First time posting here, and Furry is my first pet ever.

Furry joined us when he was 1-month old. Last month we decided that he was being too annoying at night so we set up an environment for him in the bathroom, with water, clean litter box, some toys, and sometimes some leftover cat food. We lock the bathroom door before we go to sleep.

So far during midnight, he consistently makes different kinds of sounds at irregular intervals, each time lasting 5 to 15 minutes (in the first week it could last an hour). These sounds include meowing, scratching wall, hitting and knocking stuff down when he messes around, and sometimes some really really pitiful moan and cry... Despite all the temptation, we have been following the strict rule, as suggested everywhere, to ignore him entirely, except when some of us need to use the bathroom midnight.

Based on my researches on Google, since there is no other outstanding issue such as hunger, thirst, and medical ailments (as far as I am aware of), plus the observation that once we open up the bathroom in the morning it starts purring and shows affection instead of meowing and crying, I presume that all the noises are due to loneliness. But I swear I play a lot with him everyday - like 30 minutes, and it is not just me playing with him! I admit that during these days of COVID-19, when each of us arrives home, despite his eager to show us affection we would not interact with him until we fully clean ourselves and take a bath. However, I feel like we are showing pretty much attention to him already.

The usually suggested play time of 20-30 minutes now sounds to me only applicable to older cats. Furry's current behaviors make me feel that his clock cannot be further trained to stay quiet all night. One really inconvenient thing about it is that he is very sensitive to very soft sound at night. It means that when I get off my bed to, say, take a sip of water or use the toilet, he is likely awaken at the same time and will then start his crying cycle (my flat is a pretty small one), which feels like he has not learnt the lesson that "all requests midnight will be neglected" even after spending a month in the bathroom at night. It makes me stressful sometimes when I want to make a sound (sometimes he can even react to my action on my bed!).

I can foresee some totally sensible answers that each cat behaves differently and it is impossible to declare a play time threshold. So apart from that, how else can I further tune his clock and make him stay quiet at night? Most search results gave me an impression that it shouldn't take longer than a month for a cat to change its habit. Now one month has passed. If there is no further insight for us, we (of course) will let Furry's life takes its course (and will not abandon him) but then our sleeps are doomed...

Apart from these, we are having good time :)

  • 1
    Hi and welcome :) – user6796 Apr 17 '20 at 13:12

For mammalian children like your cat it is always a good time for a playtime unless they are sleeping or are otherwise temporarily distracted by their physiological needs. So I think it's not really impossible to set playing threshold, optimally the threshold is that they should be engaged in interaction until tired because constructive playtime is how young mammals fulfill their cognitive development, learn socializing and flex their minds. But of course as you noticed, babysitting kitten might quickly get tiresome and draining task because their energy seems to be limitless and no matter how long you play it would never seem enough.

I think one solution to consider is adapting one more kitten of similar age, if you could of course. A saying I encountered a few times tells it's double the fun and half the trouble. Of course it's not always true because sometimes introducing another cat could cause more problems than it solves if they don't get along, but it's quite accurate reffering to little kittens. It's not kittens but the adult cats that are prone to not getting along. One thing to keep in mind is that another kitten would provide your pet a beneficial and distinct type of interaction, the one that a human isn't capable of providing. It is not essential as cats are solitary animals, but nonetheless beneficial.

As for the issue with midnight activity I don't think it's really possible to reliably train a cat to be quiet at night, at least not in the sense you could do with a dog, because by their nature cats are nocturnal animals. By that I mean a cat could learn that you tend to be inactive and unresponsive during night - but that wouldn't prevent it from being active itself, searching other stimuli while making a lot of noise or interpreting even your subtlest movement-related sounds as perfectly valid playtime invitations.

Also for the reason of your kitten's behaviour I think you are right with the diagnosis that it's due to attention deficit and loneliness. But generally I think that even if you decide to not take any action, the whole issue should get better and at least partially resolve itself as your cat ages.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.