket that she always likes sleeping on, and over time she adapted slightly to my sleep cycle. However, recently she hasn't been using it as much, or just sleeping in it a few minutes before wandering off. This has been especially true since I washed the blanket, which not only was covered in cat hair, but also she vomited on at some point. But since I washed it, she hasn't been interested in using the blanket hardly at all.

From what I can tell from research online, cats are naturally more active around either dawn or dusk, although that doesn't help me figure out how to mitigate it. Some were suggesting that she may not be getting enough activity before bedtime, and so becomes board and wants attention. That would seem plausible, judging by how she doesn't run around as much at night as she used to. I have tried buying her a bunch of things to play with, such as mice and balls, and most recently I got her a large cardboard box (which she really seems to enjoy). It does seem to slightly improve her behavior, but so far hasn't made the meowing stop. But in general, she doesn't seem that interested in playing around before bed, she mostly seems as eager to rest as I am, until dawn.

Similar issues sometimes happen during the day, when Calley wakes up and I'm not in the room, she starts meowing as well. In those situations, I can just call out her name and tap on my lap, and I can guarantee the furball will be jumping up to snuggle, and calm down. Sometimes, this works when I'm trying to sleep as well. When I hear her meowing around 7 AM, I can call out her name and tap on the bed, and sometimes she will run up on the bed and settle down. However, this isn't as effective as it is during the day, as she will often jump back off the bed after a few minutes, or flat out respond to my calling with more meowing.

One thing I have been trying, when all else fails, is a kind of "punishment" to instill this behavior is not accepted. When she is still crying and I've tried everything else, I will then escort her into the guest bedroom, then close the door on her and the door of my own bedroom. Behind two sets of doors, I can no longer be disturbed by her meowing (or she suddenly stops meowing, I'm honestly not sure). After recovering whatever couple of hours I lost sleep to, I will then immediately open the doors again and give her some cuddling. I find after doing this, she doesn't seem to be upset or anxious in any way, but I find her just chilling out on the guest bed, having come out of whatever spell she is under at dawn.

Are there any other suggestions of things I could try to do, to handle her morning crying and get more sleep?

Thanks,
Nathan
 

maggie101

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My cat Maggie, cries when she does not see me. She doesnt think hey, if I walk to her she will see me then things will be ok. So can you keep her locked in your bedroom? The older she has gotten, the more attached she has been.
 

Tagrendy

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Cats have a cycle - hunt, eat, wash, sleep. The only way to control sleeping times, is routined play time and eating. Free feeding messes with this, so first change I'd suggest is creating feeding times. Wet food also keeps the cat's energy steadier, he will be sleeping better after wet food, so u would give that for the day's last meal, and would play longer before the last meal as well.

I've tried this myself, it works but takes a few weeks, once he associates certain times of the day with food, he waits for it, doesn't ask ( unless I'm late ).
 

maggie101

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Cats have a cycle - hunt, eat, wash, sleep. The only way to control sleeping times, is routined play time and eating. Free feeding messes with this, so first change I'd suggest is creating feeding times. Wet food also keeps the cat's energy steadier, he will be sleeping better after wet food, so u would give that for the day's last meal, and would play longer before the last meal as well.

I've tried this myself, it works but takes a few weeks, once he associates certain times of the day with food, he waits for it, doesn't ask ( unless I'm late ).
I have been feeding her last meal earlier and earlier because of that so I don't go to bed too late.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Although it is not always the case, cats are creatures of habit especially when they start to mature. And, I think this is even more so true for 'single' cats. So, I wonder if something in her environment has recently changed to disrupt her 'habit'. Changes you could take for granted. New bed coverings for your bed, change in food, a new cat in the area that is wandering around and she can sense it, etc. It could have started with the blanket, since you mentioned it. If you can get her to spend some extra time on the blanket for scent transference, maybe that would help.

Usually, in the past I would expect Calley to be fairly active at night, and curled up in my bed asleep by the time I get up...But in general, she doesn't seem that interested in playing around before bed, she mostly seems as eager to rest as I am, until dawn.
I wasn't sure how to interpret the above statements. One sounds like she went about her own business when you went to bed, but was with you when you were ready to get up. The other statements sounds as if she readily goes to bed with you and stays. Maybe if you explain this, it might help to shed some light?
 

felinelover2

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I agree with Tagrendy on the feeding schedule vs. free feeding through the night. It may make sense to feed her a late meal then pick up the food. Then breakfast at 6 am when she normally starts her behavior. I know my two are zooming around the house early morning but 30 minutes before breakfast they stop and are hanging around the food bowl waiting for it. It is the event of their morning and their energy and activity seems based off that schedule. They eat breakfast, then groom, then nap. If your cat's behavior is boredom/anxiety based, then giving her an event to focus on at that time of day may help her focus on something, especially if it is a really yummy meal.

The key would be to be consistent about the breakfast time, even if you need to set up a timed feeder to handle it (if your own wake time is varied - cats won't really get that you wanted to sleep in on Saturday and will get stressed if their expected meal doesn't show up, especially when there is no other food out).

The only other suggestion would be a vet visit to make sure she isn't ill, but it sounds more like behavior.
 
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