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Pleasepleasepleaseplease HELP! :( - We need sleep

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are having a *horrible* time with one of our cats. At around 3 am every night, he begins scratching on the walls of our bedroom. He used to tap the blinds on the windows to wake us up, now he simply claws the crap out of the walls.

Not only do I desperately need a good night's sleep, but he's tearing up my walls too. We have tried everything I can possibly think of, I can't even figure out why he keeps doing this. He's so used to either being sprayed with the water bottle or yelled at, that he immediately bolts the second one of us sits up in bed, but then he's back and doing it again as soon as we fall back asleep.

I'm just getting to the point where I am seriously starting to dislike this animal, I used to like him so much but ever since this behavior started he is nothing but a problem. My wife and I both have to be up early to work, and being woken up frequently starting at 3 am is not doing much for us sleep-wise.

Help!
post #2 of 20
Is it possible that there is a mouse in the wall that the cat is trying to get? Is the cat neutered? Are there other cats outside the window? Give us a clearer picture of what is going on in the environment and about the cat so we can give you some more informed ideas.

In the meantime, why not just keep the door shut so the cat cannot come into the bedroom?
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Is it possible that there is a mouse in the wall that the cat is trying to get?
While possible, I doubt this is the reason. I've never seen evidence of mice. He also does this on the closet door, when the closet door is open.

Quote:
Is the cat neutered?
Yep.

Quote:
Are there other cats outside the window?
Nope.

Quote:
In the meantime, why not just keep the door shut so the cat cannot come into the bedroom?
Because instead of scratching on the bedroom walls and closet door, he will scratch on the bedroom door and howl.

Thanks for the reply.
post #4 of 20
If this behavior is brand new- your cat might do well to go to the vet and get a check-up. It could be that you have critters in your walls, just because you don't see or hear them, does not mean they might not exist. The same goes if there are ferals outside, you may not see the cats, but they could be there regardless.

Spray the area the cat is reacting to with a lemon-scented air freshener to keep kitty away. But please take the cat to the vet as well. This type of behavior could be health related.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If this behavior is brand new- your cat might do well to go to the vet and get a check-up.
It hasn't been that long since both cats were at the vets for shots and checkups, but this is a good idea.

Quote:
It could be that you have critters in your walls, just because you don't see or hear them, does not mean they might not exist.
In addition to the 2 cats, we also have 2 ferrets. If there were mice I'm pretty positive that I would have found a slain one by now. Them ferrets can get to places you wouldn't believe.

Quote:
The same goes if there are ferals outside, you may not see the cats, but they could be there regardless.
I've only ever seen two cats outside, both of which belong to neighbors. Also, he isn't scratching anywhere near a window.

The cat is *EXTREMELY* affectionate and people dependant, this is the cat who cries himself hoarse anytime we leave town. We think perhaps he wants us to get up and pay attention to him, being an attention glutton perhaps even negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Once again, thanks for the reply.
post #6 of 20
Sounds to me like he wants your attention. Something any smart and demanding cat would do.
Roll up the shades and put a curtain or towel over your window, that doesn't make noise. Leave your door open.

Or put the cat in another room behind a closed door, give him toys /water, trim his claws very well or put those soft caps? on them. So he can't destroy your wall/door.

Does he want to sleep with you on your bed, if so, do you let him?

I still say bring him to the vet, and voice your concern.
post #7 of 20
If you could get old carpet pieces and attach them to the wall at least the wall would be safe! Does he have a very tall scratching post? Something he can stretch out and scratch? Make sure to trim his nails to minimise damage.
Perhaps you could invest in earplugs to block the noise.
Maybe there is a reflection or shadow on the wall? Closing the curtains may block whatever he sees.
I'm not sure what else to suggest...sorry!
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Roll up the shades and put a curtain or towel over your window, that doesn't make noise. Leave your door open.
Another good idea, but he has given up on the blinds and now scratches on the wall. I will try the lemon-scented spray another poster had mentioned, I also had some Bitter Apple that I use to keep the ferrets out of certain areas. Perhaps this will work as well, although I must admit that coating the wall of my bedroom in Bitter Apple doesn't sound too appealing.

Quote:
Or put the cat in another room behind a closed door, give him toys /water, trim his claws very well or put those soft caps? on them. So he can't destroy your wall/door.
Unfortunately this will lead to howling, so even if we stop him from keeping us awake with scratching he will keep us awake by howling.

Quote:
Does he want to sleep with you on your bed, if so, do you let him?
Every single night he has his spot on the bed between my wife and I.

Thanks for the reply.

I read on another site that excessive playing to wear him out right before bed might cure the problem. The only issue with this is that the article said to play with him until he is laying on his side batting at it, which is about all that lazy cat does anyways.
post #9 of 20
I am sorry I don't have even a small solution. I do have a similar situation. I am a terribly light sleeper. And I have a cat (Trouble) that does the same thing. Sometimes she just stands at the closet door and digs, sometimes the walls. Sometimes she hops on the bed right next to my head and meows in a loud and pitiful voice. Sometimes she tries to get herself in the mirror on my dresser. All of which wakes me up in one form or another. This is an everynight occurance. Woe to me the light sleeper.

Some things that make it better: I have a nature sound machine. I turn it on and up. It helps block out some of the noises. I keep the cats claws clipped (once every two weeks) so there is no damage to walls or doors. I keep the doors open (my other cat hates the doors closed), and when the incessant mewing starts. I grab her and cuddle her up with me under then blankets. This quiets her, and allows me some peace a quiet.

I have found no luck in the ignoring her thing. She just gets more persistant until I react. I think it comes down to her wanting attention. So, I give it to her. I have actually started to master the art of half asleep petting. *grin* My other cat, god bless her, is nice and quiet at sleepy time.

Hope this offers some help.
post #10 of 20
Iv had the same trouble with my cat Macy. She did some of the same things you had described here. My vet said eventhough a cat is fixed, there may still be "leftover" hormones still in the body causing an imbalance and in turn causing behavioral problems. Macy used to wake me up meowing and hitting the vertical blinds with her paws. She has'nt showed any other signs in about 8 months. Iv had her a year. It could have possibly fixed itself. This may be the case with your cat as well. Hope this helped.

Chris
post #11 of 20
Over these... 3 years that I have had Asim... He has gone through the whole howling thing, amonng others. He has anxiety and depression issues. So it's a pretty serious thing for me to deal with. Asim has learned to stop howling so early, and to stop howling when I put him in his room for the night. He might make noise when my fiance wakes up at 8, reminding us "ok I'm here, let me out so I can greet you!"

I'm not saying this is what you should do exactly, as it's not best for every owner and every cat. But it's up to you, as it has worked for us.
Asim sleeps at the other side of the house from us behind a closed door and when/if he does howl at night while we are sleeping it's not enough to wake us up, and I'm a light sleeper.

Excerize can be a good idea... but it can be hard to accomplish, often cats will play in 'spurts' and never really wear themselves out.

Calming/comfort solutions are really your best idea for this. If nothing phsyically turns out to be wrong.

One thing I can say, is that your cat might shy away from his behavor for a while, might stop entirely or could come back years down the line. Or she could be like this all her life. Cats change just like people, and they will act out, just like people.
post #12 of 20
There was something about a snuggle kitty. I think it is on the home page here. It may help.
post #13 of 20
How about double-sided tape on the piece of wall where he's scratching? At least it might protect the wall. . .
post #14 of 20
The Snuggle Kitty that Teresa mentioned is a great product. Here is a review of the product and ordering info. Mention The Cat Site and get 10% off!

Could you sleep with some classical music playing lightly in your room? This has a calming effect on many kitties. How dark is it in your room? If it is very dark (and especially if kitty is getting up there in years) he may be uncomfortable. Kitties can be scared of the dark, too. Perhaps the solution could be as simple as a night light.

First thing's first, though. Make sure he is healthy. Many behaviour problems are really just cats trying to tell us that something is wrong. They just don't know how.
post #15 of 20
I have a similar prob with my Merlin. I try now to tire him out before bed and give him extra snuggles and for the most part he now leaves me alone. Can you set up a nice spot for him in the basement with toys, food, etc that he can be enclosed in? If it is kitty anxiety he may require kitty antidepressants (Sugarly is on them daily).
post #16 of 20
Earplugs work well. My 3 cats run around my very small house all night long.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses folks, they were much appreciated.

We tried to easiest idea first, and that was simply to play with both cats until they're utterly exhausted right before we go to bed. These past two nights he hasn't repeated the scratching so perhaps we have discovered the solution.

Thanks for all the feedback and ideas, we can once again sleep through the night.
post #18 of 20
Suki is the same at night, so we keep her downstairs, she can't get up because of the stairs door. She howled at first but we ignored her and she so gave up.

Try keeping the cat out of the room all night, get some ear muffs/plugs and ignore him. He may well get bored and give in.
post #19 of 20
You may want to ban him from the bedroom and close the door. He will learn he is not to come in without permission. He may scratch at the door some, but you can just tell him no along with his name.

It works with my tomcat when he thinks I will let him in.

The idea of playing with him to tire him out is a good idea. Some of this behavior is probably due to the nocturnal nature of cats. So when you played with him you got his body clock more in tune with yours.
post #20 of 20
Why don't you try closing the bedroom door?
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