I have 2 cats: the male is extremely affectionate, while the female from the same litter is more mellow and likes to keep herself to herself most of the time. They are both spayed and neutered.

When we go to bed, the male will often sleep on the bed with us then wake us up by rubbing up me, patting my face and then purring continuously in the middle of the night. While this sounds funny it is wearing thin!

I have tried putting them in their room with toys, litter, scratch post and scratch pad by the door. However they howl continuously and pull the carpet up and will not just settle.

This is becoming a problem and is starting to affect my job due to lack of sleep. My cats are my world. What can I try to stop all their separation and night behaviour? I cannot bear to rehome them. They are good during the day.

  • How long have you kept them in a separate room? (have you tried it for months or just a few days?)
    – Zaralynda
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 12:43
  • We used to live in an apartment with laminate flooring and this was an issue then as well we have had the cats 1 1/2 years now it's just the male that pulls the carpet up seems to know when I goto work but not when it's bedtime. Because of the carpet issue days.
    – user3871
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 13:38

4 Answers 4


I had this problem with one cat. My solution was that whenever the cat tried to wake me, I would put my arm around him and pull him close to sleep next to me while I went back to sleep. Of course, like most cats he didn't really want that, so he would go somewhere else (I would let him go as soon as he pulled away from me). It dramatically cut down on the behaviour. It was something I could do without completely waking up.

  • 1
    Not responding in the way the cat wants is definitely you best bet. I'm having a discussion with one of mine over whether she is entitled to come under the covers on demand or only when invited.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 16:03

mhwombat has good advice. The area of attention is with the male--he is running the show… (he is dominant and because he likes you soooo much has decided you need to belong to him! (senses you as ultimate protector/provider)

The rubbing your face is to mark you as his possession. In his mind his world just wouldn't be the same without you! You are his favorite shiny cool human friend!, So you’ve done something right :P! He's trying so hard to impress you!

He has little scent glands on his chin to prove you belong to him :P in cat world his Chanel No. 5 is lingua franca and a warning to all other cats that you are his favorite. That's why the female isn't doing the same (she already knows you belong to him!)

Cuddle him tightly but not uncomfortably (cats don’t like this as much--he will soon crave for freedom and give you peace--yes. it seems a little weird but it works.

Also because he senses you run the house he is eager to be on "your side" and please you, so the over attention will put him at ease.

He'll learn he doesn't have to work so hard to make everyone happy :P and will relax into normal cat mode being happy to just be himself. Then he'll happy for you to just be you.

They like to be clingy but they don’t like it when we are! He just needs to learn this to find some balance.


For what it's worth, a friend of mine broke her cat of this habit by having me foster him for a few weeks. Between his not knowing what I'd let him get away with and my being willing to completely ignore his demands, he stopped trying and didn't resume when he returned home.

I couldn't do that now that I have my own cats again.

  • 1
    Loaning your cats to a cat whisperer doesn't count ;p -Excellent advice though, choose your battles and they will learn to choose theirs.
    – Mazura
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 15:13

My cat does this too. Just today I woke up and found everything that previously occupied my nightstand was littered across my floor. At some point I just started sleeping through it. That doesn't help you though.

Cats sleep a lot, sometimes up to 20 hours a day. Normally they're most active during dawn and dusk. Your male is just slightly more active, which means he's probably going to be more active at night. As funny as it sounds, what your cat is doing is telling you how much he loves you. He'll pat your face and rub his face on yours as a way of telling you how much he loves you, because this is what cats do to each other. You don't like this, of course, because it's hard to sleep with a cat's face ramming itself against your nose.

I started having cuddle time right when I got in bed. I'd get in and let my cat lay on my chest, then pet her and rub my nose on her head for a bit. After a while, she gets annoyed and jumps down. Then I retrained myself to become a side sleeper. Just doing this has taught her to sleep by my legs. When she gets hungry (I give her small bits of food throughout the night, more how they eat in the wild), she'll come up and very softly tap me in the nose. Then I feed her three kibbles and she leaves me alone for a while. You don't have to feed your cat (everything is close enough to my bed that I'm not really awake when I feed her), but consider everything else. It'll give your cat enough love that he'll be happy through the night and not feel ignored.

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