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Old June 12th, 2012, 02:46 PM
OtisIsMyCat OtisIsMyCat is offline
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won't. stop. meowing. at. 4AM!!

Otis will be 13 years old this month. I've had him since he was three months old. He has never had any health issues of any kind.

In the last three years he and Marshall (same age, unrelated) have been meowing outside my bedroom door. Early on it would start around 6:45AM when my alarm would go off. They'd meow until I got up to feed them which would be about half an hour later after hitting snooze a few times so it wasn't so bad.

In the last year and a half I've been living with my boyfriend and due to his allergies, the cats can't sleep in our bedroom. Before, when I lived on my own, I'd let them sleep with me every once and a while.

Lately, Otis had been getting up around 5AM and meowing/meowling outside our bedroom door. He would never go back to sleep after waking and could easily sit outside and meow for the next three hours straight, never taking a break.

I've tried spraying him with water but he just takes it and continues to purr then runs to his food dish to wait for food. I used to give in and feed them because it was the only way I could get back to sleep but I've stopped doing this because I don't want Otis to associate me with his meowing and then me getting up.

Sometimes he will "beat up" Marshall outside our bedroom door. Marshall would growl at him and often Otis would pounce right on him so that their bodies are literally wrestling against the door. It could go on for quite some time as Otis can be relentless, even if Marshall is able to escape I can hear the wrestling match carry on down the hall. The minute I'd get up to break up the fight, Marshall would take cover somewhere and Otis would just run right to his food bowl.

I've tried leaving heaps of food in their dish before bed but it's just eaten within a couple of hours anyway.

I bought a food timer that I set to open at 5:AM but Otis is smart enough to know what's in there and actually figured out how to get the tray out even while the timed flaps are locked shut. I don't know how he does it but if he wasn't meowing outside our door, he's slamming the dishes against the wall, down the hardwood floor. I once found them up against the coat rack by the front door? So then, I bought a rubber mat that prevented the dishes from sliding around and would secure them on carpet between two dining room chairs. So, even if Otis was trying to break into them, I couldn't hear the banging of them against the wall or being pushed down the hallway.

Otis now rises at 4:00AM like clockwork. Sometimes it's actually bang on at 4:11AM for days on end. And he'll sit, outside our door and meow non-stop. It feels like torture for me. It feels like I'm becoming sleep deprived. It would be one thing if he'd meow a couple of times, give up, and go back to sleep but he doesn't stop. It's incessant and it can easily go on for several hours.

I've tried a pheromone collar which worked one night and even then he might have been silent because he was despondent over something foreign being around his neck. The next night he was back to meowing outside our door at an ungodly hour.

Three days ago I took Otis to the vet as I'd read that meowling in the middle of the night can be attributed to thyroid problems, or other health issues but his check came back normal. He had temperature, bloodwork, and urinanalysis and all were clear. Not even subtle abnormalities. His teeth are also fine.

The vet prescribed him 5mg of Valium which he broke in half. I am to give Otis half a pill every night before bed. Last night was day two. On the first night he was meowling at 2:30AM (two hours earlier than normal!!) however, luckily this stopped for a couple of hours but he was still up at his usual 4AM time meowing outside our door. Last night, same thing. Nothing's changed.

I wonder if perhaps if I give him the dose at 9:30/10:00PM when I usually go to bed that by 4:00AM - 6 hours later - the Valium might be worn off by then. So, tonight I will try to go to bed but set my alarm at midnight to give him the pill then. I called the vet as well to ask if perhaps I can give him a full tab instead of half.

Outside of this I am reaching out to anyone who is experiencing/has experienced this in their cat. I am at the stage of complete helplessness and can't imagine having to go through this every single morning for the next however many years of his life. I even consider popping the Valium myself!! And I'm not a prescription pill taker!!

I know that it may have to do with jealousy, or feeling like he wants my affection but I go out of my way to lavish him with attention before we all go to bed. We all do. On the weeks when my boyfriends kids are here the cats will cuddle with us on the sofa while we watch our shows. It's only really during the night time when Otis is without human contact. I just can't let him sleep in our bed because then my boyfriend's allergies are awful.

Is there anything I can try that I've missed? Please. I am desperate.
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  #2  
Old June 12th, 2012, 05:12 PM
sugarcatmom's Avatar
sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Oh boy, I thought I had it bad! I feel your pain. Although I have to question the wisdom of the vet prescribing Valium in this situation since it's actually an appetite stimulant.

How much exercise does Otis get? Do you think if you were to tire him out (or as much as would be considered safe for a 13 yr old) with a boisterous play session just before bed, that might help?

Instead of the pheromone collar, you could try a Feliway pheromone diffuser or 2 around the house.

I'm not usually a fan of adversives, but you might have to resort to something like SSSCat Cat Repellant for the time being. It emits a pssst of air when a cat enters within the range of the motion detector, scaring (but otherwise not harming) the cat. You could place one outside your bedroom door when you go to bed.

Perhaps earplugs are an option? That combined with 100% adherence to NOT getting up when Otis cries, no matter how persistent he is, should eventually extinguish his behaviour. But it takes only one time of giving in to reinforce it exponentially. Kinda like someone playing slots at the casino.

I wish you luck!! 2 of my 4 cats are early risers, and I don't have a bedroom door to close.
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  #3  
Old June 12th, 2012, 07:37 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtisIsMyCat View Post
Otis will be 13 years old this month. I've had him since he was three months old. He has never had any health issues of any kind.

In the last three years he and Marshall (same age, unrelated) have been meowing outside my bedroom door. Early on it would start around 6:45AM when my alarm would go off. They'd meow until I got up to feed them which would be about half an hour later after hitting snooze a few times so it wasn't so bad.

In the last year and a half I've been living with my boyfriend and due to his allergies, the cats can't sleep in our bedroom. Before, when I lived on my own, I'd let them sleep with me every once and a while.

Lately, Otis had been getting up around 5AM and meowing/meowling outside our bedroom door. He would never go back to sleep after waking and could easily sit outside and meow for the next three hours straight, never taking a break.

I've tried spraying him with water but he just takes it and continues to purr then runs to his food dish to wait for food. I used to give in and feed them because it was the only way I could get back to sleep but I've stopped doing this because I don't want Otis to associate me with his meowing and then me getting up.

Sometimes he will "beat up" Marshall outside our bedroom door. Marshall would growl at him and often Otis would pounce right on him so that their bodies are literally wrestling against the door. It could go on for quite some time as Otis can be relentless, even if Marshall is able to escape I can hear the wrestling match carry on down the hall. The minute I'd get up to break up the fight, Marshall would take cover somewhere and Otis would just run right to his food bowl.

I've tried leaving heaps of food in their dish before bed but it's just eaten within a couple of hours anyway.

I bought a food timer that I set to open at 5:AM but Otis is smart enough to know what's in there and actually figured out how to get the tray out even while the timed flaps are locked shut. I don't know how he does it but if he wasn't meowing outside our door, he's slamming the dishes against the wall, down the hardwood floor. I once found them up against the coat rack by the front door? So then, I bought a rubber mat that prevented the dishes from sliding around and would secure them on carpet between two dining room chairs. So, even if Otis was trying to break into them, I couldn't hear the banging of them against the wall or being pushed down the hallway.

Otis now rises at 4:00AM like clockwork. Sometimes it's actually bang on at 4:11AM for days on end. And he'll sit, outside our door and meow non-stop. It feels like torture for me. It feels like I'm becoming sleep deprived. It would be one thing if he'd meow a couple of times, give up, and go back to sleep but he doesn't stop. It's incessant and it can easily go on for several hours.

I've tried a pheromone collar which worked one night and even then he might have been silent because he was despondent over something foreign being around his neck. The next night he was back to meowing outside our door at an ungodly hour.

Three days ago I took Otis to the vet as I'd read that meowling in the middle of the night can be attributed to thyroid problems, or other health issues but his check came back normal. He had temperature, bloodwork, and urinanalysis and all were clear. Not even subtle abnormalities. His teeth are also fine.

The vet prescribed him 5mg of Valium which he broke in half. I am to give Otis half a pill every night before bed. Last night was day two. On the first night he was meowling at 2:30AM (two hours earlier than normal!!) however, luckily this stopped for a couple of hours but he was still up at his usual 4AM time meowing outside our door. Last night, same thing. Nothing's changed.

I wonder if perhaps if I give him the dose at 9:30/10:00PM when I usually go to bed that by 4:00AM - 6 hours later - the Valium might be worn off by then. So, tonight I will try to go to bed but set my alarm at midnight to give him the pill then. I called the vet as well to ask if perhaps I can give him a full tab instead of half.

Outside of this I am reaching out to anyone who is experiencing/has experienced this in their cat. I am at the stage of complete helplessness and can't imagine having to go through this every single morning for the next however many years of his life. I even consider popping the Valium myself!! And I'm not a prescription pill taker!!

I know that it may have to do with jealousy, or feeling like he wants my affection but I go out of my way to lavish him with attention before we all go to bed. We all do. On the weeks when my boyfriends kids are here the cats will cuddle with us on the sofa while we watch our shows. It's only really during the night time when Otis is without human contact. I just can't let him sleep in our bed because then my boyfriend's allergies are awful.

Is there anything I can try that I've missed? Please. I am desperate.
Would it help to let Otis have one of your old top to sleep with? Maybe if he had something that smelled like you he would not miss you so much. I had to LOL about Otis taking the cat food out of the food timer. It's too bad you could not record that. I have agree it sound like he is very jealous of your boyfriend.
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  #4  
Old June 12th, 2012, 07:39 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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Join Date: May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Oh boy, I thought I had it bad! I feel your pain. Although I have to question the wisdom of the vet prescribing Valium in this situation since it's actually an appetite stimulant.

How much exercise does Otis get? Do you think if you were to tire him out (or as much as would be considered safe for a 13 yr old) with a boisterous play session just before bed, that might help?

Instead of the pheromone collar, you could try a Feliway pheromone diffuser or 2 around the house.

I'm not usually a fan of adversives, but you might have to resort to something like SSSCat Cat Repellant for the time being. It emits a pssst of air when a cat enters within the range of the motion detector, scaring (but otherwise not harming) the cat. You could place one outside your bedroom door when you go to bed.

Perhaps earplugs are an option? That combined with 100% adherence to NOT getting up when Otis cries, no matter how persistent he is, should eventually extinguish his behaviour. But it takes only one time of giving in to reinforce it exponentially. Kinda like someone playing slots at the casino.

I wish you luck!! 2 of my 4 cats are early risers, and I don't have a bedroom door to close.
Could you put in one of those wooden folding door to keep the cats out of your bedroom?
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  #5  
Old June 13th, 2012, 01:57 PM
OtisIsMyCat OtisIsMyCat is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Just a little update. I called my vet after posting this frenzied mess above and told him that the Valium was doing nothing. He told me it was okay to up the dose to a full pill rather than half.

Re: The Valium, I too wondered about the appetite stimulant and wondered why he was prescribing Otis that when the issue really seems to be that he wants food. But, I was just so desperate. I'm wondering now if there are such things as sleeping pills for cats.

Last night I tried something different before I upped Otis' dose. I didn't give him any Valium at all but instead loaded his food dish with a heaping amount of wet cat food. I feed them the Evo Ancestral diet so I know it's got all the good stuff and protein that will actually stay in his tummy. He went in to the heap with fervor while I brushed my teeth and readied for bed until he eventually reached this threshold and walked away from the bowl to pass out on the sofa.

In the middle of the night I went to the washroom but checked the dishes and there was still a substantial amount of food left. Miraculously, come 6AM I woke naturally and realised that Otis had not come to meow at our door! I hadn't heard a peep out of him. He was still fast asleep! I didn't hear from him until 6:30 when my BF got up out of bed.

I have not had a straight, meow-free sleep in months and I nearly cried from happiness.

I'm going to have to regulate the amount of food I give them for their "real" dinners and breakfast so that the majority of their meal comes in the form of their nighttime snack. I'll figure it out as I go. Otis is only the most hungry at 4:00AM, so if that's going to be when his breakfast is, then so be it.

Thanks so much for your responses and thoughts.

I'll keep you posted.
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  #6  
Old June 13th, 2012, 09:58 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtisIsMyCat View Post
Just a little update. I called my vet after posting this frenzied mess above and told him that the Valium was doing nothing. He told me it was okay to up the dose to a full pill rather than half.

Re: The Valium, I too wondered about the appetite stimulant and wondered why he was prescribing Otis that when the issue really seems to be that he wants food. But, I was just so desperate. I'm wondering now if there are such things as sleeping pills for cats.

Last night I tried something different before I upped Otis' dose. I didn't give him any Valium at all but instead loaded his food dish with a heaping amount of wet cat food. I feed them the Evo Ancestral diet so I know it's got all the good stuff and protein that will actually stay in his tummy. He went in to the heap with fervor while I brushed my teeth and readied for bed until he eventually reached this threshold and walked away from the bowl to pass out on the sofa.

In the middle of the night I went to the washroom but checked the dishes and there was still a substantial amount of food left. Miraculously, come 6AM I woke naturally and realised that Otis had not come to meow at our door! I hadn't heard a peep out of him. He was still fast asleep! I didn't hear from him until 6:30 when my BF got up out of bed.

I have not had a straight, meow-free sleep in months and I nearly cried from happiness.

I'm going to have to regulate the amount of food I give them for their "real" dinners and breakfast so that the majority of their meal comes in the form of their nighttime snack. I'll figure it out as I go. Otis is only the most hungry at 4:00AM, so if that's going to be when his breakfast is, then so be it.

Thanks so much for your responses and thoughts.

I'll keep you posted.
My small dog will take a long nap after he eat a good meal. And I will give him a good size dog cookie before I go to bed , he can eat that if he get hungry in the middle of the night. That is great you finally got some sleep!
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  #7  
Old June 14th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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ownedbycats ownedbycats is offline
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I'm glad you found a solution that makes both you and Otis happy, and doesn't leave you sleep deprived.
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