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Jennifer, who adopted Starsky and Hutch – now Jack and Percy – has a question. I wasn’t able to help, but maybe y’all might have a suggestion or two?

Need some help or ideas.. Percy (mostly) has a tendency to get up through the night starting at 3 and crying and wander around the house crying. The more I gather (sleepily), he is just lonely and wants everyone up. Both Jack and Percy are super happy to have me awake in the morning and act this way in the morning if they make it to the alarm clock. I try to holler out to Percy to reassure him I am nearby – – and to come back to bed. NEEDY is an understatement. Percy even knocks things off the dresser – – I think to get my attention? Yes, the animals are out of control and in charge. I even try wearing them out at night so they will sleep in to 5 or 6 the next morning.

I really don’t have a spare room to put them in. And shutting bedroom doors isn’t an option since there is a dog in the house who gets up for a drink and then the reclusive cat comes out of the closet to eat and walk around.

Is there something I can do for him? I think it is him being needy/spoiled? Thoughts?

Thoughts? Suggestions? Please leave a comment and help out! Jennifer needs her sleep because she’s got to work to buy food for those silly kittens!

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2012-05-22 (1)
Sweet Miss Logie in the sun.

2012-05-22 (2)
Razzie is also a fan of the sun.

2012-05-22 (3)
Poor Newbery was walking across the kitchen and got taken down by a patch of sunlight. He was helpless!

2012-05-22 (4)
“Cannot. Move. Halp…”

2012-05-22 (5)
Do you see the size of Newbery’s back feet? They’re HUGE. They’re like the size of Razzie’s entire body! And yes, he’s huge and she’s tiny. He’s over three pounds, and she’s just over two! She’s the smallest of the bunch, he’s the biggest by far. Darwin and Logie are right around two and a half pounds.

2012-05-22 (6)
Razzie tends to spend her days within arm’s reach of wherever I am so I can pet her.

2012-05-22 (7)
Razzie on the inside, staring at Rupert, who’s hanging out on the side porch.

2012-05-22 (8)
Newbery thinks that Darwin makes a fine pillow. Darwin thinks that Newbery is REALLY heavy and is trying to smother her.

2012-05-22 (9)
Razzie, snoozing under my desk, on top of my slippers. I didn’t even know she was there ’til she tickled me with her whiskers, and I jumped about a mile because I thought there was some big, scary bug under there.

2012-05-22 (10)
“Can’t you see I’m trying to flirt with this fine older woman? You’re messing up my game!”

2012-05-22 (11)
“You made her stomp off. She is fiiiiiiiine.” All the little boys love them some Miz Poo.

I have GOT to get a video of the Noms at snack time, because they are not very vocal kittens unless they think they’re about to get a snack. Then they howl their little bitty heads off.

Occasionally Razzie, who has a very distinctive husky voice, will get lost in the house. She’ll be in the front room when we’re in the computer room or vice versa, and she seems to suddenly realize she’s alone, and so she’ll start yelling “Hey! Where are you guys?!” It is utterly adorable – and as soon as she locates us, she stops yelling and acts all casual, like “Yeah, I was just wondering.”

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2012-05-22 (12)
Oh boy. This is not a good move for Newbery. Sugarbutt? Not a lover of the tiny kittens. See that ridge of fur standing up on his back? He’s not pleased.

2012-05-22 (13)
Another not-good move on Newbery’s part. Does Suggie like to have his tail played with by kittens? I think NOT.

2012-05-22 (14)
Not a good move…

2012-05-22 (15)
I didn’t get a picture of it, but Suggie gave Newbery the ol’ smack-smack-hiss, and then stomped off.

2012-05-22 (16)
“Where’d he GO? We was havin’ a good time!”
Well, one of you was, little man. The other? Not so much.


2011: No entry.
2010: No entry.
2009: It’s going to be awfully quiet around here without them!
2008: At 4 weeks old, they’re wild little things!
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



5-22-12 — 37 Comments

  1. Oh Jennifer, my little Lola is the same way. But she comes in, sits on my chest and meows her fool head off to tell me all about what she’s been doing, what she wants to do tomorrow and whether or not she liked the dress I wore to work or not. What has helped is that I ignore her 3 am attempts for attention. I give her one reassuring snuggle and tell her to “settle down and go to sleep.” I then go to sleep myself. If she continues to be chatty-Kathy, I “act” like I am asleep. When the alarm goes off, she comes flying up for lov’ns and I then give her all she wants. It took some time and yes, we do have occassional 3 am awakenings, but for the most part this has worked well for me. It has progressed to where if I wake up before the alarm, she is still curled up on the bed being the sweet baby she is (1 yr old). I will tap the radio button on the alarm clock to turn it on then I turn it right back off. She hops up, runs over to me to tell me all about what she’s been doing, what she wants to do tomorrow and whether or not she liked the dress I wore to work or not. πŸ™‚ I think shutting them out of the room or anything would actually just add to their stress and neediness. Love and you exuding confidence that there is nothing to worry about – and setting boundaries – is the key.

    Robyn, sweet little Razzie! What a dear! Love the pics with Miz Poo and Suggie! Thanks for the morning smile!

  2. Wow! That photo of Razzie looking at Rupert is the best! I like the Sugarbutt drama, also. Newbery’s fur is standing up after that one!

    I’ll second GD’s advice. Reward the behavior you want and ignore the behavior you don’t want. Buy earplugs if you have to!

  3. Einstein and Simba always thought the middle of the night was the best time to chat with me too. Probably because I’d stay in one place and pet them for a few minutes. I would greet them, pet a couple times, and then roll over with my back to them. After a minute or so, they would curl up in the crook of my knees and purr the rest of the night. Be firm that one or two pets is all he’s going to get in the middle of the night and he will (hopefully) get the message and get used to it. Another thing I did was to set my alarm 30 minutes early in the morning. The cats come running when they hear my alarm, but I would stay in bed for that extra time and give that time to snuggling them. They’re trained that when I’m in the bed, attention comes when the alarm goes off.

    Newbery and Razzie look like they could be from different litters. He’s huge! (Or is it, she’s tiny!) Love the Suggie photo story. Poor Suggie was probably flicking his tail in disgust at having that kitten so close, and unwittingly provided a toy at the same time.

  4. I am in need of suggestions too!! My kitty Turnip (she’s the color of a turnip fresh from the ground – dirt and all!!) thinks its time to eat at 3am in the morning. She will stand on my bedside table and dump things on the ground – if that doesnt work, she moves to my dresser and starts dumping things off of there! If I were to close my door, she goes in and tries to dig my oldest daughter out of her covers.

    I wear her out with da bird (thanks Robyn for showing your kitties playing with it!! Its AWESOME!!) before bed and she gets fed at bedtime so I dont know why she cannot wait just 2 hours longer. I can ignore her until 5am but I’m super tired!!

    • How old is Turnip? Aging? How is her weight? No medical issues? If you feed her is she perfect for rest of the night or is it just a way for her to get your attention? If she is healthy and all and it is just her needs…then worst case, you can buy one of those timer feeders. Give her half of her meal at night like you do, and the other half at 3 am (what is with kitties and 3 am?) via the timer dish.

      Anyone got anything better?

    • I had that problem years ago with my Fuzz. You need to clear surfaces of moveable objects. I got a couple of largish wooden boxes and tossed everything I needed in those. I also taped down certain items (tissue box, etc). Then, I put a comfy bed on top of the box on the bedside table, so if he wanted to be close to me, he had to be in that. It seemed to help put him to sleep.

      The key is to not react when he made noise at night. Earplugs help. Get the squishable foam kind. They are very comfortable to wear and you can still hear the shrieking of the alarm.

      Last year I inadvertently taught Fuzz that if he stood at the back door and meowed, I’d take him for a walk… or at least pet him and tell him it was raining out and he didn’t want to go for a walk. Meowing progressed to endless yowling. He’s kind of senile now (he’s 17), so ignoring him wasn’t getting through. The yowling was driving me nuts, too.

      What worked was to put him in a comfy crate with a litterbox and bed in it whenever he yowled. I kept the crate next to my worktable so I could keep an eye on him. It took a week, but he finally made the connection between yowling at the door and getting put in the crate. So, he stopped yowling at the door. He still loves me and still meows at me when he wants petting… but he has to be near me for that to work!

      With the crate technique, you have to be consistent. The unwanted behavior means getting put in the crate, even in the middle of the night.

      • I like the name Turnip an awful lot, too. It’s going into my folder of potential future kitteh names. πŸ™‚

        • With you having a farm, I think produce-related names would be awfully cute… πŸ™‚

          It’s a bumper crop o’kittens!

  5. Great pics as usual this am. For the cats waking up I have 2 thoughts (mind you I don’t actually have experience but these are things I’ve heard/read)-when little puppies are lonely people usually put stuffed animals, an alarm clock that ticks, or a piece of clothing with the scent of the owner in the bed area with them. Would these ideas work for kitties? Good luck πŸ™‚

  6. Well, cats are nocturnal, right? I have the same problem with my tuxie, Barney – and he’s 6. He wasn’t always like this, but he regularly wakes me up 2-6 times per night. Yes, sometimes 6 times a night! He usually wants food or to be let outside. If I ignore him, he sits behind my bed and meows pitifully (and loudly). If I shut him out of the room, he digs at the bottom of the closed door. If I shut him out two rooms away, I can still hear him yowling. Frankly, I’ve given up on trying to retrain him – it’s easier to get up and take care of him for 30 seconds, and then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. πŸ™‚

    Here’s an article that seems to make a lot of sense:

    • But even that article says:
      One common mistake pet owners make with cats who wake them on a night is to get up & play/feed them. This re-enforces that the behaviour will result in a reward, and therefore they will continue to do so.

  7. We have heard that play sessions about an hour before bed, and then a snack, will help with the midnight crazies. We are mostly older here and over that thankfully.

    Love Newbury and Sugarbutt – maybe the plan was to get the hammock all along. πŸ™‚

  8. Jennifer, we have a Percy too. Great name! It is our Percy’s 2-year-old brother who does this same trick off and on, including the knocking things off the dresser. What we do is go get him, bring him back to bed and hold him under the covers with us for 3-4 minutes. We say “settle down,” and “it’s time to sleep,” and pet and hold him (against his will) until he is calmer. When we let him go, he usually jumps right up and leaves, but he knows we are not in the mood for playing and he will go off to another place in the house and stay quiet for the rest of the night.

    Like others have said, we also try to play with our three with an interactive toy about 90 minutes before bed so they get some energy worked out, and then a snack about 15 minutes before bed. I think knowing the routine helps them too.

    • I have one cat who’s super needy, and one who likes to wander around at night keening over her “kill” (usually a sock or dishrag that didn’t make it to the laundry. “Forced love” has worked for both of them (though it makes me feel skeevy to use that phrase). Packer would jump up into my lap, which was actually my keyboard, while I was trying to work; grabbing him and hugging and kissing and raspberrying him and rubbing my face all over him – in other words, giving him MUCH more attention than he wanted – broke him of that habit, and appreciative pats and ear rubs when he chose a nearby perch reinforced the idea that “this is the better place to be.” With my nighttime howler, she’s also very skittish and timid, so usually making a loud noise (like shaking an empty can with a few coins in it) will be enough to make her flee, but if she’s persistent then getting out of bed and picking her up will terrify her enough to have the same effect. In a less skittish or more affectionate cat, this would probably only reinforce the behavior, so be sure to take it just a bit beyond your cat’s comfort zone.

      The picture of the kitten peering out at the big cat should go on one of your calendars. Lovely.

  9. I have had success with Carol’s suggestion of forced love. I just grab the offending cat, hold them firmly and pet them until they struggle too much for my sleepy self. That has trained them (mostly) that they don’t get what they want in the middle of the night. Now I just need to figure out how to protect all the cords from Frannie whose approach is to chew in the phone charger cord between 4 and 5 am to get my attention.

    • Some types of plastic and rubber taste good to cats – kind of salty and proteiny. If you don’t want to buy cord protectors, try taping the cords with some tape the cats don’t like. Test the tape out on your cats first. My Fuzz loves the taste of duct tape adhesive, for example. He doesn’t like masking tape, so that’s what I use.

  10. Jennifer, my 14 years old with siamese genes also has busy nights. Well, he’s had phases, for months he wouldn’t wake us up at all at night, then for months he’d wake us up a few times at night, then just one time per night for a few months… For a while, it was a nightmare. My spouse would mostly sleep through it, but I guess my motherly genes think it’s a baby in need of assistance. I’ve tried everything, depending on where we lived. In the apartment we lived in before this house, we tried locking him with his stuff for the night, but he would scratch at the door and howl all night. Then we discovered it was easier to lock us up at night, so we’d close our bedroom door.

    Right now, he’s been for a while in a phase where he wakes me up once per night by howling. I leave our door open when I go to bed in case he wants to sleep with us. When he howls, I get up (I know I shouldn’t, but then he scratches at the walls, and I don’t want my walls all scratched up), show him his food bowl (there they are, you doofus, now eat and let me sleep), then close our door and go back to sleep. He usually settles after that.

    Funny thing is, he gets really annoying when we have people sleeping over. It’s like he hates having someone else in the house, even someone he knows and likes. Then there’s nothing I can really do to make him stop. He will try to open cupboard (bump, bump, bump, bump, bump), scratch at the walls or on doors, howl… No wonder my spouse doesn’t want a second cat. I once heard someone say that you can divide your hours of good sleep at night by the number of cats you have.

  11. I’ve been away on vacation for the last 5 days (camping and 4-wheeling in Arkansas with family) and I’ve missed my kitties at home and my Love & Hisses fix! We didn’t even have cell service where we were, let alone wi-fi or Internet.

    My Maggie is getting spayed today, so please keep her in your thoughts for a successful surgery with no complications and a speedy recovery. She’s a year and a half old and we put it off longer than we should, mainly because of money issues (another cat kind of ate up the vet budget) but she’s small, and she’s my baby, and getting a kitty spayed gives me anxiety, because it’s more complicated than the snip-snip that the boys get.

    • That’s not a vacation, that’s a punishment! πŸ˜‰

      I’ll keep Maggie in my thoughts today! I’m sure she’ll be fine, and by this time next week she’ll be completely back to normal. πŸ™‚

      • The people who owned the cabins had several dogs, including three Great Pyrenees, and we learned that their names were Sammy, Sasha, and Bandit. As soon as we arrived, they ambled up to check out the newcomers. The maintenance guy had to come up to our cabin to check out the fridge, and we asked him about the dogs. He said they really did keep bears away from the cabins, and that they seemed to have worked out a rotation schedule. They were immensely friendly, if a bit dirty, and it made me less homesick for my doggies. But there were no friendly corresponding cabin cats, alas!

  12. I need my sleep! Sasha and Mischa came and went all night without disturbing me. (Sasha just turned 15.) Toby, a stray I’ve had for 8 years, could not learn to be quiet at night. I tried to get him into the sleeping-on-the-bed routine with the rest of us, but he felt the world had to know if he was getting up to use the litter box or get a drink of water. Eventually I put him out of the room and closed the door and he learned to sleep quietly in one of the other rooms. Mish passed away and Toby adopted a young feral boy, Shadow. Sasha and I sleep in the bedroom with the door closed and the boys have the rest of the house at night. Recently Toby started howling outside the bedroom door at 5 in the morning. When yelling at him didn’t help I brought a squirt bottle into the bedroom. Squirting him a few mornings stopped that nonsense. He gets plenty of love and attention and he can just have a little respect for me needing eight solid hours of sleep!

  13. Just got the call. A pregnant calico is moving into my front room in the next day or so. I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • KELLY! I am so jealous! (I know, I HAVE kittens, but I want ALL the kittens!!! πŸ™‚ )

      I can’t wait to hear all about it, this is going to be awesome!!!

    • Congratulations! What a lucky mama kitty she’ll be, and I’m sure the kittens will do well at Miss Kelly’s Finishing School. πŸ™‚

  14. Basil, my 10 year old Suggie-doppelganger is convinced that he needs to eat 24-7. I had to switch to wet food last year when he became diabetic, and one of the ways I make sure he has enough to eat through the day when I am at work (OR if I don’t want him trying to get me to feed him if I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night)is to freeze wet food in a muffin pan. Then before bed or when I leave for work, I throw a ‘puck’ into his bowl and he eats it as it thaws. Monkey, my silver tabby isn’t much of an eater, and is content with the breakfast/dinner schedule.

  15. Have you tried having a conversation with your kitty who wakes you up in the middle of the night? Explain that humans sleep differently then kitties and that you need to sleep through the night. If you get woken up again, try to ignore it if you can, and remind the kitty that you need to sleep if close by. Giving the kitty what it wants (attention) will only enforce that it is OK to wake you up.

    Timed feeders are great if you don’t have highly food motivated cats (or dogs) but I do think they enforce behavior that you don’t want. If you cat can’t go 12 hours with out food, something is going on and a trip to the vet might not be a bad idea.

    I also highly recommend the book “Cat vs Cat” lots of great information on understanding how cats interact and why they might be acting the way they are. This 3am call might have more to do with what the other cat is doing..

    and FYI, cats aren’t nocturnal. They are crepuscular. They were desert creatures and as a result their prey was most active at twilight times.. so they are most active during those times. their eyes are designed to see in very low light, but not no light at all.

  16. To answer GD’s questions – Turnip thought to be between 1.5 and 2 years old. She’s a siamese mix rescue – she’s buff through her body but has torte colors where siamese are normally dark brown (face, legs, but the tip of her tail is orange!). She’s not over weight but she did do a lot of growing when she came home (like Robyn’s Alice!), she’s non-vocal, but she’s like a monkey – I swear she could swing by her tail that never quits wagging!! We think she was 6 months old when she was dumped outside with her litter of 5 newborn kittens – she came home to us when her kittens were weaned in October.

    • You have a cat that is part Siamese AND is non-vocal? Wow, you lucked out. Every Siamese (part or pure) I’ve ever encountered has taken “vocal” to new extremes. AND they tend to think that they’re Human (or that you’re Cat) so it never occurs to them that you can’t *understand* what they’re trying to communicate; it must simply be that you can’t *HEAR* them so they’ll repeat it for you, louder. LOL And when they get older and their hearing starts to go, it gets even more intense.

      That said, the Siamese/mixes I’ve known have always been the most amazing, intelligent, astonishing, loaded-with-personality cats of all. Sushi’s been dead for more than 15 years now, and we still talk about her as if she’s right around the corner.

  17. I love all the suggestions and names of everyone’s cats!! LOVE IT. So the dresser has been cleared and looking for ear plugs today. This morning, Percy made it to 5 and was rambling about – -targeting the alarm clock on the nightstand,, So I tried the hug him under the covers approach – – HELL NO he wasn’t having it!! I looked like a deranged hag wrestling a baboon into a sleeping bag… No wonder I am single. I will keep up the work and can bet the earplugs will do the trick.. THANKS EVERYONE!!!