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Cat driving us crazy

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello all! This is my first post and I didn't know where else to turn. I really hope that some of you very knowledgeable can help my wife and I with our problems.

First, a little background information. We have two cats which are about 2 and 3 years old. The older cat has been doing this (the problem that I will get to) off and on since she was about a year old. We recently (last month) moved into a new house.

Finally to the problem. Our older cat Meow Meow (yes thats her name) has a big problem with ALWAYS wanting to eat food. We only feed her in the morning and the evening and she is ALWAYS begging for food. We can't leave too much food or water in the dish because she will continuously eat and drink al day long! She hangs out by the bathroom (where her food is at) all day long and when people walk by she "meows" really loud and runs into the bathroom. We have tried EVERYTHING (spray bottle, shaking a can of coins, scaring with the vacuum, etc...) and after she runs away she is back just minutes later begging again for food. We have tried lots of different foods to help her "fill up" but she just loves to eat and never seems full.

This is our main problem with her, but its creating other problems which are just as bad if not worse. She has now began to "swat" or "scratch" (even though she is de-clawed) on our bedroom in the early morning hours just to wake us up. Our door is always open so its not her trying to get in, she just wants to wake us up to feed her. It is becoming unbearable and really ruining our sleep. We have tried all sorts of things to scare her off and discourage her but they are only temporary fixes as she does it again just minutes later. We live in an apartment and don't really have any other rooms that we can lock her in so that she we don't hear her.

We have caved in a few times and fed her but we try our best to just scare her away. Our other cat has NEVER done anything like this and I don't know what we can do to get our lives (sleep) back.
What can we do to break her of these bad habits?

Thanks for reading, and please help us!
post #2 of 10
Is Meow Meow over weight? If not you might want to get her checked by a vet for hypothyroidism. This can cause her to be constantly hungry but not gain weight. No matter if she is over weight or not, I still would talk to a vet about it and see what they have to say. It also concerns me that she constantly wants to drink as well.
If there is a physical problem then your taking care of it will help with the behavior problems as well.
Sorry I can't give more advice. I am sure others will come along later and have more advice to give you.
I am glad you are seeking out help and not giving up on her. Hang in there.
post #3 of 10
Hi and welcome! I completely understand your situation! Maia would be 100 pounds if it was up to her! Her food and water is in the kitchen and Of course every approach toward the kitchen creates begging!
The first thing I thought of reading your thread was the fact of having the food and water in a high traffic area. I know for a fact that Maia's excessive begging for food is really one of her trying to get attention moves! I also have givin in and fed her when she does this, but know that this only encourages the behavior! It really is a behavioral pattern that stems from you feeding and becomes about the attention they receive in the process of. Maia also wakes me up trying to get me to feed her, heaven help me if I need to use the bathroom in the middle of sleep!!!! I simply ignore her attempts and some nights, although few, have done so without harassment. I do believe in these cases the location of food,water, litter is a big issue! High traffic areas often stimulate or encourage this behavior.
Of course health issue should be excluded first.
post #4 of 10
Welcome to the site. I feel for you because I have this problem with my big boy. He will do anything to cause noise to wake us up Unfortunately we caved in way too many times. Eventhough he has a set amount of food - it doesn't seem to be on his schedule. Please call you vet and get some advice. I would not recommend dealing with it the way that I have (giving in) because I created a monster.
post #5 of 10
I am a little new to this site also, and what brought me to it was since we have had our 6 year old Abby, we have feed her meow mix dry cat food and about 1/2 can of can food about every other day. We just recently adopted a new kitty, Callie and I was doing some research on the best foods for your cats. Came across this several times. Yes, you do get what you pay for. They say that these sort of foods (vs. Premium Brand) don't have the nutrition, proper balance and ingrediants that a cat really needs and so they will eat more of the "junk" cat food. If you feed Premium foods, although they are more expensive, cats will eat less of the Premium foods. I have decided to try my cats on Natural Balance. The reason for this brand is it rated among the top three and is available to me locally (not really, i will have to drive 2 hours to Petco to get it). I can't get the other top 2 brands without having to order them and have delivered. ($ Ouch). Just a thought for ya. Good luck.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies everyone

As much as I hate to say it, Meow Meow is over weight, but not too bad. Since being more strict about her portions over the last few months she has been staying at an average weight which is just a little heavy for her.

I guess I should explain myself when I say we have caved in a couple of times. When I mean a couple of times, it is just that. In the last 2 years I would say that we have only given into her wants 7-9 times.

Also, we have tried many different foods as suggested by our vet, but this cat just wants to eat. Our other one eats its set amount of food and is completely content.

Last night was particularly difficult. She woke us up (by swatting on the door) at 4, 5, and around 6:30 in the morning. During the 1st one we tried to pretend like we were asleep and ignored it. She did it off and on for two or three minutes. Then at 5 O'clock she did it again but for just a short period of time and we threw a pillow in her direction which caused her to stop. When the 6 O'clock swatting happened I ended up getting out of bed, following the cat to the bathroom (where her food is at), and giving her 3 swats of my own to her back. She let off a nice merowwww and ran out of the room and we went back to bed without any other problems....that is until I woke up and the cat would not come anywhere near me. She would run away if I walked up towards her, and she was scared to death of me.

Its not my intention to scare the cat and make her hate me, but giving her those 3 little swats to the back stopped her from bothering us. I didn't hit her hard by any means, and I think she was more scared then in pain. It took her about 30 minutes after we woke up to come back into the room, and now everything is fine with her.

I don't want to have to punish her in that way every time she wakes us up, but do you think that if I do it just a couple of times, that she will be too afraid to swat on our door and bed for food?
post #7 of 10
Swatting your cat won't help at all it will do more harm then anything as you said she is now scared of you after swatting her.Most cats are grazer they like to eat a few bites then come back for more later on.Try feeding her more often but lesser amounts. You said that you don't leave much water down as she will drink it all? Cats should have free access to water at all times.Always leave water for your cats.I have never heard of a cat drinking to much water unless they have a problem. Kidney problems,Diabetic ect. If she is drinking so much water that you feel its a enormous amount then have the cat checked for any health problems. I'm wondering if shes just wanting a drink if you don't leave fresh water down at all times? Cats should be encourage to drink water unless its way over the normal amount.
But swatting does no good so please try another way to get he to stop waking you so early..Maybe she just wants in your bedroom?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gardenandcats View Post
Swatting your cat won't help at all it will do more harm then anything as you said she is now scared of you after swatting her.Most cats are grazer they like to eat a few bites then come back for more later on.Try feeding her more often but lesser amounts. You said that you don't leave much water down as she will drink it all? Cats should have free access to water at all times.Always leave water for your cats.I have never heard of a cat drinking to much water unless they have a problem. Kidney problems,Diabetic ect. If she is drinking so much water that you feel its a enormous amount then have the cat checked for any health problems. I'm wondering if shes just wanting a drink if you don't leave fresh water down at all times? Cats should be encourage to drink water unless its way over the normal amount.
But swatting does no good so please try another way to get he to stop waking you so early..Maybe she just wants in your bedroom?
The bedroom door is always wide open. She just swats at it to wake us up to feed her.

Is there any other way to "train" her without inflicting pain, as there are with dogs? If you have ever watched The Dog Whisperer you know that he trains dogs by giving them a little flick/nudge every now and then which doesn't hurt them, but teaches them. Is there anything like that for cats (such as a flick on the nose or something of that nature) which will not cause any harm, but will let them know that what they are doing is not acceptable (such as the swatting at the door)?
post #9 of 10
I'm going to repeat some points others have made, and then make a suggestion.

First, cats should have access to fresh water 24/7. If you believe she's drinking excessively, it's imperative to have her checked for a physical ailment such as diabetes. Denying access to water will solve nothing, and may be contributing to her morning disturbances.

I assume that the bathroom is closer to the bedroom than the kitchen or living room, for instance. Try to break the association between food and the bathroom by feeding her in an area farther away from the bedroom. By feeding her close to the bedroom, you're inviting her to wake you up for food.

Since her behavior is most disturbing in the early morning hours, invest in an automatic feeder with a timer, for example, something like this: http://www.mightypets.com/subcat.asp?0=619 Shop around, because prices really vary. You can get small ones for just a meal or two, which will hold dry or wet food. Fill it before you go to bed, and set it to open at the time she usually wakes you up. If you get one for two meals, you could divide the food into two small portions, and set the compartments to open about an hour apart. She'll soon learn what time it opens, and will hang around that part of the apartment, waiting for her meal to be served.

Be prepared for her to try to get the food out of it, or to break it.

Good luck!
post #10 of 10
Hi, I'm having a little trouble with something - is there a reason why you can't divide up her food (however much it is) into at least two meals, so she doesn't feel so deprived in the evenings? Maybe start out giving her 2/3 of her usual amt in the a.m., and 1/3 later, then gradually make it half and half. Most cats are fairly active at night (even if we're not always aware of it) and can feel pretty hungry after a busy day with nothing at all in the pm.
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