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Old 04-30-2010, 05:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Hi,
Our cat has recently started to meow and scratch our bedroom door too early in the morning, thus keeping us from getting a good night's rest.
We got our cat neutered about 3 weeks ago. Until then we used to always feed her kitten food so her bowl was rarely empty. But after the surgery, our vet told us to give her food twice a day only. Since she was not used to this, she was always crying for food throughout the day. We started feeding here once early in the morning (before going to work) and once at night. She used to sleep on our bed with us, but then she started to walk all over us very early in the morning. As a result we decided to leave her in the living room before going to bed. And this is when she started to meow and wake us up as early as 5 am. We try to ignore her, but she continues for more than half an hour and never seems to stop.
What can we do as ignoring does not seem to be possible? And even so, how long will we need to ignore her to see any changes?

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

As a general rule, whenever you feed your cat in the morning she will wake up an hour earlier the next day expecting breakfast. For my own cats, I wake up at 5 AM to go to work, but I do NOT feed them. They are used to getting fed at around 9 or 10 AM when my boyfriend wakes up, and I'm long gone before the nonsense starts. On rare days I get to sleep in, they begin their antics around 8 AM- an hour before they get fed.

Now, if you want her in your room you are gonna have to be strong and REALLY ignore her! Put a pillow over your head, roll over, just try to tough it out. Looking at her, talking to her, giving her any attention whatsoever is a reward and makes all her annoying behavior worth it- she has woken you up, just like she wanted. If you feed her right after she does this... even better for her (worse for you). If possible, start feeding her a little later in the morning. I know this might not be feasible if you work. You will have to be consistent with the ignoring, and I mean really stick to it, because it could take days, even weeks before she gives up and learns to adhere to your sleeping schedule. But if she learns that attempting to wake you *never* works, then over time she will learn to just accept it. In my own experience, my cats have learned that I can sleep through just about anything. They still try from time to time- waiting, watching my face to see if my eyes will open. And the minute they do, the morning chorus starts up. But they usually give up in a few minutes if I just roll over.

Another tip I've seen from one of our members works if you decide just to lock her out. Park your vacuum outside your door in the "on" position. Run the cord under the closed door to the outlet nearest your bed. When she starts up her nonsense, fire up the vacuum by plugging it in and viola! I guarantee she'll she gone. The cat won't see you turning it on so she'll be scared of the vacuum, not you. And I bet that with your new "door guard" you won't be hearing much from her in the morning any more!
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

My 2 adult cats know perfectly well that I NEVER EVER feed them right away when I get up (I wait at least an hour) so they don't bother me. The cats sleep w/ me. My kitten, Jonah, despite never having been fed when I get up, still starts tossing books off the dresser and lightly running his claws on the wall (which is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore!). I am now sleeping w/ ear plugs, which enables me to ignore him, and he's already doing MUCH better. The key is no reinforcement!

All that said, esp. if you ony have one cat, please consider letting her sleep w/ you. She's lonesome without even another cat to cuddle with. Try giving her a small snack before bedtime (I do this w/ Jonah) and letting her sleep w/ you.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Agreed.
When I switched from free feeding to meals, i did it gradually. They got 4 meals first, then, once they were used to that 3 and then 2. However, 2 didn't work for us. Little-one would wake me up in the am and Sundance would barf his breakfast. Sooo, we went to, breakfast, dinner and a snack just before bed. Problems solved!
Other than during that transition period, non of my cats have woken me up. I wake them up and I am far from a morning person! Just last weekend, I slept 'till nearly 1pm and they were sound asleep, draped all over me and eachother.
They're used to eating around 9:30/10.
I think the real key is, they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if they try to wake me they will not get any attention whatsoever and they will absolutely not get fed. Period.
I really think, with a little meal schedule adjustment and some sleepless mornings (with earplugs, eyes closed and your head under the pillows) she'll be fine and you'll both be much happier sleeping in a pile.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Thanks for the advice.
This is the first cat I have had in my life and she is around 9 months old. When she was younger she used to sleep with us all the time, but since a month or 2 back, I feel like she should sleep by herself in the living room as she would just wake up early in the morning and walk over us and jump here and there in the bedroom.
I have taken your suggestions and have started to feed her an hour after I wake up. I do not even let her out right away.
She meows a lot but I will have to ignore it for few weeks hoping that she'll stop eventually.
I will post when there's the improvement.


By the way, I had read about the idea of turning the vaccum cleaner on. But that would mean the machine has to stay outside the bedroom forever, right? Or can it be there while the cat learns not to meow again, and be put in its original place later on?
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

My cat wakes me up about 30 mins b4 her breakfast. She doesn't directly walk on me or swat me. She'll just make a nuisance of herself until I'm forced to get up and stop her. Like playing with things she's not supposed to. Somehow, she knows this and never touches those things at other times. Sneaky!

It usually doesn't bother me too much. If I ignore or reprimand her, she'll just cease after a bit and run off. Although that doesn't stop her from coming back a while later and starting the cycle over again.

Today however, she kept at it for a while so I locked her out....however, I wake up to ....Rocky the dog scratching at the door! As soon as I open it, both of them charge into the room! My lord. I hope Miu didn't learn the scratch door trick from him. I'm forced to respond because my mom will freak over a scratched up door. He's unfortunately learned that's how he opens sesame. Oh well.

Yeah, cats are persistent. So you'll probably have to keep at your new routine for a while before you see some improvement. Hang on!
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

I must be lucky. She very rarely has disturbed me and lets me sleep as long as I want. Ive slept till maybe 11 as the latest since Ive had her and even then she didnt pester me. And I live in a studio and sleep terribly usually...often when I wake up and peer over the bed shes sitting there all eager for me to get up, she may have quietly been sitting there for hours for all I know. On occasion when Ive had a hangover or ill or something and gone back back to bed, she joins me after a while and has an afternoon nap with me instead of pestering me. The only time she can get a bit crazy late is when Ive been up late, 2-2.30 a.m. and mucked up our routine. I usually dont feed her for maybe 40 minutes, but I cheat and do now and again and she's never developed any bad habits from that. Lucky me lol
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Right.

I sleep in my boyfriend's apartment every night (we live in the same building but my apartment is tiny so, his it is). EVERY morning, his two cats make idiots of themselves waking us up 30 mins - 1 hour before my boyfriend gets up and feeds them. I am getting so sick of it. I'm turning into a bitter person.

WHAT can I do. Please help me.

The vacuum cleaner won't work for us as we only have one room. So locking them out won't work either.

Did someone mention that feeding them an hour or so AFTER waking up might work? Because my boyfriend feeds them religiously the SECOND he gets up. They're somewhere around 4 years old and this is what they've known all their lives.

Oh god please help me.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Quote:
Because my boyfriend feeds them religiously the SECOND he gets up.
Yep, thats the problem. Their hunter's instincts urges them to wake about an hour before they would normally eat (to have time enough to hunt). You should tell your BF to wait an hour after waking, and during that horrible 60-30 min period where they are trying to wake you, ignore them like your life depended on it!
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Our Cat wakes us up too early in the morning

Yup, cats start getting active and looking for food about an hour before they're usually fed. What you're describing sounds like it falls perfectly in line with that theory. Waiting to feed the cats until at least an hour after you guys get up is certainly the first step. If the hungry kitties know your BF will feed him the moment he gets out of bed, they'll be trying their darndest to get him out of bed so they can eat, and who can blame them?

I don't know how long it will take for them to de-couple "people wake up" with "we get fed" in their minds, although my cats seem to learn new food-related patterns very quickly.
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