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Kitten starts crying in the middle of the night and doesn't stop

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

I have a 11 month old kitten, Seems here recently she's found out, by jumping on the bed at night, pawing and crying (mostly), even biting my girlfriend in the morning hours 2am till 4am, wakes everyone up to feed her. We have our kitten on a strict eating schedule, two (3) including if we feed her to stop her from crying loud. This is the amount we were told by our Vet. 1/3 cups of kitten based food. How can we fix our kitten to where she's not crying for food in the wee hours of the morning?

William Brown


Answer

Thanks for your question. Gosh, I get this question a lot and I agree that this is a frustrating problem. I have dealt with this several times and it is not a quick fit. A well-known behaviorist, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, wrote an article for me on just this topic. It is called "Thwarting the Alarm Clock Kitty". I'm not a behaviorist and asked him to write this so I could give the best advice for my PetPlace.com readers.

I'll give you the link below because he explains the issue really well and gives some very useful tips that have worked for me.

Basically, these are Dr. Dodman's suggestions for dealing with the problem:

  • understand your cat and don't blame her for the way that nature designed her. Have some patience and forbearance as you try to realign her habits.

  • Fit thick, lightproof curtains in your bedroom and hallways so that your whole sleeping area is totally dark at night.

  • Do not respond (in any way) to your cat's dawn-time demands ... ever.

  • Feed your cat twice daily on a set schedule, but do not feed her first thing in the morning.

  • Keep the cat occupied during the day (exercise, games, toys, bring her to your place of work, etc.)

  • Feed your cat her last meal of the day at bedtime, which may help her sleep ("as the blood rushes to her stomach").

  • Get a cat for your cat so that you are no longer her sole source of entertainment.

  • Give your cat the internal-clock-resetting-hormone, melatonin at night to induce a lengthier period of sleep. Consult your veterinarian before giving this or any other medication.

    Here is the article I mentioned – I think you'll find it helpful. Thwarting the Alarm Clock Kitty


    Best of luck!


    Dr. Jon




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