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occicat's avatar

What are some ways to discourage a Maine Coon Cat from waking me up at a set time every day?

Asked by occicat (24points) January 5th, 2015

My Maine Coon Cat repeatedly wakes me up around 2:30am est by sitting upright and scratching the side of my dresser repeatedly. When I wake up, I snap my fingers once and he comes up onto the bed and is extremely cheerful and happy to see me. While it was adorable at first, it has gone on for a month now. I am wondering if anyone has some ideas to discourage this behavior, possibly move the dresser, or play with him more before bed to tire him out for a good night sleep, though cats are nocturnal by nature. I’m open to suggestions.

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7 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Does he have to be in the bedroom in the first place?

BosM's avatar

It seems you’ve unknowingly created a repeatable behavior/pattern with your Coon Cat. These are smart, playful, big cats, don’t let him sleep all day, if possible play with him and tire him out. Get him a harness and go for a walk in the evening. Change where he sleeps and get him a scratching post so he’s not tempted to do damage. It takes time to reshape the behavior so be patient. Good luck!

Cruiser's avatar

You are rewarding your cat with your attention and allowing him to join you in your bed. Cat’s scratch to stretch, mark their territory and manicure their nails. You will need to work on re-directing his scratching with a scratching post and I might suggest one with a platform that he can rest on and call his own special place. Encourage him to scratch during the day by putting toys or catnip on the post.

syz's avatar

A squirt bottle on the bedside table.

Buttonstc's avatar

So far his behavior has gotten him favorable attention from you. You need to change that CONSISTENTLY.

Never play with him when he wakes you ever again. You can try several vigorous play sessions at other times and especially before bedtime.

Each session should last until he’s lying down panting a little to signal he’s had enough. If you do this regularly several times per day it will drain off his excess energy.

@syz also gave a good example of not rewarding his behavior at 2 AM. Hopefully he will dislike getting squirted so much he will stop.

But some cats actually enjoy getting squirted and think it’s a game. If you’ve got one of those, you’ll have to try something else.

I had a few cats over the years who would try the “let’s wake up Mommy” idea. So, I would just calmly pick them up, put them in the bathroom and shut the door and that’s where they stayed. (of course they had a litterbox and a water dish in there with them) until I got up at my regular time.

For some it took longer than others to break them of the habit but CONSISTENCY is the key.

Yes, cats are naturally nocturnal but they are perfectly capable of learning not to expect you to join them. Whatever you do, you cannot reward them positively when they purposely wake you.

They’re smart. As long as you’re consistent with whichever negative consequence (either squirt or isolation) you choose they’ll figure it out.

And, if you haven’t gotten kitty a scratch post yet, that’s the first glaringly obvious thing to do ASAP.

BlackSwanEffect's avatar

Put a rubber seal on its bedroom door, and a rug to cover the gap to the floor. You won’t hear it till you’re ready to!

occicat's avatar

I should have included this earlier however the Maine Coon has three, yes three, multi-tiered scratching posts that are throughout the house. He has a cat wheel which he does not use but his brother does along with over a few dozen different cat toys, which they play with constantly as I find them in different places around the house every day. I have worked to play with him more in an effort to completely wear his energy reserves out and that has also helped.

I have since stopped snapping my fingers and as a result he has only scratched the dresser for a brief moment then ceased. However he still occasionally hops up on the bed and stomps on me to get me up. This is my own doing from when I was snapping my fingers but it’s few and far between.

It’s been some time and he has gradually ceased this behaviour. I also believe that the winter season has contributed to his behaviour as well, a bit of cabin fever.

Thank you all for the suggestions and insight.

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