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Destructive in the Morning

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

This is my first post here and Im hoping to get a little bit of help on the situation I have with my cat Rascal (his name fits him!). He is about 2 years old an I brought him in off the street after a dog had put a big gash in his back. He is an inside only cat but always tries to go outside. Ive found a lot of useful information but I havent found anyone with a similar situation so far so here goes:

I used to live on my own with him and the situation is still the same after I moved back to the parents house. My mom is particular about her furniture so Rascal has to stay in my room at night so that he isnt running around unsupervised. This is usually OK as he sleeps in the bed with me and is usually asleep the whole night. He has 24 hour access to his litter, food, and water. The problem is every morning around the time that I wake up for work (~7:00AM) he wakes up before me and jumps on my desk and starts knocking things off. He will do this constantly until I let him out of the room. He does not do this when Im not there and he is in my room by himself. He only does it to wake me up and its like he knows it will wake me up. This is upsetting because I dont like to wake up at 7:00AM on the weekend and plus I can never put anything on the desk that I dont want on the floor. I think he knows what he is doing is wrong because if I yell at him and get up he runs away. Sometimes I have to just wake up and put him in a different room until I actually want to get up. At times he has gotten pretty combative and will actually go on the offensive and attack me after I yell "NO" at him.

I must say that he has a general obsession with knocking things off of high places, especially cups with liquids in them. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can curb this behavior?

Besides what I mentioned above he also seems to be bi-polar (hehe). He could be all lovey one minute and attack mode the next. Also towards the end of the day he will try to swat at people's legs. He doesnt seem to do this in the morning. I'm going to try the spray bottle technique on this behavior but I would appreciate any suggestions about waking me up.

post #2 of 15
How about just not leaving stuff out in the first place?
post #3 of 15
You've probably seen some posts about how cats like routine and seem to have internal clocks that "know" when it's time to get up...and cats don't know from weekends: every day is a weekend to them. At 7 a.m., you are "supposed" to get up and pet Rascal or let him out or whatever you normally do, and he is letting you know in a typical cat way that it's that time again.

By reacting, even negatively, you are reinforcing his behavior: he wants you up - lo and behold, you DO get up - maybe you're yelling this time instead of petting him or opening the door, but you're up. He's probably confused as to why you don't act the same way every time!

Escalating the "punishment" with a spray bottle will probably not work. It will just confuse him more and lead to further aggressive behavior.

I suggest that you remove breakables and noisies from the shelves, as was suggested above, and ignore him when he tries to wake you up when you don't want to be awakened. It will take a while because he's used to getting results, but eventually he'll realize you aren't getting up. If you're lucky, he'll come to check you out and, if he does so quietly, pet him - that rewards "quiet" behavior - but still don't get up until you are ready to.
post #4 of 15
My Nacho is also very hyper in early mornings.Try playing with Rascal in the mornings.I think as he gets used to where he lives things would get better.Cats have this hunting instict and that's why they run around.
post #5 of 15
My cat gets in destructive moods where I wake up and everything is on the floor overnight or when I come home from work every drawer in the house is open and sometimes the drawer with pictures in it is emptied. They just get into things. He knocks things over because he knows that once he does, you're up, whether you need to be or not. Start yelling at him when he does then not getting up for a few, and that may not work. If you don't want it knocked over, it may come down to just not leaving it out. It's like having a child, if you don't want them to have it, hide it. Best is if you can catch it mid-act and say no, so he knows that's what you're saying no to. Once he's done knocking things over, he doesn't realize that's why you're yelling. (As I write, Seamus is eyeing my soda to knock over )

Sometimes cats want affection and then realize they've had enough very quickly and their way of saying enough is to swat or give a polite little nip... mine does it all the time. Just take as a cue of enough or try to notice other subtle cues that enough is enough before he gets into attack mode, a dirty look, a quick head turn toward your hand, they do give cues.

The acting up at night is normal. Give him a good play session at night to burn some of that energy. If I don't play with Seamus at night he gets very jumpy and will attack his tail or my face in the bed for entertainment. The spray bottle won't work, in my opinion. I thought about trying it and realized with water, he just gets mad and runs... He won't know why he's getting sprayed, just that he doesn't like it, (or in some cases I've read they like it!) Redirect the behavior, yell NO or OW real loud when he goes at the legs or a time out where you ignore him for 10 minutes.

Just be patient, some of it is age... my cat is two and has been having a terrible twos phase. They have energy to burn and it becomes our job to provide outlets for that. I've found overall the best solution for bad behavior has always been a loud, stern NO and about 5-10 minutes of ignore time, he's usually running and giving me cat kisses and hugs when I get mad because he knows it'll be all better once he calms down.

I hope this helps
post #6 of 15
You've just described my Geronimo - the "demon" cat who has "issues"!

First of all, put the breakable stuff away, until he outgrows it. Geronimo used to be just horrible in the mornings - running around and knocking everything over. He's still a little demon, but he doesn't knock stuff over too much anymore. I just put the stuff away, until he got over most of his rowdiness. Geronimo also used to pester us most of the night and early in the morning: we just ignored him, until he got the point! He doesn' pester us anymore, b/c he knows his persistance isn't going to pay off. He will still run around like a looney first thing in the morning after I get up, but I take care of that by playing "fetch" w/ him (he really does play fetch - just like a dog! He'll even bring the ball back to you and drop it at your feet!). He'll run out of energy after about half an hour of playing fetch and will calm down, and he's also happy & satisfied b/c he got some "special" attention. For the rest of the day, he's usually more well-behaved (with the exception of terrorizing Gabriel: I'm STILL working on that! .).

When Rascal misbehaves, he's most likely just trying to get Meowmy's attention: just ignore him - he'll get the point! Unless it's something really drastic: then you might need to "punish" him: I used to put Geronimo in a room by himself - he hated that! But it worked pretty efficiently, and he'd be better behaved when I let him back out..

Cats are like kids: if you "reward" them for bad behavior, they'll continue to misbehave. Be stern, and be persistant: he'll get the point!

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Ive already packed away the breakables. He mostly knocks my computer mouse or papers off the desk. Unfortunately I'm a light sleeper so even him stirring around wakes me up. He used to wake me up in a different way which didnt bother me much. He would just come up and put his wet nose on my face. I prefer that than my stuff getting knocked over. I will try to have some patience but when I want to sleep in, I want to sleep in!

There isnt much punishment that gets to him. Not even getting put in a room by himself. I guess the spray bottle wont do too much either since he has jumped in the shower before and is not really scared of water.
post #8 of 15
lol man, like other hvae said, cats want you up, at the same time every day. I dont even turn my alarm on, dont need one with 2 cats. its just the way they are.

Only thing i can think of is the days you dont have to get up early, just open the door and let him out?
post #9 of 15
Is he free feeding? In other words, is he getting you up to feed him, or just because "it's time"?

Stan was doing something like this, I had to just bite the bullet and ignore it until he decided it wasn't working (that was a looooong couple of weeks). Now he hops up on my pillow and purrs and kneads my hair until I get up (this is much better). If he's really annoying I can put out his food and go back to bed.

Of course, if he has food out and he just wants your attention, that tactic won't work.
post #10 of 15
I usually get up at the same time all week. The cats don't let me sleep in. Raven expects his can of Fancy Feast by 6:30am sharp. This morning I slept in until 6:30 and not only was Raven being obnoxious, Stimpy was pounding on the closet door & meowing. Yep. I pretty much never sleep in anymore. Darn cats.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
He has plenty of dry food all the time so I dont need to wake up to give him food. I guess he just wants me up. Ill do my best to ignore him. I just left the things on the floor that he knocked off this morning. Hopefully he wont be able to knock anyhting off tomorrow morning.
post #12 of 15
What about putting something on the table that he doesn't like to stand on, like double sided tape? Or putting double sided tape on the objects he knocks down? I don't think punishment works on a cat, but rather deter him.
post #13 of 15
He's been sleeping all night of course he's hyper, destructive, and impatient for you to wake up in the morning. Most animals don't sleep 8 hours a night like humans at least try to do. Even humans aren't really designed to only sleep for 1 solid period of time in 24hours and cats are more nocturnal than most humans. Asking him to be quiet and sleep all night is probably very difficult for him. He's going to be very excited when you finally wake up because now he can play. When you don't get up as early as usual your making him wait even longer as well as breaking his routine. He's not looking at it from the view that he's interrupting your sleep. He's thinking he's been good waiting all night letting you sleep and now that it's finally time to get up your being lazy and not doing your part. Punishing him for being quiet all night and then you not getting up at the right time is not going to help.

It might help to try to give him access to at least a slightly larger area at night, more toys to play with, or wear him out more before bed. Also ignore him when you get up. If you don't want him expecting you to wake up and play with him at a certain time then don't play with him when you first wake up. Ignore him until after you've been up for at least 10-20mins and then play with him. Otherwise your only reinforcing that wakeup time means attention and possibly play. Reason I can sleep in is because noone gets fed, played with, out to potty, etc... first thing in the morning. They can wait a half hour while I eat breakfast. Then me waking up is not a signal for anything so they don't try to wake me up. Now me finishing breakfast and heading toward their bowls or the door to let the dog out means it's time for attention, play, and racing around the house like hyper idiots.

Sometimes with animals though you don't get the choice to sleep in. You don't even get the choice to sleep all night without interruption. I can't count all the 5 am mornings I've had or the 1-3am interruptions before being allowed back to sleep. It's surprising the number of pets in shelters just because their owners didn't realize they are a 7 day a week job and don't just go away on weekends.
post #14 of 15
My cat woke me up this morning to feed her (I normally feed her at 7:30am). She started trying to get my attention around 8 by just nuzzling against me, and eventually started licking my face to get me up. (I didn't get up until 10...). I thought it was so cute

She's pretty predictable. Around the same time we feed her at night she will get out of bed (a huge effort on her part ) and make her way to where her food dishes are and will just sit there waiting.

I don't think disciplining cats really works. I've heard of using spray bottles for deterioriating cats from scratching in certain areas, but that's a different situation. Your cat just sounds bored and like it needs something to play with or investigate. Can you get one of those toys that hangs from a door that the cat can swat around?
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
He has plenty of toys. He has hanging scratching items, toys that make noise, a nice kitty palace. I guess something I did in the past is making him think that I am going to wake up and give him attention. Maybe I can try the aluminum foil technique that is suggested for counters. But somehow I think he will just play with it instead. Hopefully I can break him of this habit.
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