Question for Cat Experts

My girlfriend’s cats have an annoying habit. They come into the bedroom at about 4 or 5 in the morning and proceed to meow at us until they get some attention.

This causes my g/f a lot of consternation. I told her the reason they do that is because when they started doing that, she rewarded their behavior with attention. Now the kitties have it in their little brains: meows=attention that we crave. Since they’re 7 years old now, I say it’s far too late to change their behavior.

Do the experts agree with me? Or is there some solution I haven’t thought of yet? Is there such a thing as “kitty knock-out drops” that would just put them out for the night?

Tim
“My hovercraft is full of eels.”

We have one cat that thinks that 5:00 a.m. equals breakfast. Six years of 5:00 a.m.-meowing-equals-closed-in-basement have never shaken her views on the subject. Fortunately, I never have any trouble falling back asleep at 5:05 a.m.


Tom~

Try a squirt gun. It works well. Even on older animals.

I think cats have their individual personalities like people and it’s hard to say whether you can change the behavior of any one animal. I have two. The squirt gun hasn’t cured my youngest from staying off the dining room table, and I’ve been using it since she was a kitten. The older one (4 yrs) never gets on the table and I adopted her when she was a year old. The youngest still claws the carpet & furniture, even tho I’ve immediately taken her to the scratching posts and showed her. The oldest has never been a problem and used the scratching post without being shown. The wake-up-and-feed-me schtick didn’t last long with either cat when I ignored them a couple times (but then it takes a lot to wake me up). So put yours out of the bedroom and shut the door. He’ll get the message.

A well aimed shoe will usually work.

In a survey last year cat owners listed the number 1 reason for their pet(s) was companionship. Dogs got the same #1 vote.
But only cat owners would truely appreciate the next entry…“alarm clock.”
Every cat I’ve come across believes it knows when the household should get up.

Without a doubt, you got a problem bud. My girlfreind went to feed her Moms cats; her mom made the mistake of feeing them hard food, leving them for vacation, when they were fed wet food for years.

When my girlfreind came into the house, the cats, about 7-9 years old, meowed at her like they were starving.

Their food bowls were full!!!

I’d ignore the little bastards for a FEW weeks. It will take patience my son, but eventually, every animal will get the hint.

Or dump the girlfreind.

Torgo, close the bedroom door. Of course, then you can listen to the cats hanging around outside the door complaining, but it will be quieter.

You’re right, they have learned that this behavior gets attention, even if it’s negative attention (thrown shoe).

Cats have natural biological rhythms geared to their hunting instinct that cause them to be most active in the evening and early morning. At 4 or 5 a.m. their little internal alarm clocks tell them it’s time to start looking for their first meal of the day. They may be waking you up to invite you along, or it may be that they are displacing their restlessness by waking you up because they don’t have any better ideas.

You can try retraining them (the water gun is a good idea), but it will be a long process and you will still be waking up at the same time to try to squirt them with the water gun. And if they decide whatever aversive procedure you use (water gun, thrown shoe, etc.) is a new game, they’ll never give up - it satisfies their need for activity in the early a.m. But, if you use the water gun consistently every day for a couple of weeks, and they don’t like it (mine think the whole squirt thing is fun), you may convince them to let you sleep later.

Simplest thing is to keep the bedroom door closed. Or learn to sleep through the meowing.


Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

People will probobly disagree, but a well aimed Super Soaker squirt gun has solved all of my feline and K-9 behavior problems when all else failed. You keep it on the head board and as soon as it starts give it a blast. It doesn’t hurt (don’t get the double barreled one, just a strong one), it pisses them off good and they will sulk away (hopefully).
Your other solution is to keep her in another section of the house at night where you can’t hear her.
I do think it’s the nature of the beast, though. Don’t complain- I’ve got a 120# Rottie that used to do the same thing- woke me up every morning at about 5am by barking (in my face) and jumping on me. He was used to waking his former owner up for work. The squirt gun worked great.

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.
Zettecity

I’m sure you don’t want to see your cats upset, but the squirt gun is by far and away the most effective method. As long as you’re consistant (and accurate) the cats will get the message quickly. Case in point: we have a cat who would mess up all the recording equipment in my basement and with a little dose of water here and there she is now afraid if we even leave the door to the basement open…