I have two cats (one female and one male) that get along very well and are very personable. They love being around people especially my boyfriend and I which is not ever a problem besides when we go to bed. We lock them out of our bedroom at night and have tried very hard to classically condition them to be okay with this but they keep acting out. The male cat will scratch (putting his nails on the door to make a noise - not ruining the door at all) and the other cat will cry outside the door because they want to have access to the bedroom.

I tried for months to spray them with a squirt bottle the second they start doing the negative behavior but they still do it. The female cat will just sit and get sprayed with the water till she is soaking wet and the male cat hears me getting out of bed and runs and hides under the coffee table where I can't spray him as well.

We have now resorted to locking them in the spare bedroom at night but that involves moving the liter box every single night which is a hassle. I'd like them to have access to the living room and spare bedroom at night (where ever they sleep they always have access to their food, water, and liter box so that is not the problem) but I can't take getting woken up at various hours of the night or 6am because they want in our bedroom.

Any suggestions as to how I could train them to be okay with not sleeping in the bedroom without locking them in the spare room?

  • Do they scratch when they are in the spare bedroom? – James Jenkins Jun 2 '15 at 17:21
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    They're busy trying go condition you. As long as you respond in any way they'll keep trying. I recommend earplugs for a few weeks. – keshlam Jun 2 '15 at 21:00
  • I don't want them in the bedroom because my boyfriend is allergic and while he is getting over the allergy it wouldn't help his cause if they slept with us all night. They do scratch on the spare bedroom door sometimes but it is further away so we can't hear them and they give up eventually (something they never seemed to do when it's my bedroom door). – Katie Hurley Jun 3 '15 at 16:14

The first goal should be to make some place (not your bedroom) a much more entertaining place to be than with you. Set up some toys in your living room or some other place like a puzzle feeder, automatic wand toys, or other toys that they like. In the morning these toys should be put away to keep their interest level in them up.

Then, make your bedroom door as uninteresting as possible. You can use motion activated air sprayers at the doorway, but most importantly NEVER ANSWER THE DOOR MONSTER. My husband and I have been "trapped" in bed for up to an hour before because we didn't want to reinforce "cry at the door, get attention". It's super annoying, and you may need a white noise generator for awhile, but don't answer the door!

Last, take advantage of the cat's hunt, feed, groom, sleep cycle. Use an interactive toy for awhile right before bed, then give them some food. They should settle down pretty quickly after that and hopefully you'll be asleep before they get energy again (it works amazingly well on our youngest).



Want to stop them scratching the door - let them in the bedroom.

We would never consider closing our cats out of the bedroom. The bed is as much theirs as ours and it is very nice to sleep with a cat leaning up against you, though at times there can be some disputes as to who gets to lay where.

Seriously, let them in the bedroom. I can't think of a valid reason not to do so.

Let them in the bedroom and any times - beds are a favorite place for cats to sleep and romp.

In my opinion, a very experienced opinion, is that locking them up in a spare room just to keep them out of your bedroom at night borders on cruelty- I'm serious.


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    First of all, I would never be cruel to my pets, and am very offended by the accusation. The spare bedroom is filled with more cat things then you could count including; beds, four story condos, their liter box, and plenty of very comfy places for them to sleep. I am not locking them up in a jail. I also do not think you read my earlier comment that stated my boyfriend (who I live with) is allergic. That is the only reason that they can't sleep in the bedroom with us. I also live in a condo that is 744 square feet and don't have the luxury of a huge house. – Katie Hurley Oct 9 '15 at 14:11
  • While an option to the question, it does not answer the question. – Flummox Apr 19 '18 at 7:12

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