cat crazy at night

Kitten Nighttime Hyperactivity

At night cats and kittens display what seems to us to be odd behavior. However, it is important to remember that cats are nocturnal hunters and have terrific night vision. So do not despair. Read below and understand and learn to handle your feline friend.

Kitten Sleeps on My Head!

Dear Simba,My newly found kitten is 6-months-old. When we go to bed she curls up at the bottom and does not cause any trouble.
But, if someone gets up to use the bathroom, a good night's sleep is over. She will starts purring and will not give up on crawling around my head. I toss her back to the bottom of the bed dozens and dozens of times. She rarely gives up. Putting her outside the bedroom door does not work either. She just scratches it. And besides, I like having her below my knees. How can I keep her there? Kathleen

Dear Kathleen,
Kittens love to make trouble at night! One thing you may want to try to encourage her to stay at the foot of the bed is to make a warm blanket or sheet available to her. In instances where she gets ornery, place a blanket in the dryer for 2-5 minutes, until warm, then place the blanket at the foot of the bed. Kitty will likely take to it and snuggle up to it. Simba

I just brought home a three month-old kitten that loves to snuggle and climb around my face and hair when I sleep. Due to my allergies, I am congested in the morning. I would like her to sleep with me, but not on my face - how can I train her to sleep elsewhere on the bed? Amy

Dear Amy,
Cats & Kittens love to curl up and get cozy in warm and comfy places. Your kitten obviously views you as possessing those qualities. One way to train her to sleep somewhere else is to create a comfy cozy place for her. Do this by taking an old sweatshirt or towel and placing it in the dryer a for a few minutes right before bedtime. As you go to bed, grab the sweatshirt/towel and place it above the covers, at the foot of your bed. When you kitten comes to your face, gently pick her up and place her on the warm sweatshirt/towel. Repeat this for a couple of days. She should take to the warm comfy material quickly and migrate to it naturally. Simba

another way to keep your allergies from flaring up is to vacuum your house regularly and to give your kitten baths. See the Grooming section for more on this.

Dear Simba,
I acquired an adorable female British short hair kitten one month ago. She is now 6-months-old and has been spayed. For the past 2 weeks she has taken to middle of the night forays on my bed-I know this is because she wants to play or be near me-I free feed her so I know she is not hungry. I am a very light sleeper, and have pretended to be asleep and just ignore her, hoping the lack of attention will make her stop, but it hasn't. She is alone all day and I play with her in the evenings; she gets loads of attention when I am home. I am considering shutting her out of the bedroom because I need my sleep. I have lots of toys for her and blankets to make a cozy bed in the living room, but I am concerned she is going to feel neglected or punished by not being allowed in the bedroom. Friends who have cats say she will grow out of this, but I cannot wait. They also suggested I shut the bedroom door when I am home so it will always be off limits, which is what I did when I first got her. What would you suggest? Marlene Y.

Dear Marlene Y.,
I think that shutting your bedroom door at all times is a good idea. This way she will perceive the bedroom door as she does the front door, and will find her own entertainment outside of it. Just be sure to move any of her toys and blankets that may be in your bedroom out into other areas of your home. Keep me posted. Simba

Late Night Meowing

Dear Simba,
I have male and a female cat, each 2 1/2 years-old. Both have been fixed; neither is de-clawed. Leo, my male cat, has been meowing at the door at night for a while…it has recently gotten worse. I have tried everything I can think of. I talk to him, I try to pet him and give him attention, thinking he was meowing because he was lonely. He runs away from me when I walk toward the door (as though he knows he is doing something naughty).

Since affection did not work, I squirt him with water and put things that he does not like near the door where he meows. I give him "time outs" by shutting him in the bathroom. he is quiet in the bathroom, but as soon as I let him out, he goes back to the door. He is now meowing all day long, and not just at the door. When he is quiet, I give have him lots of attention to reinforce the quiet behavior, but I do not know that he makes that connection!

I live in an attic apartment, and my landlord has cats downstairs (but they have always been there). Leo has never been an outdoor cat, he was a 4-week-old orphan when I adopted him. He has gotten out a couple of times into my landlord's house, but each time I catch him I tell him "No" and carry him back up the stairs. He no longer tries to run out when I open the door, so I know he can be taught.

I called my vet and she suggested things I have already tried. I do not think he is in pain or sick because he does not exhibit any other symptoms. His incessant meowing is driving me crazy, and I am afraid it keeps my neighbors awake. I love Leo and would never get rid of him, but I could use a good night's sleep and some peace and quiet during the day. Any suggestions? Door-o-thy

Hi Door-o-thy,
Certainly sounds like you have your hands full with Leo. You have done all the right things so far. From the all-around nature of his meowing, it sounds as though it is more than just the door. His not trying to escape reinforces that. You may just the same want to get a cat Scat Mat. These mats give off an unpleasant sensation when stepped upon. This would certainly discourage Leo from going to the door. However, that is not going to solve the underlying problem, that something is bothering Leo!.

I recommend taking Leo to the vet and perhaps having him prescribe an anti-anxiety medication, assuming that he does not have a more serious illness. Some questions I would ask myself are:

  • Is it possible that he wants to play with the neighbor's cats?
  • Does your neighbor use catnip?
  • Does Leo get enough exercise?
  • Have there been any changes in your furniture?
  • Are you feeding him anything new?
  • Are his meals or is his litter located in a different spot?
cat scratch postUltimate Scratcher
Any of these can cause stress in a cat. Document as much as you can of his meowing and when he is quiet and when he is not and see if you see a pattern that you can address. Keep me posted. Simba

I have 2, 6-month-old cats, 2 boys, both neutered. One of them (midnight) whines at 4AM! It used to be at 5 when my fiance would get up for work, but since the time change its been 4. He stands at my closet door and scratches and "chirps" at it. We used to lock him in our spare bedroom with all their toys with food and water but he would scratch at the doors. I have asked everyone for advice and they all said keep them up past 6pm and let them out of their room. I tried that, they now sleep through the night but he still wakes up at 4AM. Help! I am exhausted, and my fiancé wants to get rid of him. Sleepless in CA

Dear Sleepless in CA
Try placing them in their own room with their water and toys. To avoid being woken by their scratching at the doors, place some material, like an old quilt or carpet on the inside part of the door so they can scratch away without disturbing you guys. Be sure to that the material stays on the door (you may want to nail it, or hang it over the topside so that it stays on).Keep me posted. Simba

Hi Simba,
I feed her twice a day, in the AM and then again in the evening. We also have a 4-year-old, spayed, female cat. The two of them get along fine. When we first got her we left our bedroom door open at night so the kitten would not make a fuss. However, she always wanted us up a lot earlier than we needed/wanted to be up (4:00 or 5:00 AM). As she got a little older, she stopped doing that. However, she has started up again. Only now, she talks from midnight on - non-stop. She is loud and sounds like she needs something. I have given her everything she could possibly need/want. Her health is good, she had a solid check up at her last visit to the vet. We have resorted to shutting our bedroom door at night. Of course, this makes the situation worse but we can sleep through some of the crying. I have no idea what the problem is. I am tired and frustrated. I have yelled at her and I feel terrible. I know it is not her fault. Suggestions?-Sleepless Nights

Dear Sleepless Nights,
How terrible that kitty does this! You are not alone in your slumber problems. Let's see how she changes post-operation. My recommendation is that you stop getting up to see her. If possible, put her in a pen or in a room far away from yours during the night(be sure to leave water and litter nearby). Your getting up only encourages her to continue her motormouth. If she is ok, sleep away...I know it is difficult but give it a shot. Also, I am sure it was an isolated incident but do not yell at her. There are many more effective training methods. Keep me posted. Simba

Dear Simba,
I have a 7-year-old tabby, Zack, who has learned a horrible habit of meowing in the middle of the night to go outside. He is neutered and declawed, so I do not want him outside. My ex-husband would let him outside, so Zack got accustomed to the outdoors. Zack will now run into the kitchen next to the door and meow. If I get up and bring him back to bed, he will stay there for maybe the whole night or for just an hour, or just a few minutes. I am 9 months pregnant and I am trying to fix this before the baby is born. Is there any advise you can give me? Thanks, Kristi

Dear Kristi,
You will have plenty of sleepless nights when the baby comes, no need to practice being up! My recommendation is to move him away from the kitchen door. Keep Zack in your room, or in his own room in the evening with the door closed (be sure he has access to water and to his litter box). This will lessen his association with nighttime and his running outside. The hope is that he will become accustomed to being indoors and have less of a longing for the wild outdoors. At 7 years of age, it is probable that Zack's behavior is ingrained in his cute little head, so do not expect a miracle change. Give it time. Simba

Kitten Running at Night

Dear Simba,
I have two kittens (Hades and Jimini Cricket). Jimini is never still, especially when I am trying to sleep! He does not keep my boyfriend awake, but he constantly tries to walk on my head, lick my nose, or paw at me. He also has this issue during the day. When Hades napping or just walking around, Jimini runs at top speed or sits in one place and seems unable to get comfortable.

Can cats have ADD? I have had cats my whole life, but these two mates seem to "cover up" their food dish. It happens either when they're done eating or are full. Sometimes they'll just walk up to the bowl and try and cover it up for no reason... is this normal? -Kitten Disorderly

Dear Kitten Disorderly,
Poor little Jimini. One disease that causes hyper activity is hyperthyroidism. This is a disorder caused by an increase in the amount of thyroid hormones produced by an enlarged thyroid gland. Common symptoms include: weight loss, increased appetite (although some patients have decreased appetite),vomiting, increased thirst and urination, hyper activity, and diarrhea. However, this is a disease that develops in middle age and older cats, usually no less than 6 years of age. Because of that, I do not think that it applies in Jimini's case.

I cannot help but think that Jimini is just another crazy little fuzz ball like other kittens. You may want to monitor Jimini's eating to see if he is getting more than his fair share of food. If you cannot sleep, consider placing Jimini and Hades in another room, line it with kitty comforts and let them enjoy their own company. There is no reason for you to suffer through the evening.

As for their burrying, it is not abnormal. Cats that have hunted or grew up near cats that hunted bury their food so as not to attract predators or scavengers. Your Pal, Simba

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