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Scratching in bed - please help, it's making me miserable!

(22 Posts)
AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 09:31:09

We got our lovely rescue cat last April. She is an Egyptian Mau and a real character.

She has always been a bit bitey - we have stopped playing with or stroking her when this happens. We had initially said no to cats in bed but gradually realised she is in charge, not us! She has nights of being fine and other nights where she wakes us - so we exclude her from the bedroom following these. However in the last week she has twice just started scratching us completely out of the blue. She did this last night and my husbands arm is a bit of a mess. She never scratches in the daytime - she just doesn't do it. Any advice? I shut her out after this last night and she just cried and cried. It breaks my heart but at the same time I'm getting worried about going to sleep with her.

Any ideas? Thank you.

cozietoesie Mon 02-Jan-17 12:30:06

Gawd - I just lost a whole (long) post.

Scratching/biting in bed is against the house rules with my personal Siamese boys - the ones who demand to sleep with me. You just have to exclude most firmly if they transgress - and stick to it. Every time without fail.

The only thing I'd suggest is that you exclude immediately after a single incident, however small. That way, they can tie the actions together and realise what is forbidden. Her general crying outside the door rather suggests that she doesn't know why she was excluded. (When you do it purposefully, they tend to just sit and brood about their particular sin with the odd squawk.)

Be tough on this one. She won't dislike you for it.

Sorry this is Siamese-focussed. I rather suspect she's a bright and sensitive cat, though, so it should work with her.

Shriek Mon 02-Jan-17 12:46:49

I agree although my dcats just dsh variety. We had toe biting and scratching. Do the same thing and completely exclude immediately. They do learn pretty quick but it doescrop up uncommonly now tho.

Good luck. That scratching attack sounds horrid and I would be scares to go to asleep with the dcat that did that. Sounds like doing what it can get away with to get attention when bored!

I hope it works for you

cozietoesie Mon 02-Jan-17 13:03:36

One important thing that I've learned generally about exclusion for a sin. Don't open the door and go to give the cat love - because you feel so rotten or something. Just open the door and go back to what you were doing and let the cat 'sneak in' under their own pace. That way, you should find a penitent and quiet little body insinuating themselves next to you but you won't have ceded your place.

Remember - they won't dislike you for being firm. In fact, repeating of the rules seems to reassure them in their understanding of what is allowed or otherwise.

Think of yourself as Top Cat always. smile

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 19:41:24

Thanks everyone.
I have spoken to DH who was awake when she went for him last night. He says she jumped and scrabbled to get up to get pillow - clawing him in the process. So it seems something cared jet and she went to run away rather than her deliberately scratching us. So now I feel like a total bitch and wondering what is scaring her....

Shriek Mon 02-Jan-17 20:06:45

That information changes everything obvs.

My dcat jumps up to pounce on toes or catch something moving. Yours was just trying to jump onto bed. No issue although normal reaction to push off perfectly reasonable!

Nothing to indicate that dcat was scared.

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 20:26:43

My theory of her being scared is based on the really bad scratches all over us. She is an indoor cat and freaks out when outside - the only time she has scratched me was when she has been outside and was desperate to get back in. The scratches are deep - it's more than her walking over us. Hmmmmmmm.

RubbishMantra Mon 02-Jan-17 20:27:08

Can we have a photo of her? I love Egyptian Maus, and they're not a breed you see very often. <not helpful>

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 20:37:14

A picture you say?
Well alright then... here is my baby

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Mon 02-Jan-17 21:10:59

I think it boils down to her not being properly socialised we had a big ginger boy like this, we got him when he was maybe 4-5 mnths old and he could be bitey
DD and I were his favourites, but he often seemed to be on the edge of fight or flight with strangers.

From your later explanation it does sounds like a slightly panicked over she missed the bed, she scrabbled to get back and caught your dh in the passing.

My dh got a scratched cornea for something similar shock but he never really got how Oscar's mind worked. He'd heard him coming out of the windowsill to get into bed and the pair of them somehow clashed...dh was sitting up, cat was mid leap...paw in eye...all hell breaks loose. If he'd just laid still and spoken to the cat he wouldn't have to wear an eye patch now......joke had to have eye drops for a fortnight and new glasses. 3)

It's like having an impulsive child...rather than spend your entire life with a shocked face, head in hands, saying "ohhhhmigoddddd nooooooooo" all the time, you have to rabbit on and narrate what's happening. "hey pussy cat I am off to bed, are you coming to bed? Be steady, jump up here first, mind your manners, no poking, what a pretty catface you are! Are you coming for a hug?"
It sort of slows them down and takes out the element of surprise. (cats and children.
just general crazy cat lady conversations iyswim.

cozietoesie Mon 02-Jan-17 21:16:45

Really bad scratches all over you? That's a bit more than a sleep-fuddled mistake, I think.

Harden your heart. If you're firm (and finally relent) she would feel safer anyway. smile

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 21:22:01

Thanks cozie - I will. I think Siamese and Maus are fairly similar in behaviour so I really appreciate the advice. I will try and be harder!

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 21:28:15

Tondelaya I definitely think you are right about the socialisation - she gets bitey when she is being stroked sometimes - I think she gets overwhelmed

Shriek Mon 02-Jan-17 21:29:34

Is this a known trait of this breed? One of mine isnt good at cuddles or picking up and putting down often involves lots of claws and ouches!

He would also continuenscratching if he missed your lap jumping onto high stool. He would dig claws in and keep on climbing . Comversely, when kneading legs and purring at me i only have to 'ouch' and he stopsimmediately and stares right at me then starts all over again

This sounds more like kittenish behaviour of tail tucking and hysteriaplaying and needs calming before serious injury! claw to eye OOOWW!

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 21:33:45

Shriek - she loves cuddles - she would be on your lap all the time if she could. She bites/mouths when it gets too much so we are trying to ease off before it gets to that point and we stop engaging when she bites. She has never scratched before apart from when I have taken her outside and she is terrified.

gwhizz75 Mon 02-Jan-17 21:38:04

I'm not sure if this is what is happening from your description, but wanted to offer my experience of my cat scratching me in the night to see if it fits/helps.

Sometimes if he is under the duvet, it's like he has had a bad dream (or perhaps has heard something that has woken him up) and he jumps then scrabbles and scratches to try and get out from under the covers. He started doing this when we introduced our second cat into the family, at a time when he was a bit stressed and 'on edge'. He doesn't do it as much now but every now and then it happens so I don't let him sleep under the covers any more, as I think this makes him panic when he wakes up suddenly. I've got a couple of pretty nasty scars on my legs from when he has done this - the scratches were very deep but it was a by product of him panicking and struggling to get out, rather than him actually attacking me. Just wanted to share in case it fits with what your cat is doing?

AyeAyeFishyPie Mon 02-Jan-17 21:41:05

Gwhizz - that sounds similar - she has only ever scratched when she is scared or panicked and she has done it trying to get to 'her place' on the pillow. I just need to work out what it is that has upset her.

RubbishMantra Mon 02-Jan-17 21:51:03

Ah, she's so pretty!

gwhizz, sometimes Little M (a Devon Rex) beats up my knees in bed, or sometimes when I do the "hold and roll" move - he likes to sleep facing me and would wake me up by standing on my face otherwise. But always very gently, Devons don't really "do" violence.

gwhizz75 Mon 02-Jan-17 22:01:00

My cat is the same, he never scratches unless it's accidental when we're playing or if he is freaked out by something - He would scramble/scratch if I carried him outside for example, trying to get away. He's a bit of a scaredy cat generally...

I don't really know what it is that upsets him in the night and makes him panic, I always just assume he has had a bad dream as he seems to awaken with a big jump and looks all wide eyed! He seems to settle again after a few seconds, when he realises he is safe.

AyeAyeFishyPie Thu 05-Jan-17 09:19:41

So the scratching - touch wood - has eased off. It has now been replaced by fidgeting, grooming and walking around. She wants more and more of the bed, she wants to sleep on my face, she wakes me up to groom me. She is driving me bananas. But I can't really count this as being naughty can I? I can't send her out for licking? Aaaarrrggghhh I miss undisturbed sleep. .

AyeAyeFishyPie Thu 05-Jan-17 09:34:56

Have absolutely no idea where that email address came from - it should just read aa constant...

123bananas Thu 05-Jan-17 10:00:01

Have you tried a feliway plug in? The new one with the scent that mother cats produce worked really well for my nervous girl when we moved house. My boy cat was also calmer and tried to play fight her less. Just a thought but boy cat sometimes becomes more aggressive with girl cat if another strange cat has been prowling his territory, even if he is inside and hears them outside.

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