I'm an opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada living with a retired cat behaviourist who serves as a resource on those few occasions when I cannot figure out why humans do the things they do. Hers is a supplementary role; I am the star simply because I am better looking, more intelligent, and a cat. As a member of a superior species, I have adapted human spelling to reflect my creativity; hence the tendency to enhance words that have 'fer' (furr) or 'per' (purr)in them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Feline Early Morning Wake Up: What's A Cat to Do?

Hey Greyce!

Remember me, The Cat Detective? (See Keko Turns Detective, entry of 1/015/10). My peeing problem is solved (thanks for the advice) and I have great news. I have a cat wall! It is a small wall that is covered in carpet from the floor to the ceiling. It’s lots of fun to climb up all the time. And I’m told that Themselves find it quite amusing to watch me.

I’d love to say that things are going well, but . . . “We” have a problem: My very early morning (according to Themselves) energy.

I like to rise around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. When I slept with Themselves in the bedroom, I thought it was a fine idea for them to rise with me. In fact I insisted on it. So what did they do? Stopped me from sleeping in the bedroom!

I pounded at the door. They covered it in tinfoil to discourage me. I no longer pound on the door. But I surely meow.

The good news is that I now get wet food in the evening, since I very loudly demanded an early morning feeding. We Bengals get hungry, you know.

They play with me a lot (that’s A LOT according to them, but as far as I’m concerned it is barely adequate); and we do get some extra play time in right before bed. And I get a small spoonful of food just before the bedroom door is shut.

So what’s a girl to do? Meow at the door relentlessly, I say. And I do . . . until Themselves finally rise.

It seems that my idea of a reasonable waking hour is quite different than theirs. What do you suggest, Greyce?

Looking forward to your suggestions,

Keko

Dear Keko,

You are certainly a bundle of energy, aren’t you?

If you follow my blog avidly, then you know the advice I’ve given to Stash (Cat Meows and Fusses to Go Outside Late at Night, 11/22/10). And if you haven't, then please give it a thorough reading for much (though not all) of the information will be useful to you.

So let’s do a quick check:

Locking you out: Done

More playtime, especially before bed: Done

Followed by a small meal: Done

Not responding to your antics: Well . . .

So let me ask you: Are you STILL hungry at this early hour?

I know I sometimes get like that and once I’ve have a small meal, I am fine enough just to parade around and then go back to sleep. And Bengals are known for being persistent, VERY persistent, in order to get their way.

If you ARE still hungry, here are my suggestions (and any of which requires some modification to you current food plan, so your trim figure stays that way). Try whichever one(s) makes most sense to you:

Fill your kibble bowl just before bedtime, so you have grazing opportunities throughout the night.

Hide kibble in food puzzles for you to play with (and nosh on) during the night. See that blog entry about Stash, I mentioned, to click directly on a link to food puzzles your folks can make for you. Puzzles keeps you occupied and satisfied.

Buy a timed feeder (available from pet supply stores) and set it for 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. when your “hungries” hit. Depending on the feeder, it can work with kibble or fresh (even keeping it cool).

In my experience, fresh wet food seems to fill my tummy up faster than a nosh of dry – but you will know best what works for you. This option might be a bit pricey but Themselves are likely to feel it is worth it, if all else has failed.

Under all circumstances, Themselves must avoid responding to your wake up calls. Otherwise you will just continue to do so, because you get results! Suggest ear plugs for them, if need be and/or using a white noise generator in their bedroom (the kind of inexpensive machine that sounds like waterfalls – often found in drug stores or places that sell stuff for human babies because it helps them sleep through the night).

Of course even if your hunger is satisfied, you may choose to continue your meowing entertainment. You are a Bengal and Bengals are persistent. But if Themselves persist in ignoring your calls and instead stay QUIETLY in the bedroom - regardless of how much they might like to tell you to knock it off - then, in time, you will get the message and the early morning meowing will be a thing of the past.

Let me know how it goes.

Here's to a good night's sleep for all,
Greyce