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Darcy scratching (revisited)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I brought this subject up last Thanksgiving. http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...rcy+scratching

Since then, the scratching has turned into a more defined attention-getting behavior. At 4:30 in the morning, every morning, when Darcy wants to be fed, she starts in scratching the walls, the mattress, the closet door, basically anything within reach.

We have tried:
Squirt bottle - she shrugs her shoulders and says, "who cares?"

Scat mat - she knows what it is and will scratch where it isn't

Picking her up by the scruff of the neck like a momma cat might and growling at her - so kill me, I grew up as a dog person

Shutting the door with her outside - she Ows and scratches louder

Feeding her later at night - doesn't make a difference

Playing with her all evening - doesn't make a difference

Giving her mild sleepy pills (suggested by vet) - still didn't work

I am about at wits end trying to change this behavior. I have thought about putting the knobby office runners down, but like the scat mat, she would just find a different location to scratch...she is crafty that way.

If I just give in and get up and feed her, I feel like I am encouraging this behavior.

Any other suggestions?
post #2 of 5
Do you free feed? If you don't - is there a reason you can't?

What about a timed feeder?

In addition to either of the above, what about giving her a solid 1/2 hour of running around play time before bed time? This helped our kitties adjust to our schedule.


post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I would loooove to free feed both of the girls. I have attempted to do so in the past. I would fill their food bowls thinking that they would walk away when full, but they stuck right next to their food bowls until all the food was gone. I think that they would literally eat until they explode.

I have considered a timed feeder, but am not sure how well it would work with two cats who are fixated on food. I try to make sure that they are both fed and that they eat their own food. Is there any way to do this with two cats?

I do play with Darcy in the evenings in addition to her playing with Marcie. They both sleep through the night....until Darcy wakes up at 4:30am. I know that Darcy sleeps all night, because she spends all night on my legs making it impossible for me to turn over during the night.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
This morning was unbearable. Between me being sick and Darcy scratching, I lost it with her. I can't do this anymore

I was literally in tears this morning trying to deal with the frusteration. I swore that I would never declaw either of my girls, but I am just about ready to schedule an appointment for Darcy.

This weekend, I am going to try rescheduling her feeding and also putting softclaws on her so maybe she doesn't make as much noise, but I just can't take this anymore. I almost threw the cat across the room this morning, it isn't good for me or the cat anymore.....soooo frusterated
post #5 of 5
Every time you react to her doing it, however you react, you are rewarding her behaviour. Cats are not like dogs and do not understand the concept of being scolded by the alpha or changing their behaviour to please the alpha or fit in with the pack. IGNORE HER.

In addition, if you don't free feed, don't ever feed her as soon as you get up - association between the human getting up and them being fed is a major cause of cats deliberately waking their human. The same can be said of playing, or being let out with cats that are allowed outside. Give it 20-30 minutes in the morning between getting out of bed and feeding or playing with her, make that YOUR time to get yourself together - then pay her attention.

If you are consistent with this strategy and don't deviate from it under any circumstances, she should learn that her behaviour will never work, and she'll give up - cats are motivated to repeat behaviours that are rewarded (even if that reward is negative attention) and every time you react to her you are providing her with the stimulus and reason to do it again tomorrow. Earplugs can be a great help while she is learning that it doesn't work
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