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Waking up at 5AM- relationship is suffering!

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Cooper

okay okay just- let me be- already!
 
 
Purred: Sun Aug 19, '07 7:07pm PST 
Hi there...

I have taken to waking up my parents every morning at 5AM. I don't know why this started to happen, I used to sleep with them until their alarm went off at 7:45 but somewhere along the line I have become a early morning pest.

My mum doesn't know what to do, she has tried locking me out at night but then I cry and we live in a small apartment block so she is worried about the neighbours. So she lets me in and then I settle down straight away and go to sleep only to start pestering at 5AM. I miaow, I scratch at the door, I scratch at the covers, I purr in their faces, I find things to play with and basically drive them crazy.

So then mum tried leaving the door open because she thought I might have needed my litter. No such luck, I annoy and pester until I am fed and mum and dad are now getting angry at each other. They yell at me and spray me and also try to ignore but nothing works. They do not feed me until the alarm goes off but it's not stopping my pestering. They get up very grumpy and it puts everyone in a bad mood for the whole day because they are so exhausted.

Help please! What can we do?
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Boris

I'm cute and I- know how to use- that :)
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 20, '07 7:17am PST 
Cooper's mom -

If he's on dry food, get an automatic feeder and set it to give you food twice a day, at 5 AM for "breakfast" and whenever you want to give Cooper his "dinner". This will divorce your role of food dispenser from you, and once Cooper gets it that a machine is actually in charge of feeding him, he'll stop trying to get you up (though he occasionally might if something happens and the timer does not go off - I do that to mom when I've managed to lock my food out because I played with the lid, and after waiting a while it doesn't pop back up red face). If you want, you can start to gradually move breakfast time to a little later in the day, until his feeding schedule is more in line with his sleeping schedule.

If he is on wet food, it will be a bit harder. Somehow down the line, you have given him the idea that you will get up when he wants you to if he pesters you enough, and that idea will be hard to dislodge. You're on the right track if you do ignore him and refuse to feed him early, but be forewarned that even if you do not waver (and you should not waver, as that itself teaches Cooper that all he needs to do is be more obnoxious), the behavior will get worse before it all gets better.

See, when we go to an extinction period, we try harder to use the same stimuli to achieve our goal. Think of it as a little kid who learns a swearword, figures out mommy gets upset by it, and when mom decides to no longer let on how saying the bad word gets her attention, the child starts saying it more often and louder because he is puzzled that mommy is no longer upset by the word, and does not pay attention to him saying it.

Just stick to it, and use a couple of aids like -
- get a noise machine - either something commercially made, or even something simple like a portable fan you turn on in the evening. It should cut down on the cat's noise
- get a noisemaker or other type of deterrent - mom has a can with coins in there that she taped the top of. If I get really out of line, she uses that to tell me to stop. Since the noise scares me, it usually gets me to stop pestering her (and if I am really bad in the morning, she starts sleeping with it shock). Something else that worked early on was turning on a handvacuum. Vacuum noises are really scary to most of us cats...
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Gelsomina Le- Purr

Acatemy award- winner Jelsomina- Le Purr
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 20, '07 10:34am PST 
Sometimes me and my brother Federico Fellini get up extra early like 5:00am my mom found that if she plays with me and my brother really late with a feather the night before making us jump and do alot of exercise we are tired and dont get up as early although she dosnt always have time to play with us she now found that if she feeds us a little later we tend to sleep a little later and dont wake her up as early but every once in a while we still do its just for fun, we wake up everyone by running around and scratching my dads feet that are under the covers and waking up mom by biting her head and scratching!!!!! It just shows them we care!!!!dancingdancinglaugh out loudlaugh out loudlaugh out loudSome times my mom dosnt know what to do shrugBut she knows we are just playing and we love her!laugh out loud
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Nicholas D.- Wolfwood

MEEEEEEEEEEEEOOO- OOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW- W
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 20, '07 2:38pm PST 
Wolfie does this all the time, I give him a tin of food before bed and usually I get to sleep until 6AM
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Flower

I'm a boy,- haven't you seen- Bambi???
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 20, '07 5:32pm PST 
I don't "wake" mommy and daddy up but I know that when I hear "beep beep beep beep" that's their alarm which means they are waking up!! Now every morning when the alarm goes off I am up on the bed meowing greeting them to get up and pay some attention to me!!

Maybe you should start waking up @ 5am. Just kidding. I think the above suggestions are great ones. Try them and keep us posted!!!
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Winter

Did I just hear- the treat jar- rattle?
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 21, '07 10:47am PST 
Although many do not agree with this, I am of the old scool belief that leaving dry food in a bowl all the time is fine. My cats nibble here and there whenever they want and all of them are very healthy and not overweight. Cats are not like people. People tend to eat because they are bored or because it tastes good, whereas cats don't. Generally cats don't eat unless they are hungry.
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Cooper

okay okay just- let me be- already!
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '07 6:22pm PST 
Hi everyone!

Thanks so much for all you great advice... I think an auto feeder could be a great idea because they are both on dry food except occasionally when I give them a special treat. We tried unsuccessfully to lock him away at night but that was terrible and we were all miserable! So I think I will get the feeder and be more active with him at night time. Actually last night we took them both outside to play (we live in an apartment so they never go outside) and they loved it. It seemed to exhaust them though because they both slept through to the alarm this morning so that's another thing we are going to keep trying.

Ahh cats... I adore them but they sure do know how to push my buttons at times! But hey I wouldn't have it any other way, they are my babies afterall!

Once again thanks for all your help, you have given me a lot to think about!

xxx Jessica (Coopy's mummy)
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Angel Ashley

Peek-a-boo
 
 
Purred: Tue Aug 28, '07 8:17am PST 
I'm glad you are going to try the automatic feeder. I also agree with the other kitties that get some food right before bed. When I feed Ashley a little right before I go to bed she sleeps much later.big grin
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♥- Cricket

The- Power of- Three
 
 
Purred: Mon Sep 3, '07 3:54pm PST 
What? Waking Momma & Daddy up at 4:00am & 5:30 am with nuzzles, head butts, a walk on Dad's back, or a nibble on Momma's hair isn't normal??? Its just my way of reminding them of how lucky they are to have mewink Let's play, let's play, let's play! dancing

♥ Cricket
kittykittykitty
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Crash

If it moves,- KEEEEL IT!
 
 
Purred: Tue Sep 4, '07 5:31pm PST 
Waitaminute! I thought the rules of the "thundering kitties of the serengetti" game stated it had to be played before 6 am!

kitty

Hmm, actually, I don't usually start to play so madly until after at least one person is up to play with me. But Mum and the Hubster play with me LOTS at bedtime, so I'm usually pretty sleepy first thing in the morning.
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