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I am an in-person law school student in my first year (the most difficult and draining year). I got a cat because I think cats are beautiful, I connected with the particular cat I owned, I needed companionship, and I live in a small apartment (would be abusive to own a dog). For context, my cat is neutered and ~6 mo. old.

Every night, no matter what I do, at 10pm, my cat goes absolutely nuts. I try to go to bed at 9:30pm because I have to get up at 5am every morning to review cases, possibly work out, and get to class. I am also a morning person; I am way more productive at 5am than 9pm.

Every night at 9pm I play with my cat for around 20-30 minutes to wear him out. And I mean, I wear him out. I get him to pant and then keep going until he is just lazily swatting at the toys while he is laying down and panting. Then, I feed him his big meal in the hopes that he will go into a food coma. Then I pet him until he is a puddle of purring and try put him on his favorite blanket that induces kneading. I also play with him throughout the day, though not nearly as rigorously. Usually, I just throw him his ball or pens, maybe chase him a bit, or hand-wrestle with him. I even got Feliway in hopes it'll calm him?

But, 15-30 minutes later, he goes nuts again. Attacks my feet over the comforter, climbs up my shower curtain like spiderman, races around the apartment, breaks my potted plants, rips my couch into shreds. If I don't get up and play with him, this can last until 12am. No joke. If I play with him again, it only lasts like 10 minutes. But by then, it is 10:30pm. An hour after my normal bedtime. I am a stickler for schedules if you couldn't tell.

So, everyone, what do I do?! I need my cat to sleep on my schedule! Or at least just not be a demon! Help!!
 

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Sorry to give you this news but your cat has entered its "terrible teens" as I call it, a period that can last from 6-7 mos. to 2 yrs. As you report he has his frantic crazy spells, and you're doing the right thing in siphoning off some of his energy by playing. For you to get to sleep at 9:30 pm after he's had a play session and a big meal, you could get some "calming substances", such as catnip..chamomile, etc.

Also there are some self-activated toys that may be good for him such as "Floppy Fish Cat Toy" to keep him distracted and focused on play. Good luck, and all the best! Hope some of these suggestions work for your boy and you can get a good night's sleep..
 
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Lady Silver Belle The Destroyer, Of Clan Grey Tiger
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I just came across an article on Jackson Galaxy's blog that talks about this- Train Your Cat to Let You Sleep - Jackson Galaxy

He recommends feeding your cat an hour and a half before bedtime. Notice how your cat gets the rips at 10 pm, one half hour after feeding? Cats get a buildup of energy after eating. I know our cat Belle does. I play with her before feeding, she eats and afterwards, gets the rips for awhile, then settles down. I fed Belle just before sitting down to write this and guess what she's doing? If you feed your cat at 8 pm, he'll get the rips at 8:30, much easier for you to deal with. The rips may come sooner. When fed at 9:30 just as the household shuts down, your cat sits alone, letting this energy build until he can no longer contain it, then at 10 pm, he just explodes into action.

If you don't have a cat condo, look into getting one pronto. Having something for the cat to climb and claw reduces damage to the rest of the house. We bought our cat what's called a Ripple Rug to play in. Gives Belle another place to play. She especially likes it when I rub it with catnip or hide treats inside. (Your 6 month old may not be old enough for catnip.)

You can place cut up lemons or limes in a baggy with a few holes poked in them near your pottery. Cats don't like the smell of citrus.

Stop playing with your cat with your hands. I can tell you from painful experience, the claws and teeth will start drawing blood. Cats will also confuse petting with play and attack your hands when you just want to scratch their ears. If your hands are toys, so are the feet. Use an interactive toy to play with your cat.

Your cat may continue his routine of waking you up at 10. Jackson says the best way to deal with this- and the hardest part of teaching your cat to sleep when you do- is to completely ignore him. Completely. Some cats will get the message right away, some will take 6-8 days. He says it should never take more than 14 days. Read the article in his blog and watch his short video.

I've been following Jackson's advice on cats and it's enriched our life with Belle. She's a well behaved, high energy cat that has never missed the litter box and doesn't make a nuisance of herself.
 

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Wow, thank you! I really appreciate the advice. I will try feed him earlier tonight and see what happens. I will also read that blog post once I have some free time.
 

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I feed my girls AT my bedtime. They eat, groom and sleep. Every cat is different so it may take a while to find the magic time for yours. My girls still go into rocket-butt mode with no warning, but I enjoy it when they do. They are 14 & 15 years old and I love it when they go a little crazy. They can leap from one end of a 9-foot sofa to the other, which still amazes me. I was lucky when they were kittens that Charlee had her sister Cali to play with, wrestle with and chase around for 13 years. We lost Cali a couple years ago, which is why I'm glad that Charlee has made it through that loss and now can still enjoy life with Cleo.

Some people may recommend getting a second kitten, which is not bad advice. I had four cats in a one-bedroom place, the size of your home doesn't matter. Getting cat trees helped a lot. They love to be up high. But I also recognize that getting another kitten may not be possible, with the extra expenses.

If you can power through these "terrible teen" years, it will be so worth it.
 
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He recommends feeding your cat an hour and a half before bedtime. Notice how your cat gets the rips at 10 pm, one half hour after feeding? Cats get a buildup of energy after eating. I know our cat Belle does. I play with her before feeding, she eats and afterwards, gets the rips for awhile, then settles down. I fed Belle just before sitting down to write this and guess what she's doing? If you feed your cat at 8 pm, he'll get the rips at 8:30, much easier for you to deal with. The rips may come sooner. When fed at 9:30 just as the household shuts down, your cat sits alone, letting this energy build until he can no longer contain it, then at 10 pm, he just explodes into action.

If you don't have a cat condo, look into getting one pronto. Having something for the cat to climb and claw reduces damage to the rest of the house. We bought our cat what's called a Ripple Rug to play in. Gives Belle another place to play. She especially likes it when I rub it with catnip or hide treats inside. (Your 6 month old may not be old enough for catnip.)
Although I do want to say, (1) my cat is a grazer. And I know they all say "well you are going to have to turn it into just a meal", but really, my cat will not eat a meal in one sitting unless it's a half a can of wet food. But then I have to feed him half a can of wet food like 8 times in one day to hit is recommended calorie intake. I am not home enough to do that.

Also, I really want to get him a cat condo or tree or whatever, but my place is so small I literally do not have room for one :(
 

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I feed my girls AT my bedtime. They eat, groom and sleep. Every cat is different so it may take a while to find the magic time for yours. My girls still go into rocket-butt mode with no warning, but I enjoy it when they do. They are 14 & 15 years old and I love it when they go a little crazy. They can leap from one end of a 9-foot sofa to the other, which still amazes me. I was lucky when they were kittens that Charlee had her sister Cali to play with, wrestle with and chase around for 13 years. We lost Cali a couple years ago, which is why I'm glad that Charlee has made it through that loss and now can still enjoy life with Cleo.

Some people may recommend getting a second kitten, which is not bad advice. I had four cats in a one-bedroom place, the size of your home doesn't matter. Getting cat trees helped a lot. They love to be up high. But I also recognize that getting another kitten may not be possible, with the extra expenses.

If you can power through these "terrible teen" years, it will be so worth it.
I am sorry to hear about Cali! But I am glad to hear Charlee enjoys her time with Cleo now.

I love when Jag goes into rocket-butt mode, as you call it haha. Just not in the middle of the night. If I am home and it's during the day, I just play with him. He's such a fun and active cat.

I have considered getting another kitten! Money-wise I think I could survive. But I don't have room for another litter box, so I can't do that. I also don't know if I would have the necessary time to take care of another cat. Maybe in a year once law school calms down a bit!
 

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I know people say one litter box per cat, plus one extra. There are no "rules" when it comes to cats. I had one litter box for 3 cats. I scoop 3 times a day. But you have a lot on your plate right now, which I completely understand from working with attorneys and clerks and law students. That first year of law school is so hard. Cat or no cat, I wish you the best of luck with your career.
 
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I know people say one litter box per cat, plus one extra. There are no "rules" when it comes to cats. I had one litter box for 3 cats. I scoop 3 times a day. But you have a lot on your plate right now, which I completely understand from working with attorneys and clerks and law students. That first year of law school is so hard. Cat or no cat, I wish you the best of luck with your career.
That's nice to hear! I feel like I could train them to both use the same litter box. I already clean Jag's 2-3 times a day. I have also considered offering up my time and home to foster kittens before they get adopted. Any thoughts on that?

And thank you! That means a lot :)
 

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I have no experience fostering kittens. I think it's admirable, but it takes a lot of time and effort, and I work full-time. Plus, my girls would not appreciate it. As it is now, if I don't come straight home from work, I walk in the door and Cleo is tapping her imaginary watch on her wrist as if to say, where have you been?
 
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Lady Silver Belle The Destroyer, Of Clan Grey Tiger
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Even a scratching post with a sleeping platform on top is better than nothing. You can also look into cat shelves that can hang on windows. There are solutions to make a home with limited space more cat friendly.

Each cat is a law unto themselves, but by nature, are not grazers. Leaving food out all the time for a cat isn't grazing, it's scavenging. Cats aren't scavengers. They're predators. You may want to get a timed feeder.

Cats are slaves to their stomach. Cats have no need to please a human as a dog does. Leaving food out 24/7 takes away your best tool for teaching your cat good manners. Cats respond to treats. If they're never hungry, treats lose their power.

Playing with your cat is good for you and the cat and strengthens bonding.

Look into creating vertical space. Make sure your cat has a scratching post. Set something up so your cat can comfortably look out a window. Find a way to put up a bird feeder by the window. Cats love watching birds. It's called cat tv.
 

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My apartment is not bare. I have a large window in my living room (which is also my dining room which is also my kitchen) and put a table by it. He sits along the sill and on the table. I also have a three-pronged cat scratch post at different levels and with elastic strings attached to balls for him to play with. I have various other toys that he can play with without me. I also cannot do a bird feeder, as I live in an apartment on the fourth floor.

As for vertical space, he has access to my bed, desk table/dining room table, my couch, the window sill, a bookcase, a coffee table, a bench, my bathroom sink, and some other tables throughout my apartment.

As for feeding, I do not keep the bowl constantly full. I feed him twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. He just does not eat it all. I wake up every morning with food still in the bowl from the night before. So, even if I had a timed feeder... the result would be the same, as I am a timed feeder in human form.
 
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