Well, you've got several things going on, and with as many cats as I've had, I've experienced most of those. Hopefully, some of my ideas will be helpful.
. I have had several cats that did not like eating dry food out of a bowl, so they would fish the food out with their paw and happily eat it off the floor. They didn't play with it, so I never had that problem. You could maybe change this behavior ...though if they are kittens or young-adults, they may grow out of it with maturity
... by using a flat-ish plate for their dry food. I've seen some different shaped plates (rectangle and square) with slightly raised edges that could keep the food in.
If the floor is clean, I'd just pick the dry food up and put it back in their bowl. No reason to waste it unless it has got dirty or contaminated.
Do they need more toys to play with to keep them from playing with their food?
. Mine are messy, too. Some lick the plate clean, others sort of push the canned food to the edge of the plate and little chunks fall off the edge. You could try a different shaped plate (like the ones I described above
) to help keep the food in the serving dish. I also only give them enough canned food that they will eat right then. I leave it down for about a half an hour and the most I have left-over are a few scatterd bits I wipe up with a paper-towel or the Swiffer. Usually the kitties clean it all up w/in 15min if its a favorite flavor.
The water bowl
. Squirely-Jo won't drink normally. S-Jo dips a furry foot in the water, shakes off the excess (spalshes Ev-Er-Y-Where
!) and licks her foot when she drinks. I keep a folded paper towel under the ceramic bowl. When I see splashes, I lift the bowl, rub the paper towel around on the floor to sop up the wet and set the bowl back down. Change the paper towel every few days so it won't mildew under the bowl. For your kitties, you could maybe try a taller bowl and only keep it half to one-third filled with water, to help keep their heads deeper in the bowl and less chances of splashing the water over the sides. If the water is getting the food wet, it is too close so move them apart. I keep mine at least 12" apart.
The litterbox scratching
. Some kitties have a stronger bury-the-waste instinct than others. I have several cats who bury nicely. Several who paw and scratch around forever and one who paws and scratches forever on the SIDES of the litterbox (never the litter
) and doesn't bury her poo. Luckily the litterbox is vented to the outside so I don't ever smell it and sometimes, other kitties will bury it when they go in to do their business. You can *sometimes* redirect a wall-scratching-bury-er by giving them a larger litterbox whose sides are further away...in the hopes they will paw the litter and not the sides...but my wall-pawing kitty *still* paws the walls of the 2'x2'x4' litterchest I use. I can't get much bigger than that! I think it is just a habit some cats get into and it is just 'normal' for that cat to take care of it that way. It is instinctual and it is difficult, if not impossible to change instinctual behavior. We may modify and redirect it (scratching posts
) but I think we can never fully change or eliminate it.
Waking you early in the morning
. Any reaction from you, even a negative one, is a reward. You can try to Wear. Them. Out. with a rousing good play session before you go to bed, but cats really don't take that long to re-charge and they'll be back to their early morning habits AND will be more fit with the longer play sessions. We really *need* our sleep to function well. Close your door. If they cry or bother the door, park your vacuum outside the door. If they *still* approach and bother the door, turn the vacuum on and unwind the cord so it is under the door and near a plug outlet in your room. When the kitties bother the door, get up and poke the plug into the outlet (vacuum is already turned 'on'
) and let it start up and then immediately unplug it. The kitties should run away and then respect the vacuum if you ever need to park it outside your closed bedroom door again. I only have to do this maybe twice a year.
Also, do not forget the vacuum is out there
so you don't stub your toe on it! I speak from experience.