My cat wont stop knocking things over, discipline has become a game for her, please help us sleep

Boggoblin

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So a bit of background, my cat is spoiled and eats twice a day at 5am when my bf gets up for work and at 5pm when we eat dinner. She has been on this exact routine her whole life and is usually pretty patient when it comes to her feeding time. Over the last few months my cat has decided she would like to eat earlier; it started with weekends, when my bf would sleep in, and she would get up on our nightstand and knock things over till someone eventually woke up. We tried to ignore her but she would keep doing it until she ran out of things on our nightstand. We figured it would just be easier to feed her on time and moved on. This was a terrible mistake, because now she does it every day of the week and it has gone from 5am to 4am to now 1:30-2am. We tried spraying her with water but now its become a game of how fast she can outrun the spray bottle. We tried covering our nightstand in tin foil but now she has moved to our altar and is knocking over valuable things, and i am NOT going to cover my altar in tin foil. Obviously i cannot do anything that makes noise because my boyfriend needs to sleep for work (not that it would work anyway noise doesnt bother her) and im hesitant to use furniture deterrent sprays as i dont want them to harm the things on our altar. I should also mention we cant close our bedroom door because 1 her litter box is in here, and 2 if we close it she paws the door and it shakes the hinges of our shitty apartment making a ton of noise. We havent slept in weeks so hopefully someone here can help us.
 
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Boggoblin

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So a bit of background, my cat is spoiled and eats twice a day at 5am when my bf gets up for work and at 5pm when we eat dinner. She has been on this exact routine her whole life and is usually pretty patient when it comes to her feeding time. Over the last few months my cat has decided she would like to eat earlier; it started with weekends, when my bf would sleep in, and she would get up on our nightstand and knock things over till someone eventually woke up. We tried to ignore her but she would keep doing it until she ran out of things on our nightstand. We figured it would just be easier to feed her on time and moved on. This was a terrible mistake, because now she does it every day of the week and it has gone from 5am to 4am to now 1:30-2am. We tried spraying her with water but now its become a game of how fast she can outrun the spray bottle. We tried covering our nightstand in tin foil but now she has moved to our altar and is knocking over valuable things, and i am NOT going to cover my altar in tin foil. Obviously i cannot do anything that makes noise because my boyfriend needs to sleep for work (not that it would work anyway noise doesnt bother her) and im hesitant to use furniture deterrent sprays as i dont want them to harm the things on our altar. I should also mention we cant close our bedroom door because 1 her litter box is in here, and 2 if we close it she paws the door and it shakes the hinges of our shitty apartment making a ton of noise. We havent slept in weeks so hopefully someone here can help us.
I wanted to make it clear that she is repeatedly jumping up there and knocking things off, we can spray her and yell at her all we want but the moment we lay back down shes up there again. And its only in the early morning that she does this and stops once she eats, so we know its nothing else other than her trying to “train us” to get up when she knocks things over
 

klunick

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I wanted to make it clear that she is repeatedly jumping up there and knocking things off, we can spray her and yell at her all we want but the moment we lay back down shes up there again. And its only in the early morning that she does this and stops once she eats, so we know its nothing else other than her trying to “train us” to get up when she knocks things over
Can you get a timed feeder so she can eat without you having to get up and feed her?
 

di and bob

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She has.....Even if it is bad attention to her when you get up, it IS attention. Put some cheap things on your tables for now and completely ignore her. Cats are not like dogs, physical punishment works for them because they are pack animals and want to please no matter what. Physical punishment, such as spraying water, to a cat, just makes them afraid of you and sneaky. I would suggest putting out a bowl of dry kibble to keep her satisfied, even weight control dry if she is chubby. There is a lot of good, grain-free dry food out there now, it may help. as you know, cats get into a routine and it is very hard to break. ignoring them is the only way to retrain them. She might have a lot of Oriental in her. All the cats I had with this breed in them are very talkative, stubborn, and LOVE to knock things over!
 
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Boggoblin

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Can you get a timed feeder so she can eat without you having to get up and feed her?
Im worried she’ll try to break it once she realizes theres food in there, we hafto keep her food locked in a cupboard to keep her from getting into it. But it is something we’ve considered!
 

suzeanna

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There are feeders that are difficult to break into. She will definitely try to break into it when she smells food in it, but after a few weeks should get used to the fact that it will open automatically at a given time (e.g., 1 a.m.). It might also help if you can split your kitty's meals into 3 (5 a.m., 5 p.m., and right before you go to bed) so she isn't as hungry in the early morning hours.

Oh, and like a few other posters said, ignore her when she's acting up. You reacting to her antics counts as a success to her.
 

ArtNJ

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If you are still reluctant to try the feeder idea, you could try 3 feedings, one right before bed. Preferably moist food. You'll probably have to combine that with ignoring provocations, potentially for weeks. Hide breakable valuables for a bit or use museum putting to anchor them.
 

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Yep, I would give her a small meal right before bed, then put all breakable/valuable things away, get some earplugs, and completely ignore her until her proper breakfast time. That's really the only way to re-train her. It should only take a few weeks and then you could put your valuable things back (and maybe use museum putty for extra security).
 

susanm9006

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Set your nightstand items in a shallow box or use earthquake putty to stick them down so she can’t knock them off or over.
 

crystal dawn

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She has.....Even if it is bad attention to her when you get up, it IS attention. Put some cheap things on your tables for now and completely ignore her. Cats are not like dogs, physical punishment works for them because they are pack animals and want to please no matter what. Physical punishment, such as spraying water, to a cat, just makes them afraid of you and sneaky. I would suggest putting out a bowl of dry kibble to keep her satisfied, even weight control dry if she is chubby. There is a lot of good, grain-free dry food out there now, it may help. as you know, cats get into a routine and it is very hard to break. ignoring them is the only way to retrain them. She might have a lot of Oriental in her. All the cats I had with this breed in them are very talkative, stubborn, and LOVE to knock things over!
Everything I have to say has already been said.
 
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Cat McCannon

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Knocking stuff off shelves is also a sign of boredom. In addition to the advice given in previous posts, give your cat a good play session before her last meal of the day.
 

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kakers

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Are you sure she is doing it for food? Cause it sounds to me it could partly be for attention. She sure is getting a LOT of attention from this behavior and cats don't necessarily care of it's "bad" attention. I'd put away anything breakable for the time being and go back to ignoring her. When it's time to get up and feed her, try to only feed and give her attention if she's doing anything not destructive. The timed feeder also wouldn't hurt and would make it clear pretty quickly if she's looking for food or attention.

I do also agree it could partially be boredom. Making sure there's an enriched environment for her, trees to climb on, windows with perches where she can sit and look out, toys that can keep her entertained when you're not available but also interactive toys and making sure she gets lots of play time and attention when you are available can help.
 
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