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Thread: Cat Help

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    Cat Help

    (IIRC, there was a recent cat thread but I couldn’t find it so excuse the retread.)

    Almost a month ago I got a shelter cat. The first two weeks or so were fine in terms of all cat behaviors. The past week, the cat seems to be suffering from separation anxiety. He follows me everywhere, all the time. I wouldn’t let him sleep with me and he was fine with it at first but now scratches at the door all night. I finally relented and let him in the room – and he was generally subdued except for the walking over me or grooming while laying next to my face or other numerous subdued - but not quiet - behaviors. I need to get sleep! I googled cat separation anxiety and the tips were not helpful. 1) ignore cat before leaving/arriving at house or 2) medication. The ignoring thing doesn't work because he does not freak when I leave, he just wants to stick to me when I am there. And medication just seems odd for this. I don’t really want a two pet household but I thought another cat would keep him company – yet the anxiety articles said that wouldn’t necessarily help.

    As you guys know 96% of everything there is to know, I now turn to you. Please help with tips! If it is the cat or sleep, I am eventually going to have to go with sleep but I do really want the cat.
    What would Jenny do?

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    Well, my dog who's a bit neurotic I let sleep in my room (other animals aren't allowed) but he stays on the floor.

    Honestly, toss him out, keep the door shut, and eventually he'll give up. Or, ignore the articles and get a second cat (I would go for one either a little younger or similar in age.) When my first cat first came to live with me, he'd been in our barn with six other cats including his littermate his whole life. He was very upset, wandering around and calling and just generally being miserable. So I finally adopted another neutered male who happened to be six months younger. My first cat was much happier.

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    After a discussion with someone from work, I will change my feeding schedule. The vet said to not let him gain any more weight so I feed him controlled amounts twice a day. Once when I get up in the morning and again when I get home from work. Maybe he is associating my presence too closely with food. I will leave a huge bowl of dry food out for a few weeks and see if it calms him down.
    What would Jenny do?

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    From my experience, when cats follow me around it mostly means they want to be fed. They'll sometimes want attention and jump into my chair (when I'm sitting in it), but a couple minutes of one-on-one time usually cures that.

    Food can be a factor. For some reason the cats will get hungry faster when they're on different foods. Roommate previously had them on an expensive "senior" brand because she had a coupon for the bag and they never got hungry and ate small amounts at a time, but now they're on Iams Science Diet and their bowls are empty all the time! Fill the bowls back up and they inhale the entire thing! Maybe one type is more filling than another?

    The cats have also trained me into sleeping with them. Once I woke up with BOTH cats on me, but was too groggy to do anything about it and went back to sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Food can be a factor. For some reason the cats will get hungry faster when they're on different foods. Roommate previously had them on an expensive "senior" brand because she had a coupon for the bag and they never got hungry and ate small amounts at a time, but now they're on Iams Science Diet and their bowls are empty all the time! Fill the bowls back up and they inhale the entire thing! Maybe one type is more filling than another?
    Premium foods (like ones found only at pet stores) contain less "filler" (like corn) that goes right through the animal and more actual nutritional value so they don't need to eat as much.

    Sorry, that's a bit graphic.

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    I would strongly advise against the idea of getting another cat, especially if you have a cat who is needy and might be territorial with you. I used to have a very needy cat who wanted to be with me all the time (even in the shower ) and would wake me up at night. She'd paw my eyelids to try to get them open. And if that didn't work she'd just sit on my face. At one point I had trained her to behave at night by tossing her out of the bedroom whenever she did anything to wake me up. But then I started being gone a lot during the day and she would wake me up at night. I got her another cat for company. She hated the new cat and he was a brat to her and would bait her into fighting. So, they both then slept all day and fought at night, creating an even worse sleep problem.

    My current cat used to be very good, but now he wakes me up at night and it really is related to a food problem. He has a medical condition that makes him very hungry. I've put out a timed feeder. But, he runs madly for the food as soon as he hears it release his food and he often wakes me up with the scrambling for the food or because he wants more or he wants to thank me. But, I think most cats can be provided with enough food so that they are not hungry at night and won't wak you for food. (As for non-filler food, I recommend the Natural Balance foods. I wish I could feed it to my cat because he loooves it and they are more satiating than other foods.)

    Definitely do not feed your cat first thing in the morning or he'll think that waking you up will get him food.

    If you think the cat just wants company, there are a couple of other options. Give him a cat bed with a towel that smells like you. (I know it sounds gross, but my cat does find it comforting.) He might be okay with that. Alternatively, just keep tossing him out of the bedroom whenever he does something you don't like and he may learn the lesson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theatregirl1122 View Post
    Premium foods (like ones found only at pet stores) contain less "filler" (like corn) that goes right through the animal and more actual nutritional value so they don't need to eat as much.

    Sorry, that's a bit graphic.
    That's what I thought, but it makes it more difficult to figure out how much they should be eating! If they get fatter we should feed them less, that's the only way to determine that.

    And sorry Allskate, cats that sit on people's faces always makes me . It's already hilarious when a cat silently jumps up onto the bed, then makes her presence known by loud purring coming from beside me. (Maybe I can feel a bit of kneading too.) I open my eyes and there is a giant adorable furry face.

    It's also pretty amazing when a big 20-lb cat finds the dexterity to balance on a 2-in thick headboard to meow at your face at 6am. Oh, cats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    Definitely do not feed your cat first thing in the morning or he'll think that waking you up will get him food.
    Had to LOL at that. I use to let my cat sleep with me, but for the past year her nocturnal habits were interrupting my sleep so now she's banished. But although she isn't able to wake me up for breakfast, she does expect to be fed immediately upon my appearance outside the bedroom. And I mean immediately. I've almost peed myself a couple of times because she won't let me get to the bathroom before feeding her. (TMI? Sorry.)

    But back to the question ... as others have suggested, make his bed as comfortable as possible. In addition to the towel that smells like you, make sure it's warm too. Especially now the nights are getting colder. I know my cat likes to sleep on me because I'm a giant hot water bottle for her.

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    Awwww, let the cat inyour room. But maybe put an extra pillow or small blanket at the foot of your bed and he'll be attracted to that.

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    And I think we can all relate to Simon:
    Simon's Cat: Wake Up

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    Do you give your cat attention right before you go to sleep? Do you have a cat bed? Our cats love round ones which are just the size of a curled up cat. You can buy or make them.

    Both our current cats want attention (lots of pets and scratches) right before we go to sleep. One likes hers downstairs as she sleeps down there. The other waits until we are in bed and then joins us for scratches but when she has had enough moves into her cat bed, which is on a chest at the base of the bed. The cats then leave us alone until it is time to in the morning. We leave quiet toys out so that they can play in the middle of the night without bothering us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    But back to the question ... as others have suggested, make his bed as comfortable as possible. In addition to the towel that smells like you, make sure it's warm too. Especially now the nights are getting colder. I know my cat likes to sleep on me because I'm a giant hot water bottle for her.
    This is about the only thing made for cats that my cat ever has liked:
    http://www.amazon.com/Slumber-Pet-Th...7617117&sr=8-1

    He only liked it in the winter, though. It apparently did keep him warm. And it was better than him poking me so that he could get under the covers with me. But, when I washed it, he stopped liking it for some reason. Maybe he'll come back to it soon since it's getting colder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    And sorry Allskate, cats that sit on people's faces always makes me . It's already hilarious when a cat silently jumps up onto the bed, then makes her presence known by loud purring coming from beside me. (Maybe I can feel a bit of kneading too.) I open my eyes and there is a giant adorable furry face.
    Yeah, I think part of the reason my kitten decided to curl up on my face was because he wanted to feel my warm breath. She also really liked being next to my neck, which I think was to feel my pulse.

    My current cat used to be pretty good about not bothering me when I was sleeping. He knew exactly when my alarm clock was going to go off and would be sitting on the bed staring at me at just the right time and when the alarm went off he knew it was okay to snuggle. But, with this hunger problem his respect for my need for sleep has gone out the window. As a thank you for his food, he hugs and kneads me -- flat on top of me with one arm on each side of my neck kneading and kneading and kneading in the middle of the night. And he has strong paws when he kneads! It seems ungrateful to reject his thank you, but I just want him to go away. I've tried locking him out, but he howls -- really loudly -- and I'm afraid the neighbor is going to get pissed off because the neighbor is very noise sensitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    Yeah, I think part of the reason my kitten decided to curl up on my face was because he wanted to feel my warm breath. She also really liked being next to my neck, which I think was to feel my pulse.

    My current cat used to be pretty good about not bothering me when I was sleeping. He knew exactly when my alarm clock was going to go off and would be sitting on the bed staring at me at just the right time and when the alarm went off he knew it was okay to snuggle. But, with this hunger problem his respect for my need for sleep has gone out the window. As a thank you for his food, he hugs and kneads me -- flat on top of me with one arm on each side of my neck kneading and kneading and kneading in the middle of the night. And he has strong paws when he kneads! It seems ungrateful to reject his thank you, but I just want him to go away. I've tried locking him out, but he howls -- really loudly -- and I'm afraid the neighbor is going to get pissed off because the neighbor is very noise sensitive.
    Yup cats do love it where it's warm. Last weekend my bf and I were snuggled together about to go to sleep when WHOMPF the smaller cat came down upon us and happily settled into the little space between our bodies.

    I have trained the cats into only kneading on me when there's a blanket cushioning me. Kneading is cute, but man it hurts when it involves claws! When it starts to hurt I whine to let them know, then move their paws onto a safer spot. The cats will happily continue kneading where I put them.

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    my cat thinks she's a baby. She wants food and lots of attention all the time. I have to carry her around the house like a child. It's amusing. She is pretty good about not waking us up until she hears the alarm and then she jumps up on the bed and lets me know she wants to be fed. Our cat would scratch through the door if we kept her out

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    I volunteer at an animal shelter, and oftentimes shelter cats do have separation issues because they don't usually get a lot of personal attention at the shelter. Plus, if they have been in a home before ending up at a shelter, they can be quite anxious about a new home because they may remember being separated from their previous home.

    There's a lot of good ideas in this thread: maybe the cat is hungry, maybe he is getting cold as the weather changes. I like the idea of giving him lots of attention before bedtime so he will settle down. If this is a recent behaviour change for the cat, it could be that once he adjusts, he will settle down. Another thought: sometimes shelter cats like a LOT of routine because it gives them a sense of structure and safety. Are you going to bed at the same time every night, and doing the same things before you go to bed? Not that you should run your house according to the cat's schedule, but if you are fairly regular in your activities and when things happen in your house, that may make the cat feel less anxious and less clingy.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by viennese View Post
    Awwww, let the cat inyour room. But maybe put an extra pillow or small blanket at the foot of your bed and he'll be attracted to that.
    Maybe your cat just wants to be with you.

    Our cat likes to come to bed with us and usually settles at the top of Mr. Japanfan's pillow after some pets and ear-scratching. Basically, it's really easy to share a bed with a cat

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    My cat is very clingy and still wakes me up but not every night. One thing that has helped is to have multiple nests and beds for her around the house. The one she likes best is in a corner, next to a little radiator, with a real sheep skin lining. Give her great places to sleep of her very own, and more than one of them--maybe one in your bedroom or actually on the bed.

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    I got my shelter kitty a year ago and at first she did have some separation issues and was a bit neurotic. She even used to pee on my bed if I was gone all day (NOT fun to discover, ha). Also she really was hungry all the time and would do everything she could to find where I was hiding the bag of cat food and chew through it so she could snack all day while I was gone. She got pretty fat for awhile! After a few months though she really settled down and is a perfectly calm, sweet kitty. So maybe he'll calm down with time too and these issues will just resolve on their own.

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    I haven't had time to read the whole thread, so you'll have to excuse me if this was mentioned already... but many cats I have owned just do not like doors to be closed. My cat will not sleep with me (and I would like him to), but I cannot lock him out of my bedroom or else he will scratch and cry at the door relentlessly. Weird animals, they are.

    For the record, he follows me everywhere I go in the house, too. He just wants to see what's going on and be near people, even if he's not super demonstrative with affection. I think this is fairly typical behaviour.

    In short, I don't see anything necessarily too out of the ordinary with your cat's behaviour. Not that I'm an expert, so take that with an extreme grain of salt.

    Maybe you will get used to his company and it will not bother your sleeping after a while?

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    My cat had the Cuddle Cup and really enjoyed it until the dog got ahold of it and ripped it up. Bad doggie!

    The same cat enjoys hanging out in a laundry basket. She just hopped in it one day while I was doing laundry, and she enjoyed it so much that I let her keep it as her bed. I put a sheep skin blanket in the bottom and she is happy for hours, including overnight.

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