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Discussion Starter #1
Athena's developed a weird habit the past few days. She's always been the "licky" cat, but now she's taken it up a notch!

Every morning, around 5 or 6am, she begins licking my face. This is usually the time my boyfriend gets up to leave for work, so I figure, maybe she's trying to wake me up because she wants breakfast?

This morning, since my boyfriend got to sleep in, she did it to him too, but not just licking. When he ignored the licking, she started biting at the corners of his mouth.

His theory was she's expressing instinctual behavior because she's hungry. I'm familiar with this behavior in dogs - as a throwback to how wolf cubs would lick at the corners of their mom's mouth to get her to regurgitate food for them. Do cats, or did cat ancestors do this too?

She's definitely very persistent about it! It's funny, it reminds me of my parents' dachshund. Like Athena, she burrows under the covers at night, and then emerges in the morning to begin licking our faces.
 

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I don't think Athena's asking you guys to regurgitate for her, but this may be her way of trying to wake you so she can get fed.

How soon after rising do you feed her and Apollo?

No one in my house gets fed until after I've had my shower; I am NOT a morning person and having six cats prowling my bed looking for breakfast anytime before daybreak is not a scenario that's going to end well. Now, they all just line up and watch me shower, which can be creepy sometimes, but is worlds better than the alternative. :wink

AC
 

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For many years I did have indoor/outdoor cats, I don't ever recall any of them coming and regurgitating prey. They always brought the prey either dead or alive, whether it was mouse, vole, bird, rabbit, snake and weasel, to the back door and meowed a big fuss, until I checked out what they brought. I did have a very piggy cat who would run at the sound of another cat barfing....and then he would gobble up the snack, unless it was a hairball.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't think Athena's asking you guys to regurgitate for her, but this may be her way of trying to wake you so she can get fed.

How soon after rising do you feed her and Apollo?

No one in my house gets fed until after I've had my shower; I am NOT a morning person and having six cats prowling my bed looking for breakfast anytime before daybreak is not a scenario that's going to end well. Now, they all just line up and watch me shower, which can be creepy sometimes, but is worlds better than the alternative. :wink

AC
It varies. I'm definitely not a morning person either, so usually I try to shower first. However, when my boyfriend gets up (at 5am) I suspect this rouses them so they feel they should be fed. And then when we sleep in until 11am or so on weekends, they probably get quite impatient since they're used to eating before 10. My schedule when it comes to weekends vs. weekdays is a mess.

People worry about the weirdest things....
I'm not actually worried. Just curious as to why she does this. I just want to understand my cat better. ;)

For many years I did have indoor/outdoor cats, I don't ever recall any of them coming and regurgitating prey. They always brought the prey either dead or alive, whether it was mouse, vole, bird, rabbit, snake and weasel, to the back door and meowed a big fuss, until I checked out what they brought. I did have a very piggy cat who would run at the sound of another cat barfing....and then he would gobble up the snack, unless it was a hairball.
Yeah, that's what I thought. I know it's an instinctual behavior with dogs, but never heard of cats or big cat relatives doing the same. My boyfriend just kept insisting that must be the explanation. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
While this started as cute and kind of odd, it's becoming problematic. Every night sometime between 3 and 5am she starts biting and licking our faces. I don't think it's because she wants food, since later when I get up to feed her, she's sometimes hungry and sometimes not.

Any tips on how to discourage this behavior? We're currently just moving her off the bed every time she does this, as that's what seemed to work back when she had a habit of trying to sleep on our faces.

It's interesting how she keeps developing these increasingly violent nighttime behaviors. First she tries to suffocate us, then she starts biting us, next month she'll be hitting us in the face with a hammer at 3am. ;)
 

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To me, it sounds like she feels you should be up when she is to play. She just seems to be trying to get your attention. You might need to lock her out of the bedroom for a while, but be prepared for the nightly serenade :)
 

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Try hissing / growling / snapping at her the instant she wakes you. It sounds odd, but it does work. Spencer used to come bug me for petting in the middle of the night. I tried a bunch of different things before I decided I was going to have to use kitty-speak. The very next night, he hooked a claw in my lip while patting my face. I woke up startled, in pain, and angry, and I lunged toward him while growling and snapped my teeth together just a whisker's distance from his nose.

He's never bothered me while I was sleeping again. :wink

AC
 

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Try hissing / growling / snapping at her the instant she wakes you. It sounds odd, but it does work. Spencer used to come bug me for petting in the middle of the night. I tried a bunch of different things before I decided I was going to have to use kitty-speak. The very next night, he hooked a claw in my lip while patting my face. I woke up startled, in pain, and angry, and I lunged toward him while growling and snapped my teeth together just a whisker's distance from his nose.

He's never bothered me while I was sleeping again. :wink

AC
Oohoho~ My kitten does this to me often, but if I were to get near his face while acting aggressive like you did, my face would be shredded to bits! Plus, my kitty is the alpha-type. He will not give up until you let him do what he wants.
 

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To me, it sounds like she feels you should be up when she is to play. She just seems to be trying to get your attention. You might need to lock her out of the bedroom for a while, but be prepared for the nightly serenade :)
That's probably about right, considering she also keeps dropping toys on our faces to play fetch. ;)

And thankfully Athena is the silent meow-er, so she doesn't serenade us when locked out. Apollo can be loud (and of course if we put one out in the living room, they both have to go) but we can usually sleep through it. I eventually did that this morning since I needed to squeeze an hour of uninterrupted sleep in before work.

Try hissing / growling / snapping at her the instant she wakes you. It sounds odd, but it does work. Spencer used to come bug me for petting in the middle of the night. I tried a bunch of different things before I decided I was going to have to use kitty-speak. The very next night, he hooked a claw in my lip while patting my face. I woke up startled, in pain, and angry, and I lunged toward him while growling and snapped my teeth together just a whisker's distance from his nose.

He's never bothered me while I was sleeping again. :wink

AC
Ahh excellent advice. We usually do use a hissing sound when the cats are misbehaving and that seems to be pretty effective. I think we've probably just been so groggy and half-asleep when the face-biting happens that we didn't even think to try it!
 

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on the weekends when my emma alarm clock cat is nuzzling me awake(6:20am on the dot), I give her one quick blow of air onto her face, closest thing to a snooze button I've found, and it doesn't wake my wife up(emma is smart enough not to try to wake her up)
 

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Eric does this ALL the time. I've had the claw through the lip, I've had the paws trying to move my eyelids open, and the constant licking. I don't know if it's his breed, but his tongue is rougher than any cat I've ever had.

If I pull the covers over my head, he either crawls underneath, or goes for the toes.

Many times I've had to get up at 5 ish, due to a serious attack of the Kittens....
 

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I'm guessing that this is just a phase Athena is going through; Pumpkin went through a super hyper super naughty phase between about 3 and 6 months and Simone started around 8 months (currently going through this right now!) I don't remember who said it, but I agree that Athena is just testing you guys to see what she can get away with. The main thing is being consistent with her discipline so she'll grow out of these habits. I will say that you are lucky in what you are going through versus what I went through with Pumpkin; let's just say that my flatmate was terrified of tiny baby 3 lb Pumpkin for about a month or so...
 

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Hissing at her may work--I don't disagree with that. I tried something a little tamer when Hershey got into the habit of licking my hand, or my hand and then my face, including my nose, last summer, usually at around 4 am. He has a very rough tongue, and it hurts. I made the mistake the first few times of staying still, as I thought being groomed was very flattering and didn't want to "hurt his feelings". But after it really started hurting, I started simply turning from the side he was on to the other side, and the licking immediately stopped for that night. It did take several nights of my doing this, since I had reinforced the behavior at first, and it did mean I woke up more tired for a few days, but Hershey got the message and stopped the nocturnal licking--except for two nights ago, when for some reason he did it again, and--my bad--since it hadn't happened for six months, I let him do it for 15 seconds or so, because I liked it! But then I turned over, and he stopped.
 

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I don't think Athena's asking you guys to regurgitate for her, but this may be her way of trying to wake you so she can get fed.

How soon after rising do you feed her and Apollo?

No one in my house gets fed until after I've had my shower; I am NOT a morning person and having six cats prowling my bed looking for breakfast anytime before daybreak is not a scenario that's going to end well. Now, they all just line up and watch me shower, which can be creepy sometimes, but is worlds better than the alternative. :wink

AC

ROFL at them watching you take a shower!

For the OP, Maxie wakes me up too, for she knows Momma will feed her in the morning her soft food. (I highly recommend feeding the kitties later in the morning or at night if you can, or what time works for you)

I give Maxie L-lysine, and I routinely started 2 x daily, but now I wish I would have gone 1x daily and at night. As nothing has worked to stop her, she always wakes me up. It's kinda cute though, she gentley lays on my face and neck to wake me up, haha. :kittyturn Usually when she plays, she's a bit rough, but not in the morning when she wakes me, so I deal with it, as I love the cuddles while I can get them :p
 
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