OT - My cat is wrecking my sleep! Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pepper, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I have had major insomnia for over 13 yrs since coming down with these DD's - sleeping over an hour at a time is a victory for me. The past week or so I have been sleeping a little better (thanks to the detox foot pads I think) but my cat is waking me up.

    I have two cats including one beautiful tiny (6 lbs) female tabby who is almost 8 yrs old. Over the past few years she has started getting up earlier and earlier in the morning. She has trained my DH to get up and feed her at 4 am!

    The past few weeks it has been really cold here and she has not been able to go outside and get her exercise. So she sleeps more than usual and then is ready to play at 1 am! And she wants me to play with her!

    I take my meds and have been getting to sleep earlier than ever but am rudely awakened by this cat at 1 am. This is very discouraging to say the least.

    If I put her out in the hallway, she cries for hours (yes, hours) and scratches at the door.

    Giving her away as some friends have suggested is just not an option. I am considering bringing her to the vet and getting tranquilizers or something.

    Has anyone else ever had to deal with this problem? Any ideas?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    [This Message was Edited on 02/18/2006]
  2. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Would putting her in a large wire dog crate work? with her litter and bedding. This way scratching won't waken you but maybe she would be yowling. A long way from your bedroom?

    Just a thought.

    Also, maybe you could get something from the vet.

    Love Anne C

    If Carla reads this, read my post to you re Tabby

  3. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I had considered putting her in the basement but could just see her crying all night at the basement door. Maybe a crate in the basement would be the answer. She would not be happy, but I have to do something.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
  4. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    Try playing with her at night to see if you can wear her out.

    When I got off the computer last night, Biscuit was sleeping on the stairs.
    I have the opposite problem you do. I brought her up and put her on the bed and she slept the rest of the night there.

    My husband is working OT this weekend and he gets up at 5 AM, so she is happy to get her canned food then.

    I know she is cold and I feel sorry for her. She is 11 years old and she sleeps most of the night. We have the heat go down to 62 at night.

    Somehow I was able to get most of my cats on our schedule of sleeping at night and then being up and playing off and on during the evening and day.

    We only have Biscuit now as our other cats died.

    So, Biscuit gets canned cat food at 6 AM and then around 4 PM.

    Sorry I don't have any ideas of what to do. Personally, I couldn't put my cat in a crate all night.


  5. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Dear Pepper,
    Boy, can I identify with this! My cat is 13 yers old and has a thyroid problem. This has upset his time clock and he goes through periods where he wakes me up earlier and earlier every morning, until he reaches about 2:30a.m..

    What I have done is put him out of the bedroom and close the door. He howls for about a half hour, and then goes to sleep on the couch, (or plays in the living room). I only need to do this once and he is thoughtful for about a month. Then he starts waking me up earlier and earlier, again, by poking me in the shoulder. So, I repeat the process. (I no longer put him in a cage at night, because he is my safety net - he awakens me if my blood sugar goes too low).

    I have a cage that is on wheels and is about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide, and almost 3 feet deep. It has "shelves" in it that the cat can use to leap arund on, and there in room on the floor of the cage (which is linoleum) for a litter box. You could invest in one of those, and keep it in the laundry room (or baement) and then put her in it at night with some food and toys. They cost around $100.00, and can usually be ordered from your local pet store. This worked for me.

    Good luck,
  6. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Suggesting the crate-I have a huge one my cats travelled across the country in, with us, in the back of our van, it holds three cats comfortably. It is really big-I don't like to confine any animal, please don't think I am cruel I adore cats and have rescued over 130 of them over the years, was chairperson of a cat sanctuary for a while, finding them homes. At the vets, or kennels(which I would not use,) they are in much smaller crates. Mine is 6ft by 3ft 6in by 4ft. and worked great for the travelling and the cats were quite content.

    The poster sounded so desparate for sleep and having spent a lot of time sitting up with my sick dogs last year, I know how it can be.

    I am worried now in case someone here thinks I am hard hearted, I live, breathe and die my cats.

    You could get another kitty too, as maybe yours is lonely.

    Hope I can retain my self worth here.

    Love Anne C
  7. pepper

    pepper New Member

    for your thoughtful replies.

    Anne, I do not think that you are at all mean! Keeping my little one in a crate (a nice big one of course with room for her to climb, etc. like Terry has) might be the answer if nothing else works. I am desperate for sleep.

    This was not such a problem when my insomnia was worse. It didn't matter if she was jumping on me and head-butting me because I was awake anyhow. Now that I am managing to get a better sleep some nights this is most annoying.

    This cat does not sleep 18 hours a day - unlike her brother who probably sleeps 23 hours at least! She is hyper, awake and active most of the day. However, preventing her from sleeping in the evening is probably the right idea.

    I played with her tonight and totally wore her out! She was quite excited when I came upstairs to check the computer and she plopped herself right onto the bed. I hope that means that she will sleep until dawn at least.

    Funny thing is - I'm worn out too and am heading off to bed myself and it is only 8 pm. Maybe we will both get a decent sleep.

    I appreciate the suggestions.
    Thank you!
  8. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I'm not mad or anything, it is just I couldn't put my cat in a crate. I had to put Biscuit in a shut room with one of the boys for the first 2 weeks we had her to keep my other large male cat from harassing her. She was just 3 months old. That about killed me. That was a year prior to me getting FMS.

    Then we let her free at night and the male did harass her so much she stayed downstairs and he stayed upstairs.

    He died in 2001, of sudden death, so now Biscuit is the only cat, but she still doesn't stay upstairs too much.

    She is near the steps and I'm sooo ready for bed, but I have to sit up because of GERD and stomach problems I'm having.

    I'm not upset at anyone for talking about a crate. It is just something that I, personally, couldn't do again after the room thing for 2 weeks.

  9. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I have asked my DH not to feed her as early as he does. He went out of town last week and I was left with this situation. You're right - he needs the retraining. She used to be fine about getting fed at 7 am but he just gave in to her harrassment. She is so persistent that I can understand it but this is becoming serious for me since I need my sleep.

    There have been many mornings when she would bug me until I got up to feed her and then she would take ONE BITE of her food and then curl up and go to sleep. I have a feeling that she didn't want to be fed - she just wanted me up!

    She has been sleeping on the bed with me for so many years that I cannot see shutting her out of the room. She cries and cries and cries and would drive me crazy. For a tiny cat, she has a very loud voice.

    She has dry food in her bowl at all times so if she were really hungry she could eat that.

    If playing with her in the evening doesn't work, I think I will take her to the vet and ask about L-Tryptophan or crating. I will see what the vet suggests. I hate to spend the $$$ on the vet right now but my sleep is worth it.

    Kat-e, me on sleeping meds, frustrated and exhausted in the middle of the night with a spray bottle in my hands - I can't imagine what all would be soaked without my even knowing it! Desperate situations call for desperate measures. If I get truly desperate, maybe....

    Thanks, everyone. I did have a somewhat better sleep last night although she woke up for a short time at 1:30 and wanted to play. It didn't last long so I suspect that the playing in the evening did help.

  10. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    and my husband would get up at 4 and 5am to feed her, well it was just too much so we stopped. She pestered us for quite a few nights and then stopped.

    It's worthwhile putting up with it because she will get the message eventually.

    I dont take with putting cats in crates, cats are independent, they're not dogs. Please try the other way first.

  11. pepper

    pepper New Member

    Yes, the crate will be a last resort. She loves to wander around so I know that would be very hard for her.

    I love this little cat despite her loud obnoxious voice and her bugging ways in the middle of the night. I call her "my girl" since she is the only female besides me that has ever been in this house! 2 husbands, 2 sons, 2 male cats, several male hamsters. I am sure the fish we had were male too! So I do not want to do anything to hurt my little girl.

    I am going to try to get DH's cooperation first and see if we can retrain her. After that, it will be a trip to the vet's. Maybe L-tryptophan will be the answer.

    Thanks for your help.
  12. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    you know I've found my old cat can get into new habits really quickly.

    She has started sleeping on my hub's chair at night and the past two nights she has sat and stared at him and as soon as he moved she was in his chair. Well last night, he didnt take it back, more fool him.

    We indulge her because she's 18 but when it comes to getting you up through the night, its no fun, I dont sleep well either and know exactly what it's like.

    I'm hoping a few nights being ignored will set your cat to rights. Hope so. Good luck.

  13. spiritsky

    spiritsky Member

    Our cats were always waking us up...Sometimes in the middle of the night to play and always at 5am. Something about wanting to get us up so we'd get up and make the bed which they could then snooze in after. After several years of this and realizing finally how it was affecting our health and sleep and trying all kinds of things, we finally had to take drastic measures. They seemed drastic at the time but ended up not being that bad at all. I bought them each a comfy cozing little cat house and set them up, in the GARAGE! Oh boy they didn't like it for the first couple of nights, their routine was getting changed, but after that they actually got used to it very quickly. One of them (Sonia) knows now that at around 9pm it's time for bed and when I take her to the garage door she goes to without complaint. The other one, a male, usually wants to stay up a bit longer and I'll sometimes indulge him - depending on how I'm feeling. Once you establish a routine for them they get used to it. And I love it! No Guilt, no feelings that, oh my poor little spoiled kitties are all alone in the garage, what a heartless terrible person I am. I love my cats, and like children I think we tend to spoil them a little too much. They are very adaptable when they want to be.

    But, on the other hand, where we live is cold but not sub zero temperatures in the winter. I don't think I would want them in the garage if it we're below zero, but a BASEMENT in the house, for sure...

    Sleep well.
  14. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Thanks for your reassurances. I feel OK now, I get so neurotic with the DD-don't we all? I think it is because the doctors are all so judgemental and we get in the habit of thinking we have to speak up. Sorry......

    Storm, I am having the same problem here. When we moved in a former cat hurled itself against the windows and we have let him in. We told the former owners daughter we would try this rather than have him go to the no kill shelter, as he is such a sweetpie too(former owner died).

    A neighbor had tried to take him in but he wanted to LIVE here. The other cats hated it at first but one by one they are coming around. BUT there is another kitty, we all call him/her Little Leopard as he looks like one, who lives around the neighborhood.

    He is pretty wild and timid. It was so cold here last night. I worry about him and we put food in the garage where he creeps in under the door. We set up an insulated shelter for him by using a big cardboard box lined with bags of shreeded papers, then another box in that with blankets and blankets over the little doorway and over the big box too, then our car carrier over the lot!!!

    As luck would have it, last night the cats took it in turns to keep me awake. (LOL)

    I sure think MSMoody's suggestion about retraining the DH may work...and I see you do have another kitty too.

    Well, life would be dull without the darlings.

    Love and thanks again

    Purrs and hugz Anne C
  15. kbak

    kbak Member

    Hi Pepper,
    I have a cat I rescued who has become very dependant on me. I have the same problem of not being able to sleep with her because she's to disruptive. I keep my bedroom door shut, and she paws at the door and meows. What has worked for me is, I've rolled up a piece of newspaper, and when she paws at the door I've gotten up (groan) and opened the door slapping the door frame loudly. It took a few nights of this, but she has curbed her behavior.

    If I had a basement, she would probably be down in it at nite. I love my cat to death, but our sleep takes priority to the cat.

  16. Kat_in_Texas

    Kat_in_Texas New Member

    My kitties (brothers) are about 9 months old now. For the first several months we put them in our (large) utility room at nighttime, they went in there willingly when we went through our "routine" at night. But about 6 weeks ago they started being more restless in there at night, and the night they knocked baskets off shelves and tipped trashcans, etc., I decided they were too old to be that confined at night and they needed more space.

    Since then we have let them roam the house. At first they were great but now it's like our bedroom has become their racetrack about 2:00 a.m., lol! It's maddening! My DH sleeps like a rock and doesn't budge but I wake at the slightest noise so of course I was going crazy. We tried sleeping with the door closed for a while but the circulation in our house doesn't permit that ... regardless of the thermostat setting it gets too warm in our room in the middle of the night.

    So my solution? EARPLUGS! I started using them earlier this week and haven't heard the cats once! We have trained them not to get on the bed and they have always minded well but I suspect they are still racing through our room and under the bed at night ... but if they are I haven't heard them!

    You might consider using earplugs if the other good suggestions don't work or don't suit you!

  17. pepper

    pepper New Member

    It seems that I have lots of options to work with here and I appreciate all your suggestions.

    I wish I could put her in the garage at night. It has been minus 33 here lately so that isn't an option. When it gets near 0 degrees, she won't even go near the front door when it is open. She does run to the back door to see if it is summer back there though! LOL She's awfully cute but not the sharpest knife in the drawer!

    If we can't retrain her (and my DH), then setting something up in the basement would be my next choice. Or L-Tryptophan - she could use some calming down. I am sure that I would hear her through the ear plugs. But I haven't tried it so I may do that.

    Thank you all for your input. It seems that many of us have cats-at-night issues!

  18. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I don't have any suggestions for you that haven't already been stated! Besides, I have a Kentucky Wildcat that can't be trained! I have a one-year-old Himalayan cat that you can't touch without her biting you, but has to be where I am every minute.

    I named her Sugar because she looked sooooooo sweet when we got her at 6 weeks, but since we live in Kentucky, where the UK basketball is "the thing" and UK is referred to as the "Kentucky Wildcats", my grandsons told me our Sugar is really the Kentucky "WILD CAT"!

    P.S. Have you ever had a sleep study done?

  19. EllenComstock

    EllenComstock New Member

    I have three cats, ages 9, 4 and 10 months. I have kept my cats in the basement for years. I have a sound machine in my bedroom so I never hear a thing. We have a nice, roomy basement and a family room down there so they have comfy places to lay. If they play at night, I never know it. They have been good about not damaging anything. I am sure my 10-month-old is playing part of the night since he has so much energy. Maybe I am just lucky.

  20. pepper

    pepper New Member

    Yes, Janet, I have had a sleep study done. All they discovered is that I have "mild sleep apnea" and I got a CPAP machine. I have not been using the CPAP because I keep tearing it off at night. I need to see the sleep specialist again to see if she can find out why I am doing that.

    My little cat wants to be wherever I am too but she will not tolerate being held at all. I can touch her - she loves having her tail pulled - Go figure! - but she squirms her way out of my arms if I try to hold her. Yet she doesn't want to let me out of her sight! They are funny creatures, aren't they? And they each have such different personalities.

    Ellen, you are lucky to have a finished basement. Ours is not finished and there is so much stuff down there I would never know what they heck she would be doing all night. We would have to tidy it up and try to organize it so I could see if she did any damage or got into anything when she is down there.

    Thank you.