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What's my cat want?

Posted by ineffablespace (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 20:29

When the cat was a kitten, and it was colder out, she slept with one or both of us at night. When it was time for her to get up in the morning, she started out with a couple licks on the face, followed by plucking at my feet, and initially this escalated all the way up to biting and head butts if I tried to completely ignore it.

We were able to discourage the biting and head butts, but she still wakes me up by: 1) staring at me intently, 2) licking my face and 3) plucking at my feet. At this point, I am starting to wake up as soon as she starts staring and once she plucks at my feet I get up.

The problem is that the time has gotten earlier, so I am now getting up between 4:30 and 5:00.

However, once I am up, all she really wants me to do is walk her downstairs and into the kitchen. I don't really understand why, because some nights she sleeps down there most of the night anyway. But she will wait until I walk more than halfway down the steps, trill very loudly and run to the landing, then she waits for me to go the rest of the way down and goes into the kitchen.

I don't feed her, she always has a bit of dry food and water available. Some days she doesn't even expect me to walk her downstairs, I just have to get up, walk out of the bedroom--she will follow me and then flop down on the stairs or the landing and I am allowed to go back to bed.

What I can't figure out is why she needs the escort downstairs, since all I am doing is walking her down and going back to bed? Especially now that she doesn't necessarily sleep with us, and comes from various other parts of the house to engage in this ritual?

Anybody have any ideas what this behavior is about?

Also. I am not alpha in this household (sometimes I think I am gamma, third to the cat), but I am the one tapped for this duty.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What's my cat want?

Maybe she's bored! Have you tried just shutting her out of the bedroom? I did this with my cat and he would stick his paw under the door and literally shake the door - so that was not a good option!

I would get a water bottle filled with pennies and when she wakes you up I'd shake the bottle loudly and shoo her off the bed. If she let's you sleep to a reasonable time, then get up, but if you don't want to get up that early I'd let her know that she's not getting her way.

You've reinforced this negative behavior and she now knows she can get your attention if she's persistent. You need to be firm and she will probably stop doing it (hopefully!)


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RE: What's my cat want?

Cats by nature are nocturnal...4 am being prime time for them, so she just wants you up because she is. We used to call Cas our alarmiscat as weekend or not, he'd wake us up about 5 as that's when he thought we should be up. If we were lucky we could pet him a bit and encourage him to curl up again with us and go back to sleep....


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RE: What's my cat want?

I've definitely reinforced that if she wakes me up I will get up. But yes, I can close the door when she goes out and that's the end of it, no further disturbances. So she's not interested in my Staying up. Actually if I walk her downstairs I can go back to bed and there are no further disturbances even if I leave the door open.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Agree, you have reinforced the undesirable behavior. Kitty is bored, maybe needs a sibling.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Ours will also start waking me up at that time. He mostly wants to be fed. I don't feed him. If I Iock him out of the BR, he cries and scratches on the door. He just wants attention. I don't know why he thinks we've "abandoned" him. He's 10 years old.

Luckily, I am a pretty early riser, but sometimes I have to put him in the guest room. Of course, he continues to cry and scratch there!

Once I get up and have my coffee, he loves to cuddle up next to me and be my coffee buddy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat Alarm Clocks are the Best Alarm Clocks


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RE: What's my cat want?

Agree, you have reinforced the undesirable behavior. Kitty is bored, maybe needs a sibling.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Is it o.k. to be laughing hysterically over your kitty's antics? The visual of the staring, nibbling, etc. cracks me up, and her only goal is to be escorted downstairs! My first thought was, "Welllll, you are dealing with a cat after all":)

We lost our 17 y.o. boy in March and I really miss his silliness. Wishing you luck in finding a solution:)


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RE: What's my cat want?

As an aside, we made an apptmt to look at kittens to adopt. It's been over a year since we lost Cas and I think we're ready for 1 or 2 ...we'll see what they've got....


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RE: What's my cat want?

I got a new cat and she did that but she definitely wanted food. I got in the dangerous trap of reinforcing this by getting up and feeding her just so I could sleep. DH quickly set me straight on that. Now we just feed half the dinner food right before bed and all is well.

Annie - how exciting that you may get new kitties. I have three cats and I always think when one dies I will just have two but something always causes me to get a third. We got the new six month old kitty last October and she has been so fun - after we got beyond the 4am waking.


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RE: What's my cat want?

This really makes me appreciate my dog!!!! ;-)


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RE: What's my cat want?

"What's my cat want?"

Power and control and to rule the world.

Oh wait, they already do!


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RE: What's my cat want?

I've had cats for most of my 71 years and absolutely love them! Your little girl *owns* you and is showing her love for you! The head butts. love bites, rubbing, are all signs of affection, as well as ownership. She needs more touching from you, and she's doing what she would like you to mimic. My cats love when I scratch their head, right on the top. As kittens, that's where most of the attention came from Mama. Love it up with her.

As for food, cats need to eat more than dogs, not just twice a day. Hard food should always be in the dish, but don't fill it and expect her to eat it until it's gone. Just like us, they like fresh food as well as fresh water, daily! I feed my 2 cats 1/2 cup per day, at bedtime, and also give treats. This keeps them sleeping thru the night.They get 1/2 can of Fancy Feast twice a day.


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RE: What's my cat want?

If you haven't seen Simon's cat, you simply must.

Here is a link that might be useful: Simon's Cat...Wake Up!


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RE: What's my cat want?

Your kitty just wants some love and attention. It's your baby. It has no other companions. Kitties are the best things.


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RE: What's my cat want?

This may be too simple - but have you tried shutting the door so that she can't come into the bedroom to wake you?

We had a cat that would wake us up by sitting on my pillow, staring at my face and then gently touching my eyelid with her paw. I think she was watching my eye move beneath the lid. If that didn't work he'd jump on our feet beneath the covers.

We finally decided to shut the bedroom door and leave him outside. He cried for a few nights but within a week he adjusted.


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RE: What's my cat want?

We had a very devious cat that would yowl each morning so we would get up and feed him. He started yowling earlier and earlier so we ignored him.

He escalated things to the next level by jumping on my dresser and deliberately pushing knick knacks on to the floor. We ended up shutting him out of the room even though I worried that the closed door would make it harder to hear our toddlers upstairs. I am a cat person but that cat was my nemesis.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Annie, too funny!

Time changes drive us nuts, the cat takes weeks to adjust, just in time for the next time change.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Caroleoh, our cat will also rattle the door with his paw. At least if he's in the guest room it's not so bad.

Annie, good to hear you are considering kitties again.
Our big guy who looks like your late Cas is very much an alpha male and he is probably best being only cat right now. We would love another kitty, but our house is not that big, so I don't see it happening.


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RE: What's my cat want?

"As for food, cats need to eat more than dogs, not just twice a day. Hard food should always be in the dish, but don't fill it and expect her to eat it until it's gone."

This is a good way to ruin your cat's kidneys. Cats are designed to have periods of hunger which turns their urine acidic and cleans out their kidneys. No hunger, no acid, no clean. This is particularly true for males.

Our two cats are fed twice a day, only enough that they can eat at that setting, and are completely happy and healthy.


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RE: What's my cat want?

edit

This post was edited by Trebruchet on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 9:24


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RE: What's my cat want?

I have three cats, but only two of them wake me/us up at bedtime, during the night or too early. It's not a daily thing, but last night they woke me up 3 or 4 times within the first 30 minutes.

One walks across our pillows, then headbutts and bites the top of my head/pulls my hair. The other will just attack my feet or get too close to the small dog under the covers/snuggled against my stomach, then she growls. DH will be glad when we "got out of the pet business." ;)

She's training you well. Does she have any toys around the house - rolled up piece of printing paper, gallon milk jug ring or the like, play mice? A Siamese I had years ago was extremely fond of plastic straws with one end pinched, put into itself to form a triangle toy. As long as she doesn't eat or is allergic to the plastic. When our ice maker broke and the fridge was pulled out, there were over 20 milk rings underneath. They also will play with the tops.


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RE: What's my cat want?

Might there be something going on at that particular time those mornings that is spooking your cat? Garbage collection? Neighbor letting a dog out? Our cat used to come get me whenever a neighborhood cat would sneak into our garage (where we fed her in the daytime). Took me weeks to figure it out.


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RE: What's my cat want?

A year ago I would have rolled my eyes at this statement, but she is such a good cat that I don't want to punish her for behavior that is essentially instinctual.

I wanted an open, dog-like cat, and I got one. My sister has a cat that is every bit as inscrutable and hostile toward humans as it's been since the day it showed up over ten years ago. (And it did just show up, it came in the pet door one day and that was it). I don't see the point of a pet like that.

Her other behaviors are really transparent:
Jumps on stool in corner of kitchen: time for wet food.
Paces in front bedroom: open window for bird watching
Taps on desk drawer: laser tag or tug of war (that's where the stuff is kept)
Sitting next to computer screen: you tube videos
Shakes her mouse and drops it at your feet: play catch
Crouching and peeking around door: play stalking or hide and seek (the signals are a bit different)

These are her signals and mostly they are just strong suggestions: I think she gets if you are too busy for some of them (feeding time excluded)

She lets you brush her, massage her feet, cut her claws, look at her teeth (working on brushing them).

So this one behavior that's a bit pushy doesn't bother me too much, but I would just like to know why it's necessary for me to get up with her even if it's for less than sixty seconds. She doesn't cry if she gets closed out, or scratch or do anything destructive.

I thing it's mostly control and, that's the time she wants to get up. But I don't think she's bored, because she doesn't have any of those behaviors. I just think it's odd that it's basically a ritual: either an escort downstairs or out into the hallway and that's all it takes.


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RE: What's my cat want?

If it's at all possible to ignore her or discourage her in some way, I'd try that. Our cat used to stand on top of me in the a.m. to get my attention. I'd kind of shake him off which he didn't like and he eventually stopped.

She sure can't be accused of not having a personality; she sounds soooo cute!


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RE: What's my cat want?

Well perhaps if you do less and less each time you can train her to be satisfied with just a pet and a back to sleep. Cats are very ritualistic and once created, they will want to perpetuate it. Cas and DH had a daily ritual which included him going into the closet to play with shoe laces while DH was getting dressed...


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RE: What's my cat want?

I have just put her out in the hall and not escorted her downstairs, and if that's the case, she will just wait quietly outside most of the time, so maybe I am doing a bit less.

The video you posted is pretty much it, except for the baseball bat. (And also that it's not about being fed, it's not really about anything except getting me up.)

Like I said, I don't want to do too much actual discipline here because I really feel like I lucked out considering I am not a natural cat person.


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RE: What's my cat want?

My cat does something similar in that she requires an escort down the hall to the stairs.

Every night about 10 minutes after I get into bed, she starts crying and scratching on my daughter's closed door. She does not want to go into their room, she just knows that will get me up. She will not stop scratching or crying until I walk her down the hall to the stairs. I then shut the child gate at the top of the stairs, and she spends the rest of the night quietly downstairs.

I cannot understand this. She does this no matter what time I go to bed--9 pm or 3 am. Until I go to bed, she is fine on her own.

Every morning around 7 am when my husband gets up, she comes back upstairs and climbs into our bed and snuggles with our little dog all morning.

I can't understand why I need to escort her down the hall or why she does it when I get into bed, or why she just won't sleep in our bed. (If I see her before I get into bed, I just put her downstairs, but often she is nowhere to be found until I get into bed.)


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RE: What's my cat want?

Discipline and training of cats when done gently and consistently won't change their personality or lovingness, it will only put limits on their behavior. Cas, like many cats, would bump his head up against the water dish as I went to put it on the floor and spill it. So I trained him to do "polite kitty". I would have him sit and stay and just watch as I put the dishes down, and he couldn't go to the dishes until I said "OK" and pet him. He learned very quickly that he got to the food faster when he waited than when he didn't.


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RE: What's my cat want?

This made me think of you. :) I am no help. My cats are kind of nuts, and I have OSH's which talk a LOT. I am down from 4 to two :( and I keep looking even though I know I should not get any more.

Here is a link that might be useful: what it is like to live with cats


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RE: What's my cat want?

So cute boop. I better not show that to DH until after we get new kitties!


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Here she is:


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RE: What's my cat want?

She is gorgeous and so smart!


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RE: What's my cat want?

Oh how lovable!

Reminds me of the Cas when he was wee...I was so in love with the color of his eyes, I matched it to a Ralph Lauren paint color and painted our mbr gold.


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RE: What's my cat want?

That picture is so funny! It sums up her personality exactly as you have described!


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RE: What's my cat want?

Awwww - how cute!! She looks like she's thinking - WHY AREN'T YOU PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO ME!!!


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RE: What's my cat want?

ooh, I would love an Oriental Short Hair!

to the OP: have you tried really playing with your cat hard and tiring it out right before bed?


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RE: What's my cat want?

Our cat Cuddles love the weekends when my DS gets up early as he starts work at 6 am. She usually sleeps on the couch but must hear him get up and is sitting outside his door when he opens it. She runs down the stairs with him. Follows him everywhere. Constantly rubs against him. Tries to get into his cereal bowl, etc.

It seems she just is so happy that someone is up early and wants to play!

The first few years with us she slept with DH and I but her constant purring and walking on our heads made us have to lock her out of the room.

I think we forget that cats like to play with us too, just like dogs.

Our cat has food constantly in her bowl. She eats a few times a day. She is 9 and completely healthy.

Cuddles looks just like your cat ineffablespace but with a white bikini.


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RE: What's my cat want?

"Alpha" has gone to Florida for a week, so kitten is stuck only with me, we'll see how it goes.

She gets plenty of interaction and attention: either one of us would probably wear her like a fur collar and pet her constantly, which is embarrassing.

She gets a vigorous workout in the morning after I leave for work (I leave earlier) and when I get home even on my late nights, she is usually up for a game of catch and some hide and seek before bedtime. I can't get a good picture of her standing on her back legs with her front legs stretched out trying to "scare" me, but that's what she does.

But we will see what this week brings when we are alone together.


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RE: What's my cat want?

She is adorable and looks full of energy! It's also obvious she knows she's being photographed~such a little poser!


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RE: What's my cat want?

What a beauty she is!!!


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RE: What's my cat want?

Thanks to those who posted links, I laughed so loud that my ginger tabby came to see what was going on.

I've had cats off and on for 65 years since I was 7 and have learned a few things. They are no longer allowed in any bedroom in my house which eliminates cat hair in those areas and lets me have a better sleep. One of my previous cats would jump from my bedside table to my tummy several times during the night which is why I banned them from the bedroom.

My ginger tabby does scratch at my bedroom door occasionally but stops if I talk to her. She is a kneader and also licks with her very coarse tongue, both behaviors I can't tolerate for long. I just turn her upside down and pet her tummy which she only tolerates for a short while so that ends the behavior temporarily. I expect this behavior is because she was weaned too early.

I adore cats but will not allow behavior that makes me unhappy or uncomfortable. They can adapt to human rules!

Good luck with changing her behavior! And it may not be possible to 'read' her mind, cats can be inscrutable!


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RE: What's my cat want?

I used to lock Casimir out of my room at night. He would jump up on my bed at about 2am and scare the bejeezus out of me...I mean having a 20 lb. thing land on your bed in the middle of the night can be pretty frightening! Not sure what's going to happen with the new girls...but so far they are doing a great job of keeping each other company.


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RE: What's my cat want?

allison, thanks for the suggestion of the bottle rings...my new kitties really enjoy them.


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Just read this and am wondering if you live in the Northern part of the country. I live in the Pacific Northwest where our daylight hours begin quite early this time of year. Every late May, early June my cat does the same thing. I think the extended day light throws off their sense of time! Once we get into July and the daylight hours are slowly decreasing she's back to normal. Hope it helps.


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RE: What's my cat want?

You're welcome, Annie. Saw your new pair on other thread - adorable! Just make sure they don't eat pieces of them and aren't allergic to plastic. I have DS's cat and he can't eat or drink from plastic - gets little bumps on his outer mouth.

This post was edited by allison0704 on Sat, Jun 7, 14 at 20:37


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RE: What's my cat want?

Our kitty goes into lockdown at night (laundry room with connected crawl space so lots of area to roam) and first kid up lets him out which is great for the kid because the cat is really loving at that time. He gets his 4th meal with lockup, and as lockdown time nears he'll pester me by meowing and running ahead to see if or hoping I'll follow him. Laundry room contains his box, and comfy sleeping spots. Lots of times I get down there first and he's still in his bed sleeping (7 am).

I started this because he'd walk across my body several times through the night and I'd have trouble falling back asleep. I knew I couldn't keep that up!


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RE: What's my cat want?

What's my cat want?

As any cat, your undivided and completely focused attention at any time of the day or night as they so choose.
:)


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