How do you get a cat to stop meowing at 6 AM?

Okay, I’m really sorry about all the “how do I make my cat …?” threads I’ve posted lately, but this is a big one. I’ve gotten him to be less active at night by tiring him out in the evening and giving him some wet food right before bedtime, but still every day at 6 AM he meows and meows and meows for a little while. I don’t respond to him at all, I don’t feed him right away when I wake up (I feed him when I go to work), he doesn’t get anything out of it. He still meows.

I know he’s a (warning, 5 dollar word ahead) crepuscular animal, and that he’s gonna be active around dawn, I just don’t want him to whine. (He has the saddest little meow noise ever, too. Also, if you’ve ever played Urban Dead, when he looks at his food bowl when it’s empty and then up at me he says “Mrh?”) My boyfriend is a light sleeper and says he can’t stay over anymore until Dewey shuts the hell up at 6 AM. I’ve tried shaking a can of pennies, doesn’t seem to bother him. I can’t see where he is to squirt him with the bottle then either. I don’t mind him making noise any other time of day, just in the morning. (And if he could shut up when I go to the damned bathroom, that would also be a plus. I let him in this morning so Aaron could sleep without him meowing at the door, and he insisted on sitting in my lap and not being get-riddable!)

Aaron says I should shut him out of the bedroom, but his litter box is in the master bath and really that’s the best place for it. I don’t want to put it somewhere carpeted, so the guest bedroom is out, and I really don’t want it in the living room or anything. (Plus, eventually I hope he and the dog can live together in harmony, and the litter box is not a snack bar.) Also, the cat would go nuts if we shut him out, and make more noise anyway, and claw up the door besides, I bet. What should I do?

Feed him. Why wait until you go to work? Feed him when he mewls, and chances are he’ll go back to sleep with a full tummy.

THESE may help.

They are intended for an Affair Of Honor At Dawn.

Then he’ll be trained to wake up at 6 AM.

Any chance you can leave a little dry cat food in his dish overnight? So he has something to nibble on?

Set his watch back a couple of hours without him noticing; he’ll think he’s meowing at 6AM, but it will really be 8 O’Clock!

I have kept more than 12 cats in my life (I usually have two at a time) and one of them lived to be 20 (kind of like 100 for humans) so I have learned a few tricks.

Of course your cat will get you up at 6 a.m.! He is awake and you are there, ready to get up and feed him and play. The pennies in the can or the water pistol will soon become a game, especially if he is a young cat. A cat that is confined for a few hours overnight will simply accept his confinement and when he sees there is no point in meowing, he will shut up and sleep or just doze (the way cats do, for up to 16 hours out of 24 anyhow)! Cats are hard-wired that way. If there is nothing to do, nobody to play with and nothing to hunt, they go quiet and conserve energy. They do not get bored like humans.

The only answer is to confine the cat in a room where you will not hear him when you go to bed and let him out when you are ready to wake up. Surely if you close the door to the guest room and maybe your bedroom door, you cannot hear him? He will NOT resent you and it is NOT cruel, al long as he has his litter box and some water.

What about when you have guests? You can move the litter box to the living room. Show the cat where it is before you go to bed, and leave him water. He will get it. Tell your guest to close their door unless they like to get up at 6 a.m.

Or maybe put the litter box in the living room. That way you never have to move it. You be the judge, since I do not know the layout of your home.

What about carpets, odour, the unsightly litter box? Well, frankly, the sight of a litter box (especially an uncovered one) filled with kitty nuggets is no esthetic treat even in a bathroom.

Here is a suggestion. Hide the liiter box inside a larger container that can serve as a piece of furniture. As long as it has one hole in the side for your car to access it, and open easily for you to get at it and change the litter. You could get something in plastic (maybe one of those storage bins that are about the size or a large steamer trunk. That way you can take the litter box right out and hose down the plastic insides. Cover it with a tablecloth or something.

Or even just put the box under a small end table covered with a tablecloth. Regular washing will keep the cloth clean-smelling.

Or build a little piece of furniture out of wood with a plastic “floor” that the litter box slides onto. This allows you to put it in a carpeted area. You can just wipe the plastic floor of the kitty bathroom with a rag lightly soaked with a solution of bleach to kill odours.

Always use the covered kind of litter box, because your car can “miss the toilet” just like humans do once in a while. Another option is a large plastic boot-tray under the litter box.

Another word about odours. Use scoopable litter. I would never use the other kind. Daily scooping takes about 15 seconds. Then sprinkle a bit of those baking soda fresheners. Get into the habit and you should have an odour-free kitty litter no matter where you put it, with minilmal effort.

Good luck with your little bundle of poop (I mean “joy”).

He generally has food left in his dish when I go to bed - I feed him when I go to work in the morning, and he noshes on it all day. Maybe I should give him a refill before bed (I do give him a little bit of wet food then, but I guess I could also refill the dry food dish.) I really don’t think he’s begging for food, though, I think he’s like my dad - there’s no particular reason, he just thinks people ought to be awake at dawn.

I am not getting out of bed to feed the cat; there’d be no fixing him then! The goal is to not get up at 6 AM at all! I refuse to be one of those people who have been trained by their cats to get up and dance whenever the cat wants them to.

How do you stop a cat from meowing at 6 a.m.? Shoot the cat at 5 a.m.!

Just joking. :smiley: I love the little fur-covered dung machines!

Most of us “free feed” our cats with dry food. That is, there is always dry food left in their bowls.

Then, they get one feeding or two a day with a can or other food.

And, I like my cats to sleep with me, it’s part of the joy of having them, thus “keeping him out” isn’t a good option, IMHO.

Sure, soemtimes my cat will wake me up, but he’s learned that I usually ignore him and just roll back over, so both he and I have learned to compromise (in that now I can hear him, but not wake all the way up).

The odor of the litterbox isn’t so much of a problem - I’ve really been surprised at how well the Arm and Hammer litter really does work and it doesn’t smell. Also, I’m very good about scooping. I haven’t wanted to put it somewhere carpeted because he kicks litter all over the place. I got him a higher sided box, which has been a huge help (and also kept him from crapping on the wall again) but there’s still a lot of litter on the floor. Easy to clean up in the master bath, not so easy on carpet. Those litter box enclosure things are so expensive. Maybe a plastic container thing would work, though. Have to think about that. I’ve heard, though, that some cats won’t use a covered box. Isn’t that a problem? (I don’t want to find out the hard way that Dewey’s one of them.)

I’m concerned that if I shut him out of the bedroom or shut him up in a room or whatever that he’ll claw up the door paint. I mean, I don’t mind him in the bedroom, from when I go to bed until about 5:45, ya know? :wink: Also, I can’t quite let him into the guest bedroom yet because I haven’t catproofed it, and that’s where I put all my poisonous plants when I moved them out of the dining room. I need to take them to the office.

I really hate to sound snarky, but I’m going to anyway. Don’t marry this guy if you want to have kids. “I can’t stay over because I’m a light sleeper and the cat wakes me up” indeed. Emotional blackmail, anyone?

Somebody write this down, so we can remind her in a year or so.

“I refuse…” Like you have any choice in the matter!

:slight_smile: Oh, it’s not like that. I mean, he helped me pick the cat out, he’s not trying to get me to do anything except get the cat to shut up. He does sleep with earplugs. He just can’t live with things the way I can - he went nuts when the neighbors’ dog was barking a lot. I don’t think kids are, er, right for him, though. “The baby’s cryyyyyying AGAIN!”

And the cat hasn’t trained me yet to do anything but squirt him with the bottle when he gets up on the table. (Even as we speak I bet he’s lolling around on that table having a fine old time in my absence. Probably with a bellyfull of houseplant.)

On the subject, when a cat brings me one of his toys, am I supposed to admire his kill or play with him with it? With a dog, I’d know I was supposed to play with him with it, but when the cat brings me his feather-onna-stick, does it freak him out when I wave it around his head again? Zombie feather! Or does it make me maybe seem ungrateful for this gift of a dead feather-onna-stick?

Depends on the kitty. When mine show up with the Flutter-ball in their mouths, I praise them, then toss it into the air so they can play catch. Seems to work, although Havoc prefers to bat around the ones they have chewed the feathers off of first. She’s more of a mouser, while Pixel is the birder.

We have 3 cats and I keep a can of compressed air on the nightstand. One little psssst sends them running and out of your hair.

That sounds like a red flag to me, too.

Has this guy not heard of earplugs?

He wears earplugs.

I’m not sure why that’s such a dealbreaker…my SO is also a very light sleeper. All the OP’s SO is asking is to have the cat be a little quiet in the morning, and the OP doesn’t want her life run by a cat either.

It’s not the fact that he’s asking her to try to get the cat to be quieter- it’s the way he’s doing it. He’s saying he won’t sleep over anymore if she doesn’t get the cat to stop making noise. That strikes me as a bit of a “my way or the highway” type, which isn’t a good bet for an SO. He also might be someone who thinks that manipulating your SO by withholding sex is a good way to get them to do what you want. That’s not a healthy thing to have going on in a relationship.

Apologies to the OP if I’m reading way more into this than there is.

I re-read the OP and this is what it says:

Not won’t, can’t. And I know my SO has a similar problem - if he has to get up at 7:30, say, and something wakes him up at 6, that’s it. He’s awake then until he has to get up and he’s just lost all that sleep. I’m very sympathetic, being the heavy sleeper, and try to do what I can to prevent noise.

I think you’re supposed to throw a boot at it, or a tin can.