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HELP!12 year-old cat attacking pregnant Mom at night!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So I'm at a total loss.
My wonderful cat, who has slept next to my head on the pillow for 12 years has in the last few months started to bite and scratch my hands, arms and shoulders, WHILE I'M ASLEEP. Or falling asleep. It's normal for us to go to bed with his paw on my hand, but otherwise, I'm not aware of doing anything in the moment that would cause the attack.

This is made worse by the fact that I have a 2 yr. old who is regularly waking up at night, and I'm 7 months pregnant. Sleep deprived doesn't even begin to describe my state of exhaustion.

My cat only attacks me. Sometimes in the morning, he goes for my husband's ankles-- but nothing like the attacks on me at night. He leaves my daughter alone. He is very affectionate with me during the day and large portions of the night.

Having my daughter 2 years ago coincided with the tragic death of our other cat 3 weeks later (liver failure--truly awful). Those first 3-4 months were also the only extended time Fresco wasn't allowed in our bedroom-- doctor's orders. As soon as the baby was in her own room, we let Fresco back in to ours.

Thoughts or suggestions? I tried twice to hold Fresco down at the scruff of his neck and to say "no" immediately. I heard that this is how cat mommies chastise their kittens. Not only is this not working, it feels too physical and just plain WRONG. I'm not going back to that!

My husband and I keep resigning ourselves to kicking Fresco out of the bedroom for a part or all of the night after he attacks. But this doesn't prevent the attacks from coming, he cries and scratches at the door, and I miss my wonderful cat sleeping next to me!

So I need a KIND way of dealing with my cat. I need to save my arms, my sleep and my sanity.

Help, PLEASE!!!
post #2 of 5
It sounds like a bit of feeling neglected. I don't know enough about the situation, but could it be he is not receiving the personal attention he use to? He sounds like part of the family, but any one who feels a bit put aside suddenly is going to reach out for attention, right? Of course the best time to do this is when you are trying to sleep, undivided attention then........ Is there any way you could give him some personal time before you go to sleep? Praise him, talk, play, let him know how much you love him...There is no aggression towards your daughter or pregnancy, this is something to praise him for! He just misses you!
post #3 of 5
Since the cat is older, 12 years old, has he been to a vet?
Anytime behavior changes a lot it's a good idea to rule out health problems.
It's also certainly possibly that your scent has changed some. Maybe at night you're sweating more or moving and it's setting him off?

Aside from a vet visit and moving him out of your room at night, I don't know what other options there are.
post #4 of 5
Your cat is probably well aware of your pregnancy, and may be a bit jealous in advance, and/or you may be showing signs of stress when you're asleep because of it and the cat's 'worried' about that, trying to wake you so you'll maybe breathe more 'normally', etc. Is there any way (I know it's hard when you're half asleep!) to stroke and reassure him even for a minute when he wakes you? I know it seems odd considering you're being scratched, but he doesn't think of it that way of course!
post #5 of 5
Some cats do respond to pregnant women. I had a pregnant friend over here a few weeks ago and 3 of my cats wouldn't leave her alone.

When my cats have done things like this to me, I firmly place them by my side and snuggle them into place. I get my arm firmly wrapped around them and don't allow them to move very far. If they don't like it, they leave. If they do like it, they calm down.

I had a pillow sleeper cat and I know how hard it would be to kick him out of the room at night. It might be your last resort.
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