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My cat won't let me sleep

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Ok here's the deal.
I have always been a cat lover, I once owned a cat for 17 years before she passed away. I like to think I gave her a good life.

Now I have adopted another cat from my sister-in-law. He is beautiful and his name is "Scrapy". Scrapy is approx. 3 years old, male and very friendly. He is not the type of cat to sit on your lap but he will stay by your side all day.

I have had Scrapy now for 2 days and he won't let me sleep. He seems to be very comfortable around me and my wife but he meows all night long. We invite him to sleep in our room but he doesn't come. When we go to him, he loves to be pampered. But we need our sleep. What should we do??? I would feel quilty if I put him in the finished basement. But I need my sleep

Please you cat experts please help
post #2 of 20
Welcome to the site.

I feel for you, and for Scrapy. Think of it from his perspective...he is in a new home, with new people - his whole world has been rocked and he is probably still a bit unsure of his new environment. He may be looking for his old people, and doesn't understand why they aren't there anymore.

Is it dark where he is staying at night? Leaving a night light on for him may help. When we moved a couple months ago, we had to leave a night light on for our kitty Ophelia or she would cry all night, too. She was unsure of the new place and wanted to be able to see better. After a couple weeks we were able to turn off the light and she was fine all night.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure others will have suggestions for you as well.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
But is it cruel of me to put him in the basement with a light and food??
post #4 of 20
I don't know that it would be cruel. As long as he has places to hide, sleep, and play and he has food, litter and toys it shouldn't be too bad on him. I think he is just going through an adjustment period to the new home and once he gets more familiar with it he will do better. If you are going to put him in the finished basement, be sure to make that a pleasant place for him while you are awake, too, so he doesn't think of it as punishment. Play with him there, love on him, give him treats-all the good stuff in a kitty's life.

One other thought I just had, does he have full run of the house all the time, since you brought him home? Sometimes this can be a bit overwhelming to cats, too much new territory. He may not have established a "safe zone" where he feels comfortable and where he can go when he gets scared or nervous. If that's the case, perhaps making the basement his "safe zone" reinforced with positive interaction may actually be a good thing.
post #5 of 20
I travel a lot with my cats during show season. This means a lot of motel rooms filled with unfamilar sights, odors and sounds. This leaves my cats very nervous and they tend to pace and cry at night while not doing this at home. I have one suggestion, one question and one comment for you.

Suggestion one...have you tried putting a crate in your room with a nice, soft, comfy pad in it? Leave the crate door open, or even remove it completely. Show Scrapy his bed and maybe even lie on the floor next to the crate while you reassure him it's a safe place and his place, to be. You might even try feeding him his favorite treats in his crate at bedtime to give him the idea it's a cool place to be and to give him a sense of comfort.

question one...has Scrapy been neutered? Cats are nocturnal...meaning they spend more of their awake time at night rather than during the day. My boy, Nugget, who is a whole male because he is part of my Chantilly/Tiffany breeding program, will wander the house at night 'calling'. Usually, when I call him into bed, he'll come and settle down with me. If Scrapy isn't neutered, I suggest you do this very soon.

Comment: It wouldn't be 'cruel' to put Scrapy in the basement at night, of course your need for sleep is very real. However, and this is just my opinion, I feel his adjustment period will be much smoother if he's allowed to work out his emotions with you and your wife...his family. I am in total agreement with Valenhg...Scrapy needs time to adjust. He's scared, he's unsure of himself and of you. He needs comforting and a bond of trust must be formed and what better time to do that while he's pacing the house and crying? I just don't feel that placing him away from his family in yet another unfamilar part of the house is going to help him. If Scrapy becomes anxious enough, he could do substantial damage to your basement just as an outlet for his anxiety. Night lights are a good idea, as already suggested. Although cats see much better in the dark than we mere humans do, they can't see in total darkness as some people think they can.

Try to see Scrapy as a human child you have just adopted. Imagine the fear of being in a new place with new people. Imagine how lost that child would feel. Imagine the home sickness that child would feel. Yes, cats do go through home sickness. I have moved my cats so many times and have had to help some of them move their hearts from their old home to their new one.

I do hope I've helped a little. I always hesitate to help in these matters because they are very delicate and sometimes I'm afraid I hurt feelings more than I help the situation.
post #6 of 20
Is he allowed to sleep in your bed? If so, try nursing him on your chest and petting him when you go to bed and then let him leave if he wants to. He might be used to being outside at night. I know this sounds dumb but it worked with my kitty. I leave him outside till about 9pm then call him in for a late night snack. While he's eating, I close all the doors. When we go to bed, I tell him "we're all going to bed now. Come on, Barney." Then I used to pick him up and nurse him on my chest but let him go when he was ready. When he cried, I'd just pick him up and nurse him in bed again. Now, he comes to bed when we turn off lights, tv etc. Sometimes, he's first in there! Good luck with Scrappy!
Diann in Australia
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 


Get support and feedback, thank you all. I am getting a better sense of what Scrappy is going through. Bottom line is I should try and give him more attention when needed. It will be tough at night but worth it. I'm positive he will adjust and be happy in our home.

Just to fill in the blanks.

Scrappy is allowed to sleep on our bed, in fact I put him there every night so that he gets the idea that it's ok, but he doesn't stay, I guess he is just not ready and I thought my ex-girlfriend was a handful!!

As for the safezone, Scrappy has a safe zone in the guest room and I try and sleep with him there when he is restless, i.e. in the middle of the night, usually he will sleep for about an hour and then get up and be restless again.

I don't know if Scrappy has been neutered but I will ask my sister-in-law. Honestly I am not sure what that has to do with his sleeping habits?? Could it be that he is on the look out for some loving, afterall he is a guy and you know what they say about guys, we think about sex every 6 seconds But seriously, I think I need to keep him up during the day so that he is tired at night. It's challenging because I work and so does my wife. But this weekend I will try and keep him up during the day.

I will keep all you guys posted, once again, thanks for the support and advice. It's very enlightening.

I will keep you guys posted
post #8 of 20
If Scrappy isn't neutered, this will make him restless and his normal time of looking for love in all the wrong places would be at night. Running with one of your statements...one other thing you can try is getting an interactive toy such as toy on the end of a string that you and Scrappy can play with. The chasing and jumping will help to tire him, give him much needed exercise and help with the bonding process between you. He'll come to look forward to your play time together. He's your son, get out the old ball and glove and have fun with him! LOL
post #9 of 20
One of my cats loves to be outside rather then be indoors. I find that if I bring him in for the night too early then he's restless and meows all the time - he's really quite a handful when he's like that. So I leave him out until around 6pm (in between that time he comes in a couple of times for his food and attention) and then bring him in. I find he's a lot calmer then. Also, if he sleeps too much in the day time he's restless at night so I try to play with him in the day so he doesn't sleep and will be ready for bedtime later on
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry to report everyone but Scrappy is still keeping me up at night.
I have tried everything

I think I have no choice but to put him in the basement. I can't come to work tired everyday.

This weekend I will try and keep him up during the day. Let's see what happens.

Where's my pillow??
post #11 of 20
Sleepy,I have the same problem.My cat Jesperi is male too 4 years old and not neutered.Well, he doesnt keep me awake the whole night but starts making noise and jumping in and out of bed about 5am!Aaarrgh!
I´ve tried to give him so much food at evenings and hoping that he just would pass out! Lets see if that will work tonight!hehe!
post #12 of 20
One of the benefits of getting old is that you can repeat yourself without fear...because you are so old, people just shake their heads and tsk tsk in pity, LOL. So, I'm letting my age hang out and I'm going to do a repeat. :tounge2:

Once mature, at about six months of age, a female cat will have heat cycles which can be very disturbing for the cat and for her human family. Spaying will eliminate this situation.

Once mature, at about six months of age, a male cat will become...well, a man, and as Sleepy pointed out, we all know what men have on their minds about every six seconds. :tounge2: The male cat will be extremely restless, especially at night. His quest for female companionship becomes his singular driving force. He begins to chant: I must have a woman, I must have a woman I must have a woman! Most times, extra treats and food will only add pounds which will work to your disadvantage, which you will learn when jumped upon while in bed. Other tricks used to divert the male cats' attention will work...temporarily...but soon his chant will resume.

The only way to alleviate both his frustration and your desire to throw him out of a window is to neuter him. Even this isn't an immediate cure, it can take several months for his raging hormones to finally flop over and die...transforming your male cat into a quiet, loving creature. One other thing males will do (cats, anyway :tounge2 is mark their territory by spraying urine every where. Once he begins doing that, you will truly have a strong desire to throw him out the window!

So please, unless you intend to breed your lovely felines, please, please speuter. (that is a combination of spay and neuter). Their life and yours will be so much more enjoyable, relaxing and much quieter

Ok, I'm off my soap box...if you want to stone me, please be kind and use pebbles. LOL
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Here is the kicker, Scrappy is neutered!!! But he stays up meowing, meowing, meowing.

Here is his routine, sits on my sofa, meows, comes up the stays meows, comes in my bedroom moews. Walks out of my bedroom moews, I go downstairs. He sits by the front window and meows. I pet him, he stops. I pick him up bring him to the bedroom, he runs out, meow. Finally exhausted and fed up, I pick him up, his food, toys and put him in the basement. Finally peace and quiet. He meows for a few minutes but then stops.

I wake up in the morning, get him out of the basement, meow.

If he is seeking a female cat while neutered, then that is one horny cat.
post #14 of 20
There is always an exception to the rule. I have an 8 year old male that I had neutered when he was six weeks old. Whenever one of my Chantilly/Tiffany females comes into heat, he breeds her...which is perfectly ok with me because he knocks her out of heat if I'm not ready for her to breed. I've made him a part of my Chantilly/Tiffany Cattery. The other males are jealous because he's the only one allowed to hang out with the girls!

It sounds to me that Scrappy's bedtime routine will need to include the basement, at least for a while anyway. If he quiets down after a few minutes of 'fussing' after being put to bed in the basement, then he seems to be accepting his exile just fine. If it works for both of you, then go with it. Maybe during the weekend when sleep isn't such a necessity, you can work with him on Friday and Saturday nights...but don't push it until you are totally exhausted and annoyed...Scrappy will sense that and it will complicate the problem. If after a reasonable time he hasn't settled, put him to bed in the basement with a hug and a pat so he knows he's loved and you are still friends.
post #15 of 20
Hey Sleepy! I haven't been over in the behavior forum for a while - sorry I missed this thread!

...and I'm also sorry, but I had to laugh. I certainly don't mean to laugh at the expense of your much needed sleep (!), but boy.... My hubby and I are new to cats. A feral mom made a nest near us, so of course kittens showed up! We ended up adopting two of them to be indoor pets. The rest we've been caring for (outside), and we're in the process now of trying to find homes for them. (Now that we've finally gotten them friendly to people).

Neither of us had ever had a cat before. And when we first brough in Lazlo and Shelly we just had to wonder again, and again, and again - and again, and AGAIN! Are ALL cat parents sleep deprived?

For us, it didn't make a whole lot of difference because Gary has insomnia and we often keep strange hours for work - so we just kind of live in a sleep deprived mode and try to make up for it when we can. ...but what little sleep we managed to get somehow always seemed to get interrupted.

Our problem was that they were kittens. Now that they're older, they've adjusted to our schedule, and just recently started sleeping almost through the night with us. But it was a rough three months! Now it's Gary's turn to wake them up!

I think you'll all be just fine if the basement is going to be Scrappy's bedroom. I agree with Heidi - just make sure it is a place that he doesn't associate with "banishment." Spend time there with him, and make sure he's got toys, food, water, litterbox, some light etc.

You know - don't just stick him down there alone and in the dark. As I'm sure you know, unlike dogs, cats are driven by territory, not people. It would be nice if you could help him make it his territory before he is left alone. If you have his bed, or stuff with his smell already on it, that will help him make the basement his.

Poor Scrappy. He misses his home - his old territory, and perhaps his old people. With love and time, he'll come around. Until then, help him make the basement his own, and when you're no longer sleep deprived, your unfrustrated love will do the rest.


Good Luck! And I'm sure others agree with me, we'd love it if you could keep us posted!

Until recently sleepy,

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey Everyone

Guess what, I finally got some sleep!!! Yes, Scrappy actually didn't make any noise last night!!! Let's hope he keeps it up. What did it you may ask??? Well let's just say Scrappy and my wife's Garfield doll are going to have to get married and you are all invited. (kidding).

Actually I found out the problem, Scrappy wants to go out in the middle of the night but I am too afraid to do that for two reasons.
A) He is still very new to the area
B) He was de-clawed from his previous owner so his defenses would be down. I am in complete agreement you guys, I don't believe cats should be de-clawed.


During the day I allow him to go out on to the balcony, it may be small but at least he gets some fresh air.


Well I was a little stern with him on Saturday night when he was meowing like crazy. I showed him I was upset and put him in the basement, but don't worry, I made sure he had light, toys, food etc...When I got up Sunday morning (going on your advice) I gave him alot of attention in the basement.

Anyhow, lets hope he keeps it up.
post #17 of 20
Good to hear! Hope it continues. Hmmm...if your cat continues with this good behaviour, you will have to change your user name, won't you?

post #18 of 20
Glad to hear something worked! I'm sure once he gets used to you, your home, and your schedule he will be OK, and so will your sleep!

Please keep us posted!
post #19 of 20
Ok, what we used to do (and still do for Shorty) is just close the doors. She doesn't whine a whole lot, she is a very quiet cat considering, but she has a breathing problem, so you can hear her when she is at the door wanting in. I found that she likes to crawl, walk and upset everything in my room...she doesn't do it in any other room, and I thought you know, if she can see that it's dark out/you are trying to sleep, etc etc, maybe she'll go to sleep too! WRONG!! The one nite I let her sleep in my room, she was up like every 20 minutes, and she wouldn't leave anything alone! So now, she sleeps out in the living room/computer room, or sometimes in the spare room. I find it also helps to have her outside for a while, even a bit helps. It also helps that we can just leave the cats outside for however long, we only live in a small town, although she always wants in. I just close my door, and she eventually figures it out that everyone is sleeping, and goes to sleep too. Our other two cats liked to sleep in bed with you, but they were male and fixed, so that may have had something to do with it. Shorty is female and not fixed yet. Anyways, maybe this will help, it's just an idea
post #20 of 20
All of these are acceptable ideas from expierenced folks. have only one other idea. Is it possible to get a piece of clothing, or somthing that has our sister inlaws sent, or who eve this baby favored and put it in his own crate/sleeping area to him him get over the hump?

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