My cats are driving me crazy

Willowwombat

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I moved a month ago to a new home. My old place had a second-story balcony that my two cats had free access to. This one is a rancher and has no outdoor space for the cats. I'm not able to even think about a catio at the moment. I'm exhausted from the worst year of my life, my house is a chaotic mess, and I haven't got the funds right now.

My little Dude has taken to pacing around the house all day, and he meows literally every three seconds, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed at night. I'm not exaggerating. It is literally every three seconds, all day long. I can't get a moment's peace. I feel like I'm going mad.

My other cat, Willow, wakes me up too early almost every morning. I haven't had a full night's sleep for over a year. If I yell at her through the door or bang on the door she runs away but comes back a few minutes later and by then it's too late for me anyway way because I'm awake. I've tried using an automatic feeder but she doesn't like it and won't use it.

I am actually starting to think about rehoming them, my life is so miserable right now. I've had Willow for 11 years and Dude for 2, and I love them both but I can't live like this.

Anyone have any suggestions for me? Amy idea how to stop Dude from meowing all day long? I honestly feel as though I'm losing my mind.
 

ArtNJ

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Well, depending on where you live, you could consider letting them be indoor/outdoor. Its risky, many here have horror stories, but millions do it without problems. It might be better than going crazy or rehoming them anyway. I actually started on that path because a rescue just wouldnt adopt to the litter box and I was at my wit's end about it.
 

susanm9006

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Is there a patio door or a good spot for them to see outdoor creatures? If so, set out a water bowl and/or a feeder of some kind so they can be entertained. Do you have a space where you can confine the cats for the night so that you can sleep. They won’t be happy at first but they will settle down.

Cats do pick up on their humans emotions so your stress becomes theirs. If you are feeling stressed so are they. It’s only been a month, it takes far longer than that to settle into a new place. Please give yourself and them more time.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I wasn't sure about some details. When did these behaviors start? When you moved to your new home, or a year ago, since you mentioned not having gotten a good night's sleep in over a year? Or, maybe Dude's issue is tied to the new home, and Willow's issue is more related to the automatic feeder she doesn't like?

If the former, then it is very likely all about the move and you feeling chaotic at this point. As mentioned above, cats will more or less 'absorb'/react to our feelings. Giving Dude ways to look outside, perches/trees to access in front of windows, and interactive toys might help over time. You can build a cheap outdoor enclosure with chicken wire/boards, but you'd have to carry/take him out and in again if there is no easy access for him to use on his own. I would never recommend converting an indoor cat to an indoor/outdoor one. Not to mention, it is advised that most cats need to acclimate to a new home before being let outside, and it would seem Dude has not yet acclimated.

Willow just can't be expected to eat from a feeder if she won't eat from a feeder. For her, giving her a meal before you go to bed, and another when you first get up might resolve the problem. The other thing to consider is that she is older and may becoming more needy, so it might just be that she wants to have access to you overnight - as it sounds like you are keeping her out of your room. If that is true, maybe setting up some space in your bedroom for her to come and go could resolve her problem too.

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I hope you can get more settled in your new home and feel less chaotic - I think that will help your perspective on how to help your cats and probably will help settle them down too.
 

iPappy

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It sounds like you've been through a lot, and I'm sorry this has been such a terrible year for you. I hope things get better.
My cats can get really edgy and borderline annoying if they aren't allowed outside in their catio for a few days because they're so used to it. I had a catio built by a contractor for a fraction of what I would have paid to buy one. Even if it's not in the budget now, it might be able to be done sooner with the materials FeebysOwner FeebysOwner suggested.
Despite them all being seniors, my cats are insanely active at night. My Tortie will occasionally sleep with me and be good all night, but the other two start the Indy 500 around 2 in the morning, so they are shut into a separate part of the house overnight. I felt really guilty doing this at first, but, a long term lack of sleep for us can become dangerous if we don't do something about it.
Have you tried playing some Cat TV videos for them? Mine really like them. :)
There are also harp music videos specifically for cats that my cats really love and I find it very pleasant to listen to, as well, as background music for when I'm doing other things. They are all over YouTube.
 
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Willowwombat

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So, In response to all of the above, my late partner was always up in the night and fed Willow. Since he died last year she has been waking me up early in the morning and nothing I do gets her to stop for more than a night or two. I've tried yelling, hissing under the door, banging on the door, spraying her with water, and ignoring her. Nothing helps. I feed her right before I go to bed and as soon as I get up, but when she wakes me up early I try to lie in bed until at least 7 so that she doesn't expect food early. It can be really awful just lying there for hours and hours but I cannot feed her at 4 am.

The other problem is that she is getting really fat and there is no question of her being on a diet with this other stuff going on. She would drive me crazy. I tried for a month last year and gave up. Our vet was mad at me for giving up but my health is suffering.

I can't keep her in my room. She wakes me up even earlier if I allow her to stay. I don't really have enough places to lock them up; no basement and it's an open-plan house.

Anyway, the issue with Willow is the early-morning wake-ups. She is also wanting to go out but she will happily walk on a leash, so although she would prefer to be free range, she doesn't mind a half-hour outside with me.

We adopted Dude 2 years ago. He's 11. He really is a sweet boy. He loved the balcony at the old place but now there is no balcony. He's always been a bit howly at night if I don't play with him a bit, but since the move he's been really bad.

We were told by the SPCA that he was an older cat that just wanted to laze around and didn't play much (they had him for a month on an emergency basis in a separate little house out back) but it seems as though nothing could be farther from the truth.

I'm trying to leash train him so that he can go out. We managed ten minutes today before he got scared and wanted to come in, but an hour later he's back with the meowing to go out. Similarly when I play with him it buys me an hour of peace and quiet and then it starts up again with him pacing and meowing. He's been tested for hyperthyroid issues and I'm told he's fine, though I'm starting to doubt it.

I've never seen anything like this behaviour. It is literally non-stop. He's doing it right now, pacing between rooms and meowing, jumping up and down on the furniture and driving me nuts. He has access to all the windows in the house all day and all night and there are birds and squirrels to look at, plus I have a little pond so the birds come in quite close. His scratching post platform is right up against a window.

I'm not sure I can even have a catio here. There's no logical place to attach one. I'm not putting a hole in my walls and there aren't any windows that make sense for an exit point.
 

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Hi, can you keep walking him, and can you find a cat wheel on Letgo or OfferUp? What about clicker training?

Catios don't have to have entrances to the house, they can be standalone with a gate or little doorway.

Can you try Cat Music and calming treats?

I've tried using an automatic feeder but she doesn't like it and won't use it.
Maybe try a different brand, I found one by Catmate that works, and initially have a favorite treat or something in it that she loves and finds hard to resist.
 
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Willowwombat

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I can't imagine trying to get a cat back OUT of a stand-alone catio. I will try to keep walking him but so far he won't go out the door unless I pick him up and then he's really nervous. He's fine with the leash and harness, oddly. I almost get the sense he's been trained before, though I was told he was an apartment cat.

I've thought about one of those wheels but there's not really a place I could put one and I wouldn't want to leave it unsupervised in the garage since they look like they could be a bit risky.

I tried several types of feeder. Dude will happily eat of of any of them but not Willow.
 

Norachan

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I moved a month ago to a new home.
My little Dude has taken to pacing around the house all day, and he meows literally every three seconds, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed at night.
That's a really short amount of time for a cat to get used to a new home. When I moved with mine it took at least a month for some of them to stop howling. I think this will get easier as he gets used to the fact that this new apartment is his home now.

Have you got the same old cat beds, blankets, cat tree etc that you had in your old place? You could try Feliway plug-ins. They helped mine a lot.

Is Willow on canned or dry food?
 

arr

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Is Willow on dry or wet food? Wet food makes them feel fuller longer and could help with her weight. Can you feed her a meal of wet food, preferably pate and with extra water added, right before bed? Let her eat as much as she wants until she walks away. Then try letting her sleep with you afterwards. Perhaps the combo of a very full belly and the comfort of being near you will help her to stay asleep.

Just as a side point, if Willow needs to lose weight, I would switch her to all wet food, no dry at all. Many years ago we had two cats who had to be on urinary weight loss food and not knowing any better, I fed them the dry food in an auto feeder. They would scratch at the door all night, meow all night. They never seemed satisfied and they never lost weight. I wish I had known to just fill them up on wet food and water.
 
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FeebysOwner

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I am sorry for your loss, and all the changes you have had to go through since your partner's passing. You and the cats are undergoing circumstantial turmoil right now, with all of you trying to adjust. It is going to take more time for Dude to get used to his new home/loss of his balcony, and more time for Willow to accept she can no longer get fed as she was accustomed to. That will be a hard habit to break.

It is actually a good thing that you have to carry Dude outside for his walks. A lot of folks use the tactic of carrying a cat in and out of the house in order to help prevent a cat from realizing that all they need to do is run out a door, especially when no one wants them to, to get outside. He is missing his usual 'outdoor' time on the balcony and will probably miss it for quite a long time. The fact that he gets scared when you walk him is only because it is much different to him than just hanging around on the balcony.

In many ways, cats are no different than people in that change can be very hard. They and you have been through enough. To rehome your cats would put them under even more stress, and at their ages, that is never a good thing. Not to mention, they would miss you immensely. Hopefully, with patience and accepting the fact that adapting to change takes time, things will start to settle down.

Perhaps you could buy something like this (see link below) for Dude to spend some time outside. It isn't expensive and I am guessing you could carry it back into your home if you can't get Dude out of it. You could relax outside with him, sitting in a chair, maybe reading a book or just enjoying the outdoors a couple times a day. It doesn't weigh much, but if it would prove too bulky to pick up with him in it, then you could place a blanket underneath and drag it back into the house by pulling on the blanket. That would preserve the bottom of the pen from getting ripped up.
Amazon.com : BODISEINT Portable Pet Playpen, Dog Playpen Foldable Pet Exercise Pen Tents Dog Kennel House Playground for Puppy Dog Yorkie Cat Bunny Indoor Outdoor Travel Camping Use (Small, Coffee - Beige) : Pet Supplies
 
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Willowwombat

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With regards to the food, about a year and a half ago my vet told me to just feed Willow the TD dry food. Big mistake. Prior to that she would eat certain wet food but she has always been a fussy eater, even as a kitten. Now she's completely addicted to the TD, and has gained weight! I've wasted hundreds of dollars in the last year trying to find a wet food for her. She just won't eat it, with the exception of some rabbit-based pouch food that is rarely available.

Dude, on the other hand, eats Fancy Feast supplemented by a generous scoop of Dr. Elsey's dry food. He never cries for food. Since it's going to be at least 8 months before I can build a catio I really want him to do his walks, but I might try getting one of those little cages.
 

Furballsmom

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iPappy

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Or like this?

https://www.chewy.com/furhaven-soft-sided-dog-cat-playpen/dp/225335

We each must be envisioning something completely different, as I can't visualize how it would be difficult to get a cat out of a catio :( mine always approach me looking for attention and head rubs, and if not that, a treat usually does it :)
If both cats are decent on a harness and leash, I'd leave the harness on while in an enclosure so it's easy to grab them and leash them up when it's time to go back inside :)
W Willowwombat did the cats have access to their balcony 24 hours a day at the old place, or was it just during the day?
 

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This is unrelated to the cats, but just something I thought I'd mention as I have had some experience with insomnia and noise-related sleep disruption.

Can you sleep with earplugs? I personally never thought I could, and I hated them at first, but I got used to them and the benefits eventually outweighed the discomfort, to the point I stopped feeling the discomfort.

I don't use them anymore, but I've been renting for all of my adult life, and I lived in some apartments with absolutely terrible noisy-neighbor situations.

Just something to think about that may help you sleep as you figure out the cat situation.
 

FeebysOwner

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With regards to the food, about a year and a half ago my vet told me to just feed Willow the TD dry food. Big mistake. Prior to that she would eat certain wet food but she has always been a fussy eater, even as a kitten. Now she's completely addicted to the TD, and has gained weight! I've wasted hundreds of dollars in the last year trying to find a wet food for her. She just won't eat it, with the exception of some rabbit-based pouch food that is rarely available.
You could try using the TD dry food crunched up as a topper to some of the wet foods - a lot of it at first if she will eat it and then gradually reduce the amount. The other thing to try is adding some water to a small amount of the TD dry food as a test and see if she will eat it. It could get her more used to 'wet' food, and perhaps easier to convert her to some wet food.
 
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Willowwombat

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Thanks for the suggestion. I do sleep with ear plugs. Willow has the lungs of an opera singer.

So regarding the cat tent, I was looking at something bigger, like this, and wondering how you get the cat back out:

Outdoor Cat Enclosures,6-in-1 Cat Tent with Cat Tunnel for Indoor and Outdoor,Portable Cat Playpen Play Tents for Cats Rabbits Ferrets and Small Animals : Amazon.ca: Pet Supplies

And yes, the cats had 24-hour access to the balcony through a panel with a flap in it that we inserted into our sliding door.
 

FeebysOwner

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That is really nice! But, does Dude need that much space - did he run around on the balcony, or just hang out? The bigger the tent/pen, the harder to get him out. A smaller one would enable you to keep his leash on him and may give you a way to get him out if he doesn't want to come out on his own.

Can any one of them that you might get be abutted up to a door that you could open and entice him inside the home with a treat or two?
 
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Willowwombat

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No, the door to the outside is a large French door, not a slider.
 

cmshap

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Thanks for the suggestion. I do sleep with ear plugs. Willow has the lungs of an opera singer.
Can I ask which ones you use? Are they just some generic kind from the drugstore?

I found that different kinds can work very differently. I tried these and they were like night-and-day compared to other kinds I had tried before:

Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs, 33dB NRR
Amazon.com

(Side note: I still can't figure out how to post links to Amazon product pages on this forum. Whenever I do, the link redirects to another domain entirely [superoffers.com] and I can't figure out if this is just an issue on my end, like a DNS resolution error, or if it's what everyone else on TCS sees when they click my Amazon links.)
 
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