Meowing/Scratching at the bedroom door - what REALLY works? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 09-08-2005, 04:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Meowing/Scratching at the bedroom door - what REALLY works?

Hello everyone. I just discovered this forum and have been reading the posts for hours! Great info here! Hopefully someone who has been through my situation with positive results can give me some suggestions:

I have two cats, Melek (F) and Zorba (M). They are approx. 16 mos. old, fixed, and from the same litter. They get along great--share a litter box, etc.--but for the past 2 weeks Zorba has started meowing and scratching outside our bedroom door everyday around 6am. Melek for the most part doesn't make a peep, but occasionally partakes in the scratching. I have tried spraying water, ignoring them, telling them 'no', letting them in the room, but nothing has worked. Up until this week, I would wake up when the meowing starts and feed them. This would buy me another 30 min. of sleep, but then they come back and meow when they're finished. The last two nights, I tried giving them extra play time before I go to bed (didn't know about that suggestion until this week so it may need some more time) but this morning the meowing started at 4:30am!!!

If I lived alone, I could ignore it, but I live with my bf and he gets up for work before I do and cannot simply ignore the meowing/scratching. They are "my" cats afterall so I feel an obligation to solve the problem. I haven't allowed them to sleep in the bedroom with me since I got them at 6 weeks old so this is nothing new for them. I've tried leaving the door open at night, but they just run around the room, jump on the dressers, chew on electrical cords, basically anything except lay on the bed and sleep. I usually feed them when I get home from work (5:30-6:00pm) and in the morning around 7:00am. They're both on dry food, but I can't just leave it out all night for 2 reasons:

1) Melek is on Rx food for a urinary infection so they're currently being fed separately.
2) For the 1st year, I left their food out all the time then the vet put them on Adult Light and told me to feed them 2x/day.

Is it too late in the game to invest in a kitty condo for my living room? They usually just sleep on a cushy chair. I've heard about the SSSCat thing, but I'd rather not invest in all these gadgets if they're just a short-term solution. I really do not want to resort to locking them up in another room as the only other rooms with doors are right next to our bedroom so chances are we would still be able to hear them.

I have always been the type of person who needs at least 8-9 hours of sleep so this recent behavior is leaving me severely sleep-deprived. Help!!!
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, you've got lots of company, including myself, in your situation!! Except my cats sometimes decide 5:00 am is breakfast time.

I think this started when Zorba decided to try to get you up earlier one day and it worked. So even if the response wasn't what he wanted, he was encouraged to try it again.

Since I haven't really solved my own problem, I can't tell you what works for sure every time. But I can tell you what doesn't work, and that's giving a cat some kind of response. I think what you've got to do before this new habit becomes too set is to steel yourself to ignore it each and every time it happens. Hopefully Zorba will learn that it doesn't work and will give eventually give up. In the meantime....cardboard on the door to protect the finish and earplugs so you can sleep are my best suggestions. Along with some interactive play and some treats before bedtime might hopefully shift their next activity cycle later.
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just want to add to what Tim suggested when locking the kitty out...if he doesn't just scratch on the door, but the carpet under the door (assuming you have carpet), try placing an old towel under the door to where if you saw the door without walls and such from the side it would like something like _|_. Place a heavy object on your side to prevent him from dragging the towel all the way under.

This is what I do with Scotty when he's locked out of the room and it really DOES save the carpet.
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Old 09-08-2005, 05:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i use a product called "bitter apple" or "Yuck"

I spray it on the carpet and on the lower doorjamb/bottom of the door

they hate the smell and taste of it so they can be broken of this habit easily. worked for me after 2 nights
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Old 09-08-2005, 06:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the quick reply!

I've heard of those repellents, but have never tried them. Did it stop them from scratching, meowing, or both? Do you recommend one brand over another??
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Old 10-01-2005, 11:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well since I last wrote, I went to Petsmart and bought a repellent called 'Boundary' or something like that, and these adhesive sheets called 'Sticky Paws'. Neither was effective, but what has seemed to help is ignoring them when they meow/scratch, feeding them later (around 8-8:30pm), and playing with them more in the evening. Some days I even get to sleep in until 7:00am without them meowing so it sure beats 4:30am anyday!
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Old 10-02-2005, 04:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Congrats! Ain't sleep great?
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Old 10-02-2005, 10:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That's great! I find feeding my cats later in the evening works really well also.
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