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Cat driving me crazy at night

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi, I am nearing the end of my rope and I need some advice..

My wife and I have 3 cats, all indoor. They all get along fine and are well behaved. However, for the past 6 months one of our cats, a female tabby, has become absolutely unbearable at night. She has always had a habit of sitting in bed with us while we sleep, which is fine.. but she now has developed an incredibly strange routine.

It started with her walking around the bedroom in a huge circle for hours on end. That was weird, but honestly she wasn't hurting anybody so we didn't care. Over time her walking has become more and more complicated. She now has a set pattern that she follows around the room. She walks around the bed, then jumps up on it, sits on my stomach and walks in place for a few seconds, then walks behind our heads and back onto the floor. She then jumps from place to place around the room and starts over. She will literally do this all night long, and it makes it impossible for us to sleep.

My first solution to all this was to simply kick her out of the room and close the door. But she feels such a strong need to do it that she will cry and scratch at the door all night until you let her back in.. I have tried for the past few weeks spraying her lightly with water when she does it, but this only delays her for about 20 minutes. On top of all this strange night behavior, she has also started having meowing fits off and on, and she has always been a very quiet cat.

I really don't know what to do. We haven't changed anything in the house that could be causing her stress. Any advice here would be extrememly helpful.

post #2 of 2
If she has not been spayed, my bet is that she is in heat. If she has been spayed then it sounds as if she has developed obsessive-compulsive disorder (an anxiety disorder). Strangely enough, this is not uncommon in cats.

The first thing you need to do is to put away the squirt gun. Being sprayed with water will only serve to increase her anxiety.

The next, and most important thing to do is to take her to see the vet. Sometimes the vet can find a physical cause for odd behavior. For example, neurological damage can cause obsessive-compulsive behavior.

If the vet finds nothing physically wrong, chances are that she will want to put your cat on an antidepressant medication. Don't panic, these meds tend to work quite well in cats!

In the meantime, try playing very hard with your cat for at least 10 minutes before bed time each night. For typical nightime noisy cats, a good play session almost always stops the activity. However, the compulsive, ritualistic nature of your cat's behavior makes me think it goes beyond mere restlessness.

Good luck and let us know what the vet says.
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