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Harriet = Alarm Clock

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,
I am new here to discuss a quite annoying ritual which has developed with my cat, Harriet. She is a sweet 10 month old black and tabby short hair. She loves to snuggle and play, eats about 1/2 - 3/4 cups of food per day (weighs 8.5 lbs). SHe has also been spayed several months ago.

My dilemma:
Harriet is the most annoying thing in the world at 7-8 AM. She runs around wildly jumping on and off furniture and knocking things off tables. She paws the heat vent which makes a loud "CLANG" sound (which she will do over and over again). Last but not least, she meows non-stop until we wake up.

I love Harriet with all of my heart and she completes my family, though I am losing patience. She has been doing this for months now, but I refuse to take her to the SPCA. I have done almost anything I can think of and nothing works. I have taken her to the vet, shes perfectly fine. I spray her with a squirt bottle - only works for a few minutes, never works long term. I've given her treats when she behaves in the mornings. I've yelled at her, I've ignored her. NOTHING WORKS.

Anyone have any ideas?
post #2 of 11
In my house, Callie = Alarm Clock at anywhere between 5:30 -6:30 in the morning!! She knows my alarm goes off at 6, so she's ready to eat! She eats when I go to bed, then doesn't usually get up to eat during the night, so she's ready for breakfast. If it annoys you, get an automatic feeder and see if that helps.

post #3 of 11
Consistency. Ignore her, get yourself some earplugs. She's been trained now and knows what wakes you up, so it's going to take some time.

Before you go to bed at night make sure there is nothing she can get to. My wife and I have had to start doing this ritual every night before we go to bed. We look for loose string, packaging material, any empty glasses we missed during the day, etc. And if he starts behaving goofy or erratically we do our best to just ignore him unless he finds something new (he's recently taken to going into our cabinets. I'm in the process of putting velcro tabs on the doors so he can't open them anymore).

I think it's done out of boredom more than anything else. We will also leave a toy or two out and keep the blinds up about 12 inches on our porch door so he can stare out the window when he gets bored, and in place of the cabinets I've just tonight set his carrier out in his little corner where we keep all of his things so he can go in/out of that to his hearts content.
post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
In my house, Callie = Alarm Clock at anywhere between 5:30 -6:30 in the morning!!
Same here - Mosi = Alarm clock at around 5.30am. I've tried explaining to him that meowmy would really like more than 5 hours sleep a night but he's not having any of it.

I think Harriet is probably just full of beans after sleeping all night. Do you have to time have a short play session with her at that time? It might help her burn up some of that energy and calm her down a bit. Then I agree with Jokieman - ignore her consistently so that she realises she won't get attention from you with that behaviour. At 10 months she's still a baby so will likely calm down as she gets older and be less hyper in the mornings.
post #5 of 11
I think you're quite lucky if you don't get disturbed until 7 or 8am!!!

Cats are most active early in the morning and late in the evening, it's not really a behavioural problem as such, it's their natural behaviour. As others have said, get some earplugs and ignore her, don't reward her behaviour by reacting to her.
post #6 of 11
My kitty--also named Harriet--used to do the same thing; she would paw underneath the door and start ripping up the carpet (we rent, which = a definite no no for the carpet!). I've tried several things that work--

1.) A really active play session before bed with her favorite toy, Da Bird--this toy is AMAZING..it looks like a real flying bird and makes a noise like a flying bird--she goes beserk over it and it really tires her out (we put it away in the closet when it's not in use, because she'll literally rip it to shreds when it's out; also, the cord can pose a choking hazard when she's unsupervised)

2.) We've started letting her sleep with us; we leave the door open and ignore her when she starts becoming active in the morning; she has learned to get up and feed herself (we leave food in her bowl all night). This has made her sleep in a little later, at least until we get up at 7 AM (she used to start howling at 5:30). I think she just really wanted to be with us at night, and she is a good sleeper throughout the night.

but basically, cats will be cats, and it's part of their genetic makeup to be nocturnal. Try to get her onto your schedule by scheduling three, active play sessions (morning, noon, night), and maybe feed her a tidbit of canned food before bed so she'll have a full tummy.

Good luck!
post #7 of 11
Our alarm clocks (Billy & Sadie) go off at 7am. This is our schedule 5 days a week, but their schedule runs 7 days a week. They want their breakfast even if their mama's are trying to sleep in.

I get up both Saturday and Sunday morning, trudge out to feed them breakfast, give as much love as I can, and then go back to bed but not before closing the bedroom door. They keep pretty quiet until about 9:30 and at that point they think they need to eat dry food in the bedroom instead of from their other bowl in the kitchen! Cats will be Cats and kittens will be even more playful.

I agree it's not behavorial, she's on a schedule and she wants attention! Good luck!
post #8 of 11
Oh, to have a cat that wakes you at SEVEN!

Gizmo had to be trained not to bother me at 2, 3, and 4 AM. She can count to five because she consistently wakes me at that time (when the chiming clock sounds five times.)

Yes, I want her to do this.
post #9 of 11
Using a squirt bottle isn't going to do a darn thing. A cat learns positive behavior by being shown that positive behavior. Spraying a cat with a squirt bottle is like trying to teach a child math by shouting at them: 2 + 2 does NOT equal 5, then never giving them the real answer. If you don't teach them what is right, they will never learn the lesson.

You have a kitten that is in her teenage years with a lot of energy. Morning time is always an active time for cats. She'll get over this, but only if you are really persistent and don't give into her antics. Harriet's mom gave good advice.
post #10 of 11
Gypsy literally walks back and forth across my chest at 6 am sharp. I've learned to completely ignore her and not get out of bed till she settles down. After a few minutes, if I don't pay attention, she gives up.

I did have to resort to the dreaded squirt bottle once. She had gotten into the habit of screaming loudly by the bed for up to half an hour, and you couldn't help but react after a while. Even our negative attention just kept reinforcing the behavior with her. The squirt bottle was pretty effective, probably since I have never needed to reprimand her for anything else.

Now she just waits till after I get up to start yelling at me.
post #11 of 11
Mosi has re-set his alarm clock for 4am the past few days I'd give anything for him to wake me up at 7am! He can be as lively as he likes then. And of course he wakes Jaffa who's a good boy and would otherwise sleep in his bed until my alarm goes off. You should have seen me this morning hiding under the covers from the pair of them Jaffa was purring loud enough to wake the dead and Mosi was poking me under the duvet. Soooo tired today.
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