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Going on 4 months of sleep deprivation :(

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My husband and I adopted 2 6-month old kittens in January. While they are a pleasure in almost every way, there is one major issue that is causing us to both lose our minds slightly.
We rent our house, and the bedroom is the entire upstairs (like a loft), with no door to close it off. The only other door that shuts in the house is to the laundry room/bathroom, a pretty tiny space.
We make a point of playing with the girls before bed, but pretty much every morning they start to get rambunctious, sometimes as early as 4 am, at the latest 6 am. We try spraying them with water when they jump on the bed (hubby is allergic so we have to keep them off), but they make a game of it and basically have woken us up completely because we're so annoyed. It doesn't seem like they are doing this because they're hungry-- when they get breakfast, they don't wolf it down.
The only way we can manage to sleep in the morning is by taking them downstairs as soon as they start bothering us and shutting them in the bathroom with the fan on...one of them will cry the entire time (for hours!) and so we wear earplugs.
I feel awful for doing this and I'm wondering if there is another solution besides moving to another house.
We haven't slept a full night since we got them, and the only time we come close is by shutting them in the bathroom.
Is there anything else we can try? I love them so much, but in the mornings I feel like throwing them out of the house just so I can sleep.
post #2 of 14
Yeah, we're kind of having the same problem. We live in an RV with seven cats. None of our cats talked much until we adopted Billy this last November (all of ours are rescue kitties - we did not WANT seven). Billy talks a lot - especially in the mornings.

I'm allergic to cats - and I mean really allergic. But there is just no way to close them out of the bedroom - it's too little space for too many. I love having my snuggly kitties.

Here's how we're dealing with it.

1) The earplugs. You have those.

2) Forget the water spray. That can end up backfiring in several ways. It can end up making the cats scared of you - it can become a game - and it can get in their ears and cause an infection. For stopping cats from doing something you don't want them to do, the very best thing is to say "NO" firmly, and blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in the face. Maybe a second one immediately following the first. This puff of air in the face is the human equivalent of a hiss, and they get it.

Since you can't close off the bedroom, is your hubby averse to taking Zyrtec? It WORKS. I mean - I am really allergic to cats. What we do is have throw blankets over the furniture - wash and switch each week. Easy to have people over too - fold them up, toss 'em in a closet, and you have cat-hair-free furniture without vacuuming it. And if you don't have a HEPA air filter in at least the bedroom, get one. We have THREE in the RV. (38 feet by 8 feet). Vacuum the floor frequently. Keep the filters clean. If he'll use Zyrtec, he should do it. Shelly sleeps in my face, Lazlo sleeps next to me, and Billy often sleeps on my head - and they don't bother my allergies when I take the Zyrtec every day. And you should brush the kitties every day. That REALLY helps with the cat hair. Get a curry comb or a slicker brush.

If they can sleep with you, does that solve the problem?

Also, consider putting bird feeders - if you can - out the window. We use suction cup feeders. That is like "Cat TV," and birds are active at sunrise, so that may help with their entertainment problem.

The other thing to do is for a week or two blow at them in the face in the mornings when they're bugging you, then just IGNORE them after that. It's difficult, but if you keep reacting to them, all they learn is that they get attention when they bother you. It's like a kid having a tantrum in the supermarket. Buy the thing, and the kid never learns to not have the tantrum. Same principle.

The only other thing I can think of depends upon how the loft is constructed. Is it completely open with a ladder up to it? Are there walls something can be attached to underneath it? If there is a way to do it, you know those shelves that attach via a kind of triangle-shaped (like a bent "L" shape) bracket? If you get really large ones, attach them to either side, and set a board on them at the top - like a platform - if you can make it go out far enough - you lay it down when you go up, and then they have no way to get up. Does that make sense?

Also, consider free feeding them dry food? We do this with our cats. We feed them one wet meal a day - in the evenings. We did this on purpose so we'd be able to sleep in.

Good luck!

Laurie
post #3 of 14
Ahhh....babies! Do you have a door frame at all? I am currently enclosing a cat in my bedroom, but do not want to shut the door. So I instead stacked baby gates in the doorway to keep her in & my other cats out.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Ahhh....babies! Do you have a door frame at all? I am currently enclosing a cat in my bedroom, but do not want to shut the door. So I instead stacked baby gates in the doorway to keep her in & my other cats out.
How difficult does that make getting in and out of your room? I would think, if possible, that using a very basic screen door with hardware cloth instead of screen may be a lot simpler. But than I'm clumsy and would probably end up breaking a toe with a gate somehow so that's why I would be adverse to using them.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
How difficult does that make getting in and out of your room? I would think, if possible, that using a very basic screen door with hardware cloth instead of screen may be a lot simpler. But than I'm clumsy and would probably end up breaking a toe with a gate somehow so that's why I would be adverse to using them.
It's a PITA, but the OP mentioned they rent - so baby gates won't require attaching a screen door to the frame if the landlord won't allow it.
post #6 of 14
^Actually I was suggesting it for you. One way to use a screen door and not damage anything would simply be to replace the current bedroom door and put it back later. As long as the door frame is not drilled into again the landlord would never even know unless they came in and looked.

If you still want the door covered so no one can see in you can buy hooks that use a very heavy duty mounting tape that don't damage surfaces and hang up a large curtain.
post #7 of 14
In my response to the O.P., I assumed there was no door frame - if there is one, it really is a pretty easy solution!

Laurie
post #8 of 14
If it's like a loft, it's probably all open with no doorframes.

I would buy a large dog crate. Make it their nightly ritual to be in there. You can have a litterbox, a shelf (I make mine out of dowels from home depot and sew towels to make hammock-like things) And those ferret food and water dishes are usually cheaper than the dog ones (even though they are the exact same size and brand!)

I have to do this with some of the rescues because they fight at night with my forever cats. I also usually keep lactating mothers and their young litters in the cages, one XL cage holds 6 three month olds well so two six month olds should be OK.

Edit: It's late but I'll get some photos of the cages and post them in the AM.
post #9 of 14
Of course, they'll howl at first if they already do when you put them in the bathroom. You just have to hang in there and ignore the guilt. They WILL be fine.



Laurie
post #10 of 14
most of the time my cats are good, but i have the same problem with the bathroom being the only place with a door...its a small bathroom, but if i have to put one in so i can get sleep as long as there's food and water i dont think you have to feel bad for putting them there at nite.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
The crate idea is a possibility. Right now we don't shut them in the bathroom every night, so they are allowed to sleep upstairs. We shut them in the bathroom after their 4 am wakeup call on the weekends (and then put in the earplugs). Hubby already takes Zyrtec, and I wash all the sheets and covers every week and vacuum like a fiend.
There is no doorframe (we have this crazy spiral metal staircase leading up), or the baby gate would be an excellent solution! We feed raw & wet food, but I'll admit to putting down about 1/4 cup of grain free dry before bed because Trinity (the loud meower) is a junkie and when we deprive her we are guaranteed she'll move her antics up to 2 am!
Photos of the cage setup would be awesome. They are 11 months old now, and about 10 pounds each.
We need to find some kind of solution because I think I might lose my mind if I can't sleep 7 consecutive hours a night at least 2 times a week!
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
So in honor of this thread, Trinity started pawing me right on cue this morning at 4 am. I tried not to react at all but she woke me up, so I shut her in the bathroom (and didn't shut Loki in with her) for the next 2 hours. I put in earplugs, but I'm pretty sure she cried the entire time. She is meowing at the top of her cat lungs, like a cat scream.
I feel like a horrible person.
A horrible, very tired person.
post #13 of 14


there is one of the crates. Usually they don't have the carrier in there but it's housing four 8 week old feral kittens, and we gave them a place to hide to make them more comfortable.

Usually there is a cat bed in place of the carrier. Also I usually have the scratching post up more to the front and the litter in the back but we have to adjust for the ferals.
post #14 of 14
Do they have toys for independent play while you sleep? (track toys and puzzle toys) We have a bunch of those, cat forts, cubes and tunnels for ours to play with at night. We have a just over 1-yr old cat and she's still a spaz. While I know a lot of people don't approve, I free feed (a measured amount) of food. If the bowl runs empty I'm guaranteed Lola will wake me when it's empty (and torment the guys for the rest of the wee hours). So I make sure I leave enough food out to last until breakfast. I also have bird feeders out the front windows and a 10-gallon fish tank with the light on a timer in the dining room (that's not used as a dining room).
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