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The issue

My cat is in a room of her own, every night she jumps and claws at her door to get out. Any sound she hears (from me), she starts yelling and jumping to open the door. If I have to go to the toilet or something, she starts again.

I'm fighting a cold, I must have been coughing in my sleep. I've heard her 6 times last night.

She's a very fit cat, she can keep it up a very very long time.

If she wakes me early in the morning, like a few hours before I need to wake anyway, I'm usually insufficiently tired to find sleep again. Which I then pay for later in the day or the next.

Things people have told me I should do

Just ignore any kind of bad behavior. Let her figure out that it's unwanted.

She just doesn't learn. Ignoring her does have the benefit that I don't have to leave my bed, but I'm still kept awake.

Buy a second cat.

My parents have veto'd this. They are my baby sit and they don't like the idea of having two cats around.

Also, it might just be two cats jumping at the door then.

Buy plenty of toys for her to keep busy

She has a lot. She'll play a bit, but has always shown limited interest in any of them, She's just not the type that goes crazy over toys. Even in general these have little effect.

Play with her before going to bed so she's tired

I do that anyway. Again, since she's not particularly triggered by any of the toys, it's hard to get her tired. And again, she's very fit, even if she -is- triggered, she wont be tired enough to sleep the entire night through.

Let her sleep with me.

There are two opposing teams on this opinion, strongly yes and strongly no. I've chosen to be on the no side, because I think it's good to have -some- kind of boundary in place. She might keep me up even worse than what she does now.

Also, my girlfriend is against the idea. She doesn't live with me (yet), but she doesn't like the general idea (not a huge cat fan, she likes her and wouldn't mind having her as pet because she's my cat), nor having cat hair in/on the bed.

What I think the reason for this behaviour is

Since my cat isn't really into toys, and it's just me living with her, I think she wants to have access to me.

What I've tried

  • I've let her in the general area, in hopes that it's larger space to walk in at night that she wants. But no, she wants access to me. That just means she will jump on -my- door directly. That's even worse.

  • I've tried sleeping in my couch to see if she would then jump at my door(s). She doesn't. Generally she's quiet, but she might do other things to get my attention.

  • People say you should lay out aluminum foil at the door, cat's are suppose to not like the feeling of it. Maybe, mine just plays with it.

  • Spray water on her when she does it. She doesn't like it, but isn't too impressed either. She'll just get right back at the door after I leave.

  • I've used an automatic spray device, the kind you use to spray pleasant odours if someone passes it. Doesn't work. It's too random, too slow to spray and there's 20 minutes between each attempt (if it goes off at all).

What I can't find

I'm told there's some kind of rubber of plastic mat with cone shaped spikes on it that you can place outside your door. Cat's are supposed to not like the feeling of it.

I haven't found a brand name or retailer that sells this.

What should I do to stop my cat from displaying bad behavior (especially the kind that keeps me awake at night)?


Update regarding mats

I've received more information regarding the mats, it's this type (I was mistaken on the cone shape, this looks to be spikes). I'm curious to how large the gaps are, I kinda think she might tip toe through it, though jumping at the door would be hard I guess.

enter image description here

Update - in response to questions:

Did she have easy access to you before this problem occurred. Or did she do it all her life?

I've never allowed her to go into my bedroom (and toilet). It's been going on for a while, but not all the time afaik.

Was she adopted or raised by you?

Raised by her mom and siblings until 13 weeks (at the breeder), she's a British Shorthair.

Are there other people living in the same house as the cat, and if so does she do the same when they "wake" her up?

Just me. Possibly related, she's never been really brave and I've had a burglary 3-4 years ago where she was home alone.

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    Side note: cats lack certain enzymes, which makes some stuff that's harmless to us poisonous to them. Many essential oils that might be used in air refresheners are harmful to cats and can cause caughing, breathing problems and in extreme cases general poisoning symptoms. I wouldn't recommend aiming an automatic air refreshener to hit a cat with the spray... – Elmy Nov 17 '19 at 10:05
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    As for the "rubber or plastic mat with cone shaped spikes," I believe what they're talking about is upside-down vinyl spiked carpet protectors / runners, this for example homedepot.com/p/… – Kai Nov 17 '19 at 21:00
  • How old is your cat? – Totumus Maximus Nov 18 '19 at 14:26
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    There are motion activated compressed air cans specifically designed to work as cat deterrents. But any time mine are separated from me, they see it as punishment; they just want to be in the same room but will happily sleep in their own beds, so no cat hair in mine. – StephenS Nov 18 '19 at 18:31
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    @Spikee Here's an example – StephenS Nov 18 '19 at 21:27
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Play with her (the cat is female, right?) before she eats. And feed her at night time. When you go to the gym, are you hungry afterwards ? And when you have eaten your fill, you are sleepy, right ?

Same goes for any other animal with a digestive system. But as every other animal, they would rarely exhaust themselves to the point they are dead tired, so you would have to use some trickery to do so.

(Disclaimer: this backfired on me several times. Cats got extra fit, and/or realized they were being tricked)

I would take a bag of catnip, watering down 1/3 up to 1/2 of a teaspoon with half of an liter of water. And dip some long range toy in it (you don't want hungry cats claws near you at this point), and once the cat starts demanding the food (meowing, glancing at the tray, scratching... whatever your cat does) I would start dangling that catnip dipped toy in front of your cat.

If your cant doesn't eat where it poops, or is neglected in some manner, her pupils should dilate, and the game should start. You should know that the game is done, once the cat is very reluctant to move, and often sits (lies, balls down) near the place and doesn't move much. Then you serve the food.

While the cat eats, you can all go and prepare for bed, and cat should make one last effort to find a cozy place to sleep. And you should have your dreams again.

My experiences with this method were as follows:

  • street cats: they have large stamina, and a lot of it. Sometimes play would continue for an hour, before the cat drops. However, street cats often tend to find their food if you don't feed them or try to feed them in some regiment. So it did happen (like 2/10 cats) that they have eaten before, so they are less active during game time.
  • Persian cats: they are generally grumpy and lazy. Game time often tends to last 5-10 minutes. And it isn't that hard to get them to sleep, since they often sleep most of the time.

Just keep in mind, if your cat is sad or "depressed," it can be hard for it to do anything. You can check if your cat feels this way, by showing it something new. If the cat goes to smell it, it probably isn't "depressed", and you can play with it. However, if it is, you need to check if your cat feels threatened by some other animal, or is it in a polluted or stinky place. My Persian cat was like this, because my father had the great idea to feed it near its litter box and near a coal powered heating system, with a new bob tail in the house. Once we changed where it ate and pooped, the cat came alive.

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  • @Danillo: What does feeding your cat mean to you? Do you a) provide food and your cat gorges it all up at once, or b) you feed once in the morning and evening and your cat decides when to eat (leaving the rest)? – Spikee Nov 19 '19 at 10:50
  • I generally like to feed my cat multiple times a day since I think they aren't used to being gorged. So if cat can eat whole tray in an a day and that is enough for a meal ( You can get this info from a vet) I often try to figure out how much it can eat and not leave anything behind in one sitting. So in order for its food not to be stale I feed it a that amount (sometimes few grams smaller) several times a day. – Danilo Nov 19 '19 at 10:54
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    Cool, thanks for the info. Luckily my cat isn't a fussy eater, I give her enough to last until the evening and enough to last to the morning. – Spikee Nov 19 '19 at 11:00
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    Be careful of that, I don't know the breed of your cat. But if food is over 1 day old, cat can get picky and become thin and without "will to live". You will often not see a difference by eye (because of fur) but male cats should have more muscles than female cats, and depending on the breed they can be naturally skinny or naturally puffy. Stew is a good way to tire your cat more, since when they are finished they tend to bathe themselves which takes additional energy. :D – Danilo Nov 19 '19 at 11:05
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    Yes, that's why I give her just enough to last through the day. Through experience, and a specific scoop I use, I know what I need to give her for that. – Spikee Nov 20 '19 at 10:54
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I had a similar problem with my cat. He sleeps outside my bedroom, and we always close the door. During the week I feed him at about 7am, when I go to work, so I think he wanted the same treatment on weekends, thus, he started scratching my door and mewing loudly. This behaviour went on for several weeks. And what finally worked for me was, closing him in the kitchen. (We don't hear him there). Now he doesn't scratch our door anymore.

Edit: To be clear, we closed him in the kitchen, only the days where he would wake us up, and when he started scratching the door, that way he knows what's happening. We did not lock him the night before, when we went to bed.

This might be a bit different to you, since he's already closed in another room, but maybe you can try leaving him the whole house open, expect your bedroom, that way, if he wakes you up, he can feel the punishment from being locked in another room. It also works for me, 'cause the kitchen is where we feed him, so it's easy to make him come inside with some "food-noise". When he's in, remember to NOT give him the food tho, or he will feel rewarded for waking you up.

Hope this helps smh.

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