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Advice on stopping cats scratching at the bedroom door in the early hours.

23 replies

KellyElly · 15/05/2013 13:47

I have two cats and at least every other night one or the other scratches for ages at the bedroom door between 4am - 6am. Does anyone have any ideas how to stop this? I give them food before bed and leave dry biscuits out, so it isn't hunger. They are nearly 15 now, so this isn't kitten behaviour! My 3 year old shares my room and they wake her up quite a lot as well, so really need to find a solution. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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cozietoesie · 15/05/2013 13:52

It's not kitten behaviour - but it very well might be elderly cat behaviour. Often, when they get older, they need to be closer to people especially at night when they can get anxious.

Is there any way you can make them up a bed in your room and allow them in with you?

Of course, leaving the door open might also mean that they decide to go and sleep downstairs. Sometimes, cats just hate closed doors - open them and the attraction disappears.

You could also try leaving them some extra wet food out for overnight. (Sometimes, older cats haven't quite got the teeth or the inclination for dry so hunger might just be a factor.)

KellyElly · 15/05/2013 14:02

No because they jump all over us and keep both me and my daughter awake. They may be nearly 15 but maybe because they are house cats they don't act that way - tearing around the house, playing, jumping all over the beds.

We don't have a house we have a one bedroom flat so it's all one level.

I do give them extra wet food as well as biscuits.

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cozietoesie · 15/05/2013 14:20

Difficult one, then. That would have been my main suggestion - and I think that if you allowed it, they would start to settle down after a night or two. (Once the thrill of forbidden territory had worn off. Are they normally allowed in the bedroom when you aren't around?)

Otherwise - as they're housecats, how much do you play with them during the day/evening? Are you around a lot or are they pretty much left to their own devices during the daytime?

KellyElly · 15/05/2013 14:30

They are allowed in the bedroom in the day. I'm only around Monday - Thursday after work but DD/childminder are there when I'm not so they get lots of attention. Years ago before DD they did sleep in the bedroom and still tore round the room at all hours and sat on my head, clawed my hair and attacked my feet etc. They are just naughty and playful by nature! They also claw the carpet/furniture etc (always have done).

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KellyElly · 15/05/2013 14:31

They are like aging rock stars - not growing old gracefully Grin

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lljkk · 15/05/2013 14:48

I used to get up & chuck them outdoors. Surprisingly effective (they dont' do it anymore, at least).

Plan B was to lock them in a specific room for the night.

cozietoesie · 15/05/2013 14:51

I have such a vision of them now, Kelly!


msrisotto · 15/05/2013 14:52

Open the door.

Sorry but it was the answer for mine!

cozietoesie · 15/05/2013 14:59

Trouble is that retraining is not so easy with DD around and needing her kip - otherwise I'd suggest letting them in when they're quiet and putting them out when they're not. It would likely work (even with two 15 year old miscreants) but you'd have a few disturbed nights and one very grumpy 3 year old.

KellyElly · 15/05/2013 15:40

I think I may just have to accept that there is no solution. I may try putting them in the lounge as that's where their food is and move the litter tray and bed in there. It's a massive room. My only worry about that is that I wouldn't have a sofa left, it would be in bits in about a month! Grin

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CrazyOldCatLady · 15/05/2013 15:46

One of ours has started doing this in the last year or so - they're 9. The door is always open but she comes in and sidles around the foot of the bed, shrieking at us. For a very small and dainty cat, she has a startlingly fishwife-like voice. We mostly end up putting her out the ensuite window (onto the kitchen roof, and from there she can reach the garden easily).

gindrinker · 15/05/2013 17:39

The tortie monster comes and sleeps on my pillow at about 4am, then starts poking me with her (cold wet) nose at about 5.15.
I pull the duvet over my head make a breathing hole and go back to sleep.
I work on the if you can't see me I don't exist approach.

lljkk · 15/05/2013 18:52

yes, cats have destroyed our dining chairs! DH is planning to recover.

Maybe at night You could put some cheap throws over your sofa.

cozietoesie · 15/05/2013 18:54

Not sure that's wise, lljkk. Might be better to sacrifice them for the time being and leave the rest of the house intact? (And buy some of those dining room chair slip covers for when guests come calling.)

RandomMess · 15/05/2013 18:55

Ours are shut in a different room overnight, they just accept it now.

TigerSwallowTail · 15/05/2013 18:56

Put some drops of Olbas oil outside the bedroom door. The smell deters some cats so might keep yours away from the door.

Hassled · 15/05/2013 18:57

I shut mine in the kitchen at night for just this reason. They have food, a bed, access to the catflap.

QueenStromba · 15/05/2013 20:16

I came on here to suggest leaving the door open too! Our cat is also 15 and a little trouble maker who has the occasional mad running around the flat moments. She sleeps on the bed with us and is generally good at night, though we did have to deal with a few broken nights sleep when we first go her two months ago. She sometimes wakes us up earlier than we'd like but is normally happy after a bit of a fuss and lets us go back to sleep.

gobbin · 15/05/2013 20:49

Ours sleep in the kitchen in the smallest oval plastic dog beds with fleece pads in from Pets at Home. With the door shut (and locked, because mum cat can open it!)

At nearly 46, I wake up with crumpled 'paper bag face' and a foul mood if my sleep is broken, so a cat (or three!) scratching or leaping about my bedroom just aint happening! It must be like the baby years again. No thanks!

They love their beds, too, so no probs getting them to settle.

eatmydust · 15/05/2013 21:43

My cat does this - he is 4, and not a house cat, although he stays in at night.

It's like something out of a horror movie when they start battering and scratching on the bedroom doors in the middle of the night. The only thing that actually works is to leave a bedroom door open at night. He then rarely bothers to come in the bedroom, think it's a comfort thing.

Would love a better solution though.

marzipanned · 15/05/2013 22:39

I've had this problem with all my cats, both when I was a child and as an adult. The only solution for us has been to shut them away at night.

I wish I could be one of those like cozie who has the cat in bed. I do it every so often and always regret it when I'm woken up for the sixth time that night...

I think I'd go for the living room option if I were you.

KellyElly · 16/05/2013 11:41

TigerSwallowTail I have some olbas oil. That's worth a try.

I wake up with crumpled 'paper bag face' and a foul mood if my sleep is broken, so a cat (or three!) scratching or leaping about my bedroom just aint happening! I am so with you on that!!

Thanks for the suggestions. Olbas oil it is and if that doesn't work the cats are in the living room at night I think.

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VenusRising · 16/05/2013 11:53

I was going to suggest grapefruit oil, rubbed on the bottom of the door.

But I suspect that leaving the door open will deter them. They hate a closed door on principle. "How very dare you", they say!

Make sure they have a heat source where you want them to sleep, so that they can cuddle up and not feel cold.
If its very cold my cat tries to sleep on my neck, so I got a little bed and made a cosy nest for her on the floor, under the bathroom radiator. She was getting cold about three am, but I was a walking zombie when she was a heat seeking missile!

I've had to leave all doors open a little bit, as she yeowls with the outrage of being excluded. I actually think she prowls quite a lot at night as I found her big pink cushion dragged into the living room this morning. It's bigger than she is - would love to install a night time camera to keep track of her.

Cats, eh?

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