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Attacking my feet at night!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I just adopted two shelter kitty brothers back in mid January. They were almost 6 months old then. It goes without saying that they are VERY active and energetic guys. Now I've had over 10 cats in my lifetime, most of which were under a year when I got them, but these two are a handful. I don't ever remember my cats being so...off the wall, for lack of a better term. While they are a bit crazy, this is the only real problem we've had and cannot curb.

They attack our feet at night. This is NOT normal play. Our smaller cat, who is usually more energetic all around, will play with our feet and get bored or will IMMEDIATELY stop if a squirt bottle is even picked up. If he runs and comes back, he usually doesn't start playing with our feet unless provoked. On the flip side, our other cat who is normally very relaxed, spends all hours of the night attacking our feet. ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT!! No matter if we are awake or not, moving or not, he pounces and will not let up. As soon as we put him on the floor he jumps up and is back into it like nothing happened. Even when we spray him with the bottle, he stands there defiantly as our wrath reins upon him. It takes a squirt in the face for him to finally jump down on his own...only to return less than 5 minutes later with more vengeance. It is absolutely ridiculous. My husband and I are actually losing sleep at night because it is never ending. I can currently count over 20 scratches on my legs and feet, and this is through 2 duvets, a sheet, socks and pj pants. Even when my legs aren't covered he touches them all night! He isn't attacking, but he's grabbing at them and his claws happen to be dragging on my skin, which makes me jump or move and that makes him think I'm playing.

We have tried a handful of things to help this and nothing has worked. Extra blankets on the end of the bed get pulled down, spray bottle works for everything BUT this, tiring them out before bed with lots of toys, etc. What is really annoying is we NEVER played with them under the blankets and they did not do this when we got them. They are not aggressive cats so I have no idea why they would randomly start? I don't want to get them declawed but I'm starting to think I might have to if this keeps up. :'(

*Before someone says kick them out of the bedroom at night, let me mention that I HAVE to keep them both in our room at night. We have a weird living arrangement with very little space (basically a bathroom and bedroom) and there are other people sharing this house with other animals. I don't want to chance anything bad happening so I don't let them near the other part of the house without me being nearby. I hope that makes sense.
post #2 of 9
This is actually VERY common kitty behavior, and I'm honestly surprised you haven't come across it before. It is play behavior (even though it doesn't feel like it to us!) and some of them are really persistant.

You mention not being able to close them out of the room - I'm going to guess moving to a place where you have more space is also, at least out of the question.

What about some sort of hutch? Not a pet carrier, something more spacious, so that you could close them in that at night (a bit like crating a dog, I guess), and they could cuddle together.

This should work, but obviously they will likely not be impressed the first few nights.

Declawing isn't what it sounds like, and I'm glad you're reluctant to do it - it doesn't involve merely removing their claws, but a good bit of the toe as well (it's the equivalent of cutting off a finger to the first knuckle). Aside from the pain and problems it causes the cat, it can lead to all sorts of behavioral issues - in all liklihood, your cats wouldn't stop hunting your feet at night; they would merely be biting inside of scratching.
post #3 of 9
Maybe trim their claws more often.

Can they spend the night in the bathroom?

Do you play with them before bedtime to get them good and tired. Getting an extra something to eat right after play and before bed may help.

The kittens that I have had out grew this behavior fairly quickly.

Ditto about NOT declawing. Unlikely to change a behavior. Many shelters and rescue organizations have you sign an adoption contract stating you will not declaw.

Do you have any little toys that you can throw away from your feet to redirect him?

Hopefully they will settle down soon.
post #4 of 9
Luna did this...until she learnt that the moment she would do it she would be locked out of our bedroom. And that if she did it regularly she just wouldn't even be allowed into the bedroom from the start.

If she starts to go a bit nutty and runs around like a torpedo she also gets locked out of the bedroom - especially if it's near bedtime.

Now her playing behaviour isn't really an issue in the bedroom.
post #5 of 9
My cat enjoys doing this, but usually only if I move my feet or if they're exposed. So I sypathize. There are supposed to be certain scents that cats don't like and if sprayed on the bed it might keep them off. Otherwise, I think the dog crate idea might be best. I know it would be a nightmare trying to keep my cat off the bed without doing something drastic!
post #6 of 9
Anna used to do this to me. I would have a toy under my pillow and when she attacked I would wave the toy at her to get her attention and then fling it across the room. It usually distracted her enough that I could then get some sleep.

However, the problem really stopped after she startled me out of a deep slumber which resulted in screeching (from me), flailing limbs and bedcovers thrown every which way. She teleported into the hallway (or so it seemed at the time) and sat there looking back at me with the hughest eyes. She hasn't attacked my feet since. I guess she decided that was a little too much drama.

Please, note, I was not yelling at her. I just screeched out of surprise and pain. I didn't try to kick or hit her, the flailing again was reflex reaction and since I was under the covers everything flew all over the place. I made no attempt to hit her or punish her. But she was as startled by my reaction as I was to her attack.
post #7 of 9
Don't declaw them just because they are kittens. Declawing them, actually, often makes it worse, as they are far more likely to then bite - and bite with a vengance.

One problem with kittens in shelters is that they often only live life in a cage, they do not know what it is like to live in a home environment. They may have been taught this behavior in a previous home.

Have you tried playing with them interactively for 15+ minutes just before bed.

As for the clawing - check out Soft Paws. Far less permanent/damaging than declawing & might help.
post #8 of 9
Jake will do the same thing. That's why I never let my feet out of the blanket If I do I will be bitten badly...Jake never learned to stop biting while playing, I'm a bad meowmy for not being persistant enough to teach him ...
post #9 of 9
i used to love the kitty attacking feet at night behavior.... maybe i am warped....
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