Cat acting up at night

chi83November 25, 2009

Hello there,

I'm at my wit's end with one of my cats. I haven't been able to get a peaceful night sleep in months. He's fine during the day - he eats and sleeps and uses the litter box fine. He's affectionate and playful and quiet.

But then at bedtime he gets very loud. If I close my door, he will literally stand outside of it for hours a time crying and clawing the door and carpet. It's impossible to sleep through. I'm not exaggerating when I say hours, either. He will cry non-stop all night.

If I open the door, he does this strange routine where he will run into the room, cry a few times, scratch my bedroom carpet and then jump up on my bed and nuzzle me and purr. He does this over and over ALL night. Again, impossible to sleep through.

I live in a one bedroom apartment so there's no way to really confine him at night away from my bedroom and he is disruptive whether I let him in the room or not.

I'm thinking of taking him to the vet to see if it might be health-related but it mystifies me that it only happens at night. Even when I'm home with him all day, he doesn't cry at all.

The only other change I can think of is that I recently changed his litter about a month ago and he doesn't seem to like it much. He still uses the box and hasn't had any accidents but I notice that his routine frequently also has him scratching around in the box before he comes in my room. He also scratches himself and licks during the behavior so maybe he's itchy or something.

I bought new litter today so I'll see if that helps. I should also mention that he knows very well that he's being bad. If I drag myself out of bed to come scold him, he takes off at full speed running from me as soon as I get up cause he knows he might get a lil swat for ruining my carpet. :P

It's just insanely frustrating to not be able to sleep at all. I'm a very light sleeper and I honestly haven't had a night without being woken up in months now.

Oh, I should also mention that it's not a specific time at night. It could be 8 pm or 3 am, whenever I go to bed, when it starts.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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Oh, and as far as the scratching in the litter box, he's always done that since he was a baby. He's the cat that will spend an hour digging in there for fun, and he likes to cover things that my other cats do. So I don't know if that behavior is directly correlated to a litter box problem.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 1:02PM
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I don't think its a litter box problem, I think your kitty likes being with you at night. I like it when my three kitties join us on the bed at night. But if he is waking you up you can try having some white noise on at night (like a fan or radio) to disguise his meowing/purring. If he is a young kitty, he may grow out of it and settle down. If he is being really annoying, try squirting at him with water in a spray bottle (towards him, not in his face). And reward his good behavior with extra attention/petting. Good luck, I hope you and your kitty have good nights :o)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 8:48PM
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I agree. My cat has been waking me up off and on during the night for the four years I've had him.

When I first got him he was not very affectionate -- except at 5:00am! I always said he only loves me during the night, could care less about me during the day.

The best thing is give me a lot of attention before bed (playing petting, etc...) that might gain you some sleep time.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Thanks for the input.

I've had him for a few years, and he's always cried on occasion, but it only used to be once every few months. If I got out of bed and held him and cuddled him for a few minutes, he would usually stop clawing at my door for the night but that doesn't seem to help anymore.

I'll try a little more attention. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 5:01PM
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My cat likes to wake me up at all hours. Starts with gentle patting on my face, leads up to poking me with her claws a bit. I have, in the middle of being woken up pushed her off me, maybe a bit to hard, but she is fine. Sorry kitty. Now she tickles me with her whiskers. I wonder what is next.

This might give you a good laugh, kind of.

Here is a link that might be useful: simons cat

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 9:36AM
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I am dealing with the same thing right now with my cat. I have a male cat who is approx. 6 months old. He can be so sweet and loveable one minute and then start acting crazy the next. He whines and cries most of the time and seems to get an attitude with me when I correct him from doing something he shouldn't. He will spend a long time in his litter box scratching and scratching long after he has covered up his "stuff". Then when he gets out of the litter box he scratches at the mat that his water and food bowl is on and sometimes tips over the water bowl in the process. Don't know what the fascination is with pulling at the mat after he gets out of the litter box. I usually have to run him off to make him stop and then he gets mad at me and tries to sneak back to the litter box and scratch some more. Drives me crazy! I have to be careful with any cabinet or closet doors that I open because he will always come charging when he sees one open. I have accidentally shut him up in the pantry, bedroom closet and a bathroom cabinet. He even tries to get in the dryer sometimes when I open it and the fridge. He hates to have the blinds down and will mess with them until he almost bends them up. He wakes me up most nights around 2 or 3am. Most nights he ends up being locked in the laundry room where he will cry and cry. I have to wear ear plugs so I can try and get some sleep. I live in an apartment so I am waiting for the day when someone complains because I am sure they can hear him.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I don't know how to train a cat (if that is even possible to do)and he is making me miserable!! Any advice would be welcome!!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 10:12AM
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Maybe kitty is bored. Get a bunch of cardboard boxes and cut holes in them and make a "maze". There is not a cat around that doesn't like boxes to play in, and sleep in, put in a few old towels to sleep on, maybe some with your scent. Get some catnip toys, or buy some catnip and sew up some things and fill with catnip, they really don't care what they look like. Switch the maze around every once in a while to make it "new". They really don't understand you have to get up and go to work, they just want to play. Probably by one year old or so he will calm down a bit.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 10:26AM
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I wish mine grew out of it but he's almost 5 now and still super playful. :P

He's getting slightly better, he only woke me up 3 times last night. I think he might be cold...his paws and ears are always freezing when he does his spastic leap onto my bed in his little cycle.

I keep the heat pretty low at night and he's a scrawny little thing so that doesn't help. I try to put him under the covers but he just purrs and darts away so I let him find his own shelter. I wake up with him often curled up sleeping against me.

I also started running an air filter for white noise and that does help me stay asleep once I fall asleep.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Play with your kitty during the evening to give him that attention and tire him out a bit. Does he like to chase one of those fishing pole toys? They are good to wear a cat out. Also chasing balls is good.

I wonder if he had his own heated pet bed he would sleep there. We have one from Doctors Foster & Smith which we plug in for our cat, only in the winter, of course.

You need your sleep, so maybe kitty needs to be locked in another room with food, litter box and toys. I know this would be a last resort measure, but losing sleep over a cat is more than annoying.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 6:40PM
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When I first got married (a zillion years ago), my brother in law (our roommate at the time) got me a kitten. He knew I loved cats and had always had them (yes, I know I'm known as the dog lady now). Akikae was an awesome cat. However, when we closed our bedroom door at night without her, she would have a FIT. She would literally body-slam the door until we let her in.

I'm not sure if I know of a solution for you other than to let her in, and then keep some toys in there for her. I would definitely switch back to the kitty litter she use to use for a while as well.

BTW, before I knew of the joys of spay/netuer, she did once have a litter of kittens. The day she had them? She came to me INCESSANTLY to come with her. I would follow, and she would jump into my grandmother's armoire! That is where she had the kittens that night, but apparently she wanted me to come watch. I think she made me make about 10 trips to that armoire before the big event.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 1:05AM
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I actually came here today to ask this same question, but I realized I already did last year!

Same cat is still doing the same routine. Which makes me feel better as I'm now certain it's not a health problem or I would have seen other issues by now.

He scratches and howls at the door if I close it, and if I open it he runs in circles around the room. Jumping up on my bed, purring madly then jumping down, running into the bathroom and yipping, making yowling noises at the window, jumping back on the bed. Almost always between 2 and 4 AM.

So frustrating!!! I wonder if it's related to the cooler temperatures as it didn't seem to be such an issue earlier this year.

He's 5 now. No other issues at all. It must just be his personality but the thing is, he KNOWS he's being bad. If he cries and scratches at the door enough that I have to get up at 3 AM, he turns and runs from the door like a bat out of hell so he doesn't get in trouble. I usually find him acting all cute in the living room where he'll wrap around my legs and purr and act all innocent then when I stumble back into my room, he'll dart in.

Little brat. He sure has me trained! Good thing he's cute!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:49AM
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Is he neutered? He sounds like a male cat wanting to find a female in heat!
If he's by himself you should consider getting him a friend that will play with him and burn off some of his energy.

The other thing I'd suggest you do is have your vet do a fecal test for giardia. It can cause cats to itch and chew on themselves. It can also cause weight loss which may explain his 'scrawny' condition.

The stray kitten I found had giardia and by the time the Cat Clinic ran tests she was chewing aggressively on herself. The symptom disappeared shortly after treatment.

For discipline, keep a spray bottle of water nearby and set it to stream vs spray.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Do you play with him before you go to bed at night?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:28PM
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He's neutered. I also have 2 other cats so he has some company! All males.

He's always been small since I got him 5 years ago. He's about 10 pounds. He just seems tiny compared to my others that weigh in at 17 and 20 pounds. :)

No, I don't play with him. I could try doing that. Usually he sleeps on my bed all evening then when I'm up and moving around getting ready for bed is when he finds his energy!

Thanks for the advice so far!!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Sounds like normal cat behavior to me since cats are nocturnal naturally. Early evening and just before dawn are the perfect times for hunting. Our cats are never indoors at night by choice. I only lock them in when the weather in really frigid.

Our adult cats sleep most of the day and once awake can't wait to start hunting.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 9:12AM
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