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Robyn my husband asked me to write you and see if you have any suggestions for how to deal with our cat who suddenly after almost 4 years with us cries and scratches at the door half the night wanting to get outside. He has been a total house cat since we took him in and this just started a month or two ago. We have put cardboard up to keep him from doing more damage to the door frame and have had to baracade that at night he is so determined. Thanks for any help from you and your wonderful readers.

I have no helpful suggestions here, but I suspect someone out there does – if you have a suggestion, please share!

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I’m at work and just got an email from a customer whose email signature includes this quote…

“One cat is a companion, two cats are entertainment, and six cats can bring down a government”

I thought of you.

I love that so very, very much!

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I have a question for you. We have recently adopted a kitten (named Eloise Sparkles Red and Blue, thanks to my four year old daughter!) and she gets along well with our ten yer old cat and our huge eleven year old dog. The problem is that she likes to steal food. She got a waffle right out of my daughters hands the other day and growled and swiped at us when we tried to take it back and tell her no. That’s just one example. How can we show her who’s boss?

I had no useful advice on this topic (I suspect that the cats understand that I do NOT share my food!), but there were some definitely helpful hints in yesterday’s comments – I’d love to hear any additional suggestions y’all have.

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Could we see another pic of Rufus soon? Many thanks.

I think you mean Rupert? (I’m glad I’m not the only one who mixes up the two names!)

I was very very difficult to get these shots of Rupert, because he is SO hard to find, but I persevered for you!

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That was a joke, actually, because I don’t think Rupert has been off the property since he showed up. He’s always either hanging out on the side stoop, the driveway, snoozing under the blue coop (which is visible from the side door), and as soon as we step outside, he’s there to keep us company. He’s such a sweet boy.

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I have a question for those of you who’ve had a cat spayed. Maggie has fully recovered: her spay incision looks like a scar, no stitches visible at all after a month, but she has gained a layer of fat on her tummy, almost like quilting. I avoided picking her up for a long time because I didn’t want to hurt her tummy, but recently I did pick her up and was surprised by the heft she’d gained. My husband put it bluntly but accurately: “She’s got titties.” She feels like a nursing mother. Is this a normal post-spay reaction? It feels like fat, not milk, but it’s in a distinctive lumpy configuration. She’s due for booster shots, and I was going to ask the vet about the weight she’s put on, but thought I’d ask here first.

There were some responses in the comments the other day (see them here), but I had no helpful advice to add. I hope you’ll let us know what you find out at the vet, Noelegy!

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Wait a minute — Cap’n Floof is in a basket where? Does he get the run of the house now?

Cap’n Floof and General Grumps (Norland) get the run of the house during the… well, whenever they want it, really. They’ll occasionally venture into the guest bedroom to hang out with the rest of the Taters, and sometimes prefer to spend their nights in there, but if they want to come out, they can. They both like to sleep with me, which is nice – they’re snugglers, but not obnoxious about it – but I am not fond of the 4:30 am slap fights they both enjoy so much, one of them perched on my feet and the other one perched on my hip. They’re learning to respect the can of compressed air, though, I’ll tell you that.

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Brandywine looks like she could have some Oriental Shorthair in her with the big ears and small face. I love torti cats…their coloring is so amazing. How many kittens does that make in-house now?

She does have that big-eared look, doesn’t she?

We currently have… 12 fosters at the moment. Um… right? 6 Taters, 6 ‘Maters. Yeah, 12. I could be wrong, but I think that might be the highest number of fosters we’ve ever had at one time.

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On Wednesday night at 11:00pm we opened our front door to find two cute little fluffbabies on our doorstep. It’s YOUR FAULT that I brought them in to my house, dug the old cat carrier out of the attic, moistened some cat food with my husband’s half & half, and made a litter box out of a box lid. It’s all YOUR FAULT that I took them to the vet the next day and spent $175 (which I don’t have) for their exam, initial vaccines, leukemia testing, and boarding over the weekend. I was on my way out of town and the rescue group that Petco referred me to said they had no room. What else could I do? It’s YOUR FAULT that these two darling cute kitties are wreaking havoc in my house right now. My friends and family think I’m crazy, and I know I am. There are MANY things I need to spend $$ on besides 2 baby kitties I can’t keep. But, if I try to explain to them that it’s YOUR FAULT, then they’ll really know I’ve lost it. So – I just smile & say “Thank You” when they tell me that was the stupidest thing I’ve done in a while. I don’t dare tell them that some lady I’ve never met has so much influence on me, she made me do it.

Oh, suuuure. Everyone always blames the pusher! πŸ˜‰

Seriously – thank you for taking in and caring for those babies!

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I can’t think of a more cat-friendly place to talk about this. My adult daughter ran over one of her cats today in the driveway of our house and killed him and she is so heartbroken.

This is a cat she rescued that had been put in a dumpster and he honestly was one of the most loving cats I’ve ever known. She is devastated that he is gone, but worse, that she did it herself, albeit accidentally.

Can anyone offer a word of advice for getting over a loss like this, when it’s unfortunately by your own hand (or car in this case)?

Oh Sharon, I am so sorry. I can only imagine how heartbroken she is, and I’m sure it’ll take her some time. She needs to remember how lucky he was to be rescued by her, and how lucky he was to be so loved for the time he was with her. I agree with Holly, accidents happen, and I bet he would absolutely forgive her for this. (Holly and Doodle Bean had some kind words of wisdom, too.)

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Yeah, I want to know too – how do you manage to get anything done with the Taters and now these new little cupcakes? Really.

I honestly never ever ever get as much done around the house in a day as I intend to when I get up in the morning. I spend an awful lot of my day looking at and kissing kittens, believe you me!

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Did I get this from someone posting it on here?? if not then you’ll love this. if so, sorry for reposting

I love the Baby Stompers! Can you tell us more about exactly how he stomps? Maybe a stomping video?

How do you control the butt biting? I have a problem with that in my house and one of the cats has to be separated from the others because of it. He’s the one being bitten. It’s like he finally freaked out over it and decided he’s done with the cat who has been biting his butt. We have Feliway all over the house, but I think the biting would probably continue if I let him near the biter for any length of time.

The Baby Stompers is being a bratty brat and won’t cooperate with my attempts to get his stomping ways on video. I can tell you that he walks with great purpose. The past couple of days he seems to know when I’m about to open the guest bedroom door, and he’s waiting RIGHT there, and the instant I get the door open, off down the hallway he stomps. I don’t know where he thinks he’s going, but he appears to have a destination in mind, and so I have to chase him down and pick him up, and he complains at me.


As for the butt biting, I usually don’t do anything about it unless it appears that one cat is bullying the other – I let them work it out themselves, so I don’t have any helpful hints. Readers? Got any suggestions?

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By tested negative, you mean Cicero tested negative for FIV and feleuk, right? What would happen if he had tested positive? Would you just have to keep him separated from the rest of the Taters?

Yes, he tested negative for Feline Leukemia and FIV. If he’d been positive, we would have had to continue to keep him sequestered, and then retested him in the future. He would have been so lonely!

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OMG. Cicero’s story is slaying me. I was seriously praying he would be negative and nearly cried with relief. How are you ever going to let the little guy go? I couldn’t do it. Something about him being all by himself when found, and he is such a good baby, and the stomping around. God. I don’t envy you and Fred the day of sending him to be adopted.

I just said to Fred last night that I don’t know how on EARTH we’re ever going to let him go. He has such personality! But I’m determined that love him as long as we have him, and I suspect that when he goes, I will be crying buckets and buckets of tears!

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Remember little gray Gracie in Texas, whose picture I posted at the beginning of the week? She has a home, and you can see her here!

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I cannot get over Agata’s gorgeous brown eyes.

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Baby Stompers would like you to know that he was NOT hiding from the vacuum cleaner at ALL. Vacuum cleaners don’t skeer him!

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Pretty, pretty girl.

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This would be Kennebec, attempting to suck on my finger. That boy will suck on anything – he’s particularly fond of the other kittens’ tails, and sometimes they’ll actually put up with it. When I catch him at it, I redirect him to a small blanket. It is so sweet, but so sad to see him sucking on that blanket.

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Stompers, headed for some snuggling.

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This is his “You must kiss me” look.

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General Grumps keeps an eye on the troops.

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“SEE? BABY STOMPERS THE BOSS OF YOU!” Agata, Fianna, and Kennebec put up with Stompers’ shenanigans so very patiently.

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Pardon the blurriness of these pictures – my good camera should be here later today, so the quality of the pictures should improve! Or maybe not – those ‘Maters just never stop moving.

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Caspian says “Unhand me!”

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Wellington says “You make kitty scared!”

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Dingwall Scotty says “Why you abuse me so?” (I was trying to get a shot of the white on his chest and belly!)

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Sungold says “You mind? I’m going to check out the food. You mind your own bidness, lady.”

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If you look behind Brandywine, you can see Dingwall Scotty’s one-white-toed foot sticking out. He was literally laying UNDERNEATH her, his feet sticking out behind her, and his head sticking out in front of her. He was nursing and didn’t even seem to know he was being squashed. Crazy boy.

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“Do you see what I put up with?”

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Bath time for da Corbs.

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I sure do love this beautiful boy.


2011: It is, let me tell you, utter madness.
2010: β€œC’mere, Elweird, you have shmutz on your head.”
2009: These guys were like β€œHey! More room to explore!”
2008: No entry.
2007: Maxi does love her some Booger.
2006: No entry.
2005: “I haff come to suck yoor blooood.”



6-22-12 — 56 Comments

  1. Maybe he should be called DingBAT Scotty instead! πŸ™‚

    Love me some Stompers and some Corbie!!!

    • Not just Dingwall being a dingbat, but Wellington’s ear is folded back!

      Silly kittens!

  2. You don’t have to cry when Baby Stompers leaves Crooked Acres, Robyn. Come and visit him at my house whenever you want πŸ˜‰

      • What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. See… the plan is to bring Cicero in as a “foster”. When he’s not “adopted” after a year or two (which he won’t be since he will never be available to being with), I’ll just tell dear husband that since no one wants him we’ll just have to keep him πŸ˜‰

        • HA – you have to practice your confused face, Kelly, while you’re saying “I just don’t understand why no one wants to adopt him!!!” to your husband. πŸ™‚

    • I think you both will have to fight for Baby Stompers. πŸ™‚ I would LOVE to bring Baby Stompers to my house too. πŸ˜€

      • As I said on Monday, I wish I could have Stompers, too! Pretty sure that my SUPER opinionated tortie girl would not like me very much for it, but I just love him so. πŸ™‚

  3. I just can’t get over Momma Brandywine. What an awesome girl. She’s raising some handsome, goofy boys, too!

  4. Seeing as you have so many ginger kittens I think I’ll post myself over to you, I could sleep on the porch with Rupert……..

  5. Sweet, goofy babies. Another sweet Mama who’s landed in a loving, safe place to raise her babies. This blog always gives me a happy. β™₯

  6. Cicero was an answer on Jeopardy either last night or the night before. Of course I screamed out “That’s Robyn’s kitten.” Luckily only hubby was in the room an knew what the heck I was hollering about. I think the picture of Ding(bat)wall Scotty’s foot is a caption away from internet glory.

  7. There is a big headed boy at the local shelter that reminds me of the Corbs. Love those big headed boys!!!

    Poor Brandywine. I had a momma cat a year ago that sat on a kitten as she was trying to nurse – you could tell that Chiclet had had enough of that nursing kittens thing. πŸ™‚

    I agree – Stompers may be hard to let go, but hopefully his new family will keep you updated with his antics.

  8. I have two questions! One, have you ever fostered any polydactyl cats? I have a poly, but I got him when he was 4 so I never got to see him as a kitten. I have to think polydactyl kittens are just hilarious. And, two – when you’re fostering, does Challenger’s pay for vet bills, spay/neuter surgeries and food, or are all of those things provided by you and Fred?

    • I’ve actually never had a polydactyl kitten – at least, not yet! Terry, one of the True Blood Six, appeared to be polydactyl at first, but he didn’t have an extra toe, they were just arranged differently.

      And yes, Challenger’s House pays for the vet bills and surgeries and food. The only thing they don’t pay for is the litter, and that’s not a problem for us, because we always have plenty of litter on hand. πŸ™‚

  9. I’m happy to see that Brandywine’s face is looking less pinched. Thanks for pushing the calories into that skinny, skinny mama, Robyn!

    • I actually went to Walmart this morning because Queen Brandywine has decreed that she does not care for the pate-type canned food, she much prefers the shredded-type stuff. And all I had on hand was the pate type. It was an emergency! πŸ™‚

      • When Penny first got here, she wouldn’t eat canned food. Now she prefers ONLY canned. She gets an all-you-can-eat kibble buffet in the foster room, but apparently it’s “just for emergencies”

  10. I may show up at your door when it’s time for BABY STOMPERS to find a furrrever home. πŸ™‚ He’s SO CUTE and I need a little ginger to add to my “set”.

  11. I love the wee white toe! I foresee us saying about other kittens soon: “he/she has a bit of the Ding”. Jake may have found his Mini Me!

  12. Well, we have ended up (so far) with five hissy/spitty/feral little kittens and one slightly older cat who we thought was Mom to three but now seems to be an older sister (if so, trip to vet next week). There is another sibling and Mom cat that may be coming if they can catch her; the rescue charity is paying the vet stuff but I haven’t had kittens this wild in years. After company leaves, we expect to kitten proof the drawing room and open the cages; already we spend a lot of time sitting in the room but that won’t tame them totally. I want them to come to us as much as possible, since one already won the name (through gardening gloves) of “Vlad the Impaler” with his tiny teeth!

    The two litters seem about 7 to 8 weeks old and have never been handled…fun, fun, fun! On the other hand, they seem to know all about threats like dogs and have some serious hunting skills..good barn cats if we can tame them enough to catch them for vet trips and needed attention.

    • I had two fosters last year that were hissy/spitty/feral and about that age. Actually, one was hissy and spitty, the other was deer-in-the-headlights paralyzed with fear. After a few weeks of assuring them that my husband and I would not murder them (including the heavy use of chicken baby food on the fingers), Mr. Hissy-Fit was climbing into my lap of his own accord and purring, and not long after, climbing onto my back and shoulders every time I walked into the foster room (his sister, the freaked-out one, was a little slower to come around). The folks who adopted them sent me pictures a week or so after the adoption, and both kittens were totally at ease, sitting in laps and lounging on the couch, allowing themselves to be brushed, etc. Little brats. I adored them. Good luck!

          • Ooh, yes, turkey or chicken baby food (we used Beechnut level one) works very well. Mr. Hissy (whose name was — and still is — actually Oscar) would get VERY excited by it. Sometimes a little too excited. Those kitten teeth can hurt.

  13. I’ve heard of growth spurts but Kennebec is kind of ridiculous. He looks like a full grown cat in recent days, not a minor. He’s going to be LeBron-sized!

    • I thought that too: in the picture where he’s sucking Robyn’s finger, he’s definitely getting his “cat” face, and losing his “kitten” face.

  14. DS kills me.. first the white toe, then this..

    I swear ONE of the people promising to come down and kittennap Stompers better do it.. HE NEEDS HIS OWN BLOG!!

    Henry would like to say hi…

    v to h ,f,,],v”””””””””””””””””’

    See what happens when you take your kittens to work??

  15. As for Sharon and her daughter, oh how my heart breaks at this. Loosing a beloved pet is never easy. I hope she can treat herself as well as she would treat a friend who either did this or had it happen to them. Since it wasn’t intentional and was just a horrid accident hopefully she can come to a place where she can accept that this was how it was fated to be. All of our pets will leave us at some point. How and when is not to be known when we take them in. Each life is here for a reason. Kodi helped me learn and understand FIP. Em taught me about feline diabetes and nasal cancer. Ollie, vaccine associated sarcoma. Share your story, help others learn from what you have gone through.

    as for biting kitties. whomever is getting bitten needs to tell the biter that it is not acceptable. in the case of two kitties you need to let them work it out. If the one being bitten is the omega of the house and can’t stand up for itself, then boosting the omega’s courage is in order. tell him to stand up for himself, root for him when there is a scuffle, etc. I can’t recommend the book “Cat vs Cat” highly enough, there are a lot of great suggestions on how to help cats deal with other cats in the house.

    As for the kitty who wants to get out.. there are three ways to handle this. A) let the kitty out. Not my idea of the best suggestion, but everyone’s life and situation is different. B) let the kitty out with supervision. Either on a harness and lead or in a cat proof enclosure. Again, not really ideal as you do still put the kitty at greater risk of heart worm, fleas, ticks and predators. the risk is much smaller, but it is greater then indoor only. or C) dissuade and distract the kitty. When the kitty goes to scratch randomly either distract with play or with punishment. A can of compressed air is usually startling enough to make the kitty consider what it is doing (they also make compressed air with a motion sensor for just such things) If you always treat you’ll teach the kitty to get food or play to go scratch at the door. If you always punish then the kitty will just find away around getting punished.

    • I wanted to comment on Sharon’s note.

      I had the exact same experience as her daughter when i was in high school. I didn’t realize that my rescued, deaf cat was laying underneath the car when i pulled out of the driveway. It still hurts to this day, 14 years later. I don’t have any words of wisdom except that I am so very, very sorry to hear that she’s going through this.

  16. I’m sorry, you must stop. I can’t handle Norland. Can’t. Handle. Norland. He is my favorite of all your current orange tabbies. And he would look so pretty with my little gray cat, and she would try to play with him and he would make that adorable grumpy old man face, and it’s probably a good thing I live so far away…

  17. Dear Sharon’s daughter: I cannot imagine how devastated you are feeling right now. We love these creatures so much that we forget that there is always a little bit of the wild still in them, and that they go where they will. I hope that time will bring you to a happier place, where you can remember your good times with your beloved cat.

  18. Maggie’s check-up and booster shots are scheduled for tomorrow morning. I will let you all know what the vet says about her new “curves.” πŸ™‚

    Little stinker. She has gotten SO sweet and lovable since her spay surgery. Every day when we get home, she is on top of the chest of drawers that we use for a TV stand (it’s about 4 1/2 feet tall), and as soon as I open the bedroom door, she starts kneading her little cat-sized crocheted blanket that I made for her and that somehow got up there on top of the dresser. Kneading, standing up. Purring. And if those tactics don’t work, flopping to one shoulder and air-kneading.

    • The vet agreed that Maggie’s fat accumulation was unusual, but said he didn’t think there was anything to worry about, because it was symmetrical, non-tender, and she wasn’t red or having any discharge. He said that the hormone imbalance after spaying can cause weight gain, and because she’s a small cat, it’s immediately obvious. They suggested that I watch her food intake. Apparently she just plumped up a little. πŸ™‚

      • Hi Noelogy! So glad to hear everything is okay with Maggie. She sounds like a lovely girl.

  19. Thanks for the pictures of Rupert, Robyn — there’s just something about that boy. Come to think of it, there’s something about every single kitty on this blog. And all the kitties that appear in the comments section, too!

  20. Since it’s been a veggie naming trend with the Taters and ‘Maters, I think you should do a Squash litter. I think you’d end up nicknaming someone “Pattypan” anyway lolol

  21. Re the cat who’s suddenly desperate to go out – this might not apply, since Cat used to be an outdoor cat and knew what was out there. But there was a period of time where all of a sudden he wanted OUT. RIGHT NAO. even more intently than usual. One day he snuck out and instead of running off, he went straight to the grass and started chowing down and purring. It turns out he really loves grass. Maybe try getting some of that oat grass stuff and see if that’s what he wants? You can get a kit with seeds at pet supply places, and some grocery stores sell it in the produce section. (Cat strongly prefers crabgrass, though. I bring it from outside — the neighbors probably think I’m nuts.)

    • I also wondered if perhaps there’s a new cat roaming the neighborhood that the housecat can smell or hear – I’ve sometimes noticed my own cats clustering around my (closed, solid wood) front door late at night. I always wonder, “Have they got a bug?” but I never manage to remember that there’s a cat in the neighborhood that likes to spray my front door – until the next morning when I step out into the stinky, nasty mess. I’m always irritated about that because if I’d remember at the right time (when I SEE the cats focusing on the door), maybe I could break the stray cat of that habit. Anyway, maybe there’s a nocturnal visitor of some sort that’s piquing the housecat’s interest. Not sure what to DO if that’s the case but at least it’d be an answer.

  22. We had the most loved, sweet natured mal ecat named Cheddar..a few years back we had to put him down, this was just an awful situation and a very hard decision for all our family..jump forward our daughter says all she wants for her 12th bday is another cat..we are going to the shelter in mid-July..so do you have any advice for picking a cat?…My daughter wants a ‘snuggly cat’ We have 2 dogs, both have no problem with my parent’s cats…any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Let the cat pick your daughter. If it’s a shelter like Challenger’s House where you can sit in a room with the cats free to roam, they will come to you and you’ll know when it’s the right one. Some cats don’t like to be picked up or held while you are standing, but they’ll curl up in your lap or snuggle next to you.

  23. Hi Robyn – I have a suggestion for your reader who posted this:

    “Robyn my husband asked me to write you and see if you have any suggestions for how to deal with our cat who suddenly after almost 4 years with us cries and scratches at the door half the night wanting to get outside. He has been a total house cat since we took him in and this just started a month or two ago. We have put cardboard up to keep him from doing more damage to the door frame and have had to baracade that at night he is so determined. Thanks for any help from you and your wonderful readers.

    I have no helpful suggestions here, but I suspect someone out there does – if you have a suggestion, please share!”

    First off I would stop with the cardboard, Cardboard shreds easily and “feels” good when it does, so putting it there to block him may just encourage more of this behavior.

    In place of this, try double sided tape or aluminum foil in area he is scratching at. Cats do not like the feel of either of these materials and this may discourage further scratching.

    You can also try “redirecting” once the foil is up by placing a favorite scratching post next to the area he is wrecking.

    Lastly, your kitty may be wanting something that is outside, another cat, a mouse, or something else. If you can observe the outside around the doorway, try to see if there is something visiting in the middle of the night. This can be accomplished by personal observation, motion activated outdoor lighting or even cheap night vision cameras taped to the outside of the door. It might be a feral hanging out on your doorstep and marking territory.

    We have this problem with neighborhood kitties, They like to hang out on the porch and watch my kitties. We call it he kitty reality show.