Total wreck here

Our cat has reached new heights of obnoxious behavior. She is not the kind of cat who curls contentedly at the foot of the bed and lets us all sleep peacefully — no, she goes into bouts of antic behavior, rooting about, jumping on things, deciding to rearrange our closets. So she’s not allowed in the bedroom. Her new discovery is that she can get our attention at all hours of the night by scratching at our door and hurling herself at it, effectively pounding on it to wake us up. All night long. I would start to fall asleep and then … scratch, scratch, pound, pound, and I’d yell at her to make her go away, and then she’d start up again as soon as I began to drift off to sleep.

Today I am bleary-eyed and crankier than usual, barely able to think straight. Fortunately, today is an exam day so I don’t need to think or speak much, but this evil psycho cat is going to drive me mad.

Our next solution is to confine her to the kitchen at night, keeping her 10 or 15 feet away from our bedroom door, so she’ll really have to figure out how to make a ruckus loud enough to be heard. I anticipate that we’ll be awakened by the sound of crashing glassware. Or that she’ll figure out how to use a butcher knife.

I don’t care anymore. I welcome the sleep of oblivion.

Hey, why do people freak out at the sight of spiders, but get all melty goo-goo eyes at the sight of a kitty? Those responses ought to be reversed.

I was just sent a link to this extraordinarily appropriate song.

Take me back to giant spider mountain,
Where the zombie goblins, are toiling in the sun,
Take me back to giant spider mountain,
And let me join the zombies when I’m done,
When I’m done, when I’m done,
Let me join the zombies when I’m done,
When I’m done, when I’m done,
Let me join the zombies when I’m done

I’m already there!


  1. aspleen says

    I would advise you to talk with someone who knows something about cat behavior. Basically, you need to find out what things the cat likes to do that you’re o.k. with and reward that, and find ways to discourage undesirable behavior. Just shutting the cat out of your life is going to alienate your cat and lead to more destructive behavior, if for no other reason than to get your attention. Cats are social animals too.

  2. marcoli says

    Hate to tell you, but the solution is to get a 2nd cat. Once acclimated, they will play with each other and not need you for attention so much.

  3. aspleen says


    Maybe, but maybe not on a second cat. You need to be very careful when introducing another cat into the household and it doesn’t help when the current cat in the house is already stressed.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Our next solution is to confine her to the kitchen at night, keeping her 10 or 15 feet away from our bedroom door, so she’ll really have to figure out how to make a ruckus loud enough to be heard. I anticipate that we’ll be awakened by the sound of crashing glassware. Or that she’ll figure out how to use a butcher knife.

    And I’d put up with all of that just have any one of my late kitties curled up next to me, purring.

  5. doubter says

    I was downstairs watching TV last night, and my cat was in a very playful mood. Suddenly, I heard a loud crashing noise from upstairs. It was like an orchestra cymbal, so something large and metal had hit the floor. I assumed it was a baking pan. The cat started meowing frantically and raced downstairs. I found her hiding behind an ottoman, ears back and pupils fully dilated. I went upstairs to see what she’d broken.

    I found…nothing. I methodically searched every room in my house, and I cannot find what she knocked over. It’s maddening! Did she pick it up again after she knocked it over? Is she hiding opposable thumbs? Help!

  6. stroppy says

    Heh, my last cat discovered that he could get attention by flapping door levers. It made an amazing racket. Cats love boxes but they hate closed doors.

    In all seriousness, if your cat is still constantly throwing up, she’s probably pretty uncomfortable which would exacerbate the agitation.

  7. gregsneakel says

    Dogs will be affectionate to anyone.
    Cats love is earned.
    They should have a tv show to teach humans how to deal.with cats.
    Oh…. wait…

  8. aspleen says


    Jackson Galaxy’s show My Cat From Hell is highly recommended. He’s very good when it comes to cat behavior and fixing problems with difficult cats.

  9. davidc1 says

    “Spiders don’t purr ” or “I Love The Smell Of Cat Nip In The Morning “.
    @9 Started to watch that once ,the guy sounded like a nutcase .

  10. weylguy says

    In his short story The Small Assassin, Ray Bradbury had the perfect solution to cute but malevolent cats:

    “See baby? Something bright! Something Pretty!” A scalpel.

  11. Doc Bill says

    Confining a cat will only make it worse. What you should do is set up a cot in the kitchen for yourself and let the cat have the rest of the house.

  12. says

    A second cat is out of the question. Another symptom of this cat’s psychosis is extreme paranoia: she hates everyone and everything, other than the two people who give her food and warmth. If we brought another animal in here, there would be blood.

  13. davidc1 says

    @13 The only bit i saw was when he told someone the spirit of his former cat was affecting his present cat’s behaviour .
    Sounds nutty to me .To be fair to him and you i will try and watch some more of him .

  14. aspleen says


    I’ll bet your cat has something else it likes besides food and warmth, but even if not at least you can work with the food. One suggestion I can think of is to try pheromones to help calm your cat and encourage desired behaviors or at least make things like scratch pads something that can help ease stress.

    What Are Cat Pheromones?

  15. microraptor says

    davidc1 @17: I watched the show pretty regularly when it first came on and don’t remember him selling the woo like that (in sharp contrast to Cesar Millan). Most of what he was doing seemed to be extremely solid. Though give that the Discovery family seems to like putting in stupid stuff about ghosts and other paranormal junk into their shows I can see how the show might have been driven in that direction.

    If the situation is really problematic, there might be a professional feline behavior expert who can be consulted in the area.

  16. wzrd1 says

    Try leaving a handful of ping pong balls laying about. Cats love to bat them, then chase them. Of course, then you eventually end up with most, if not all balls under the sofa or refrigerator.
    But then, range of motion exercises are good for the body. Hell on the knees getting back up again, but good for the body, as old knees are decidedly no longer wanting to be part of the ramshackle mess that is an aging body.

    We used to secure all fragile items in the kitchen, then let the cat run their silly little heads off at night.
    As for introducing a new cat, that is to be done in stages, with the senior cat growing accustomed to a new cat’s odor in the building, then after a week or two, gradual brief introductions, then increase introduction time as is tolerated.
    I also set up narrow shelves, enough for the cat to run on and lay on and supervise from altitude. A bit of A grade plywood, cut to 6 – 8″ for the run and any carpet remnants that you can find that match the decor of the room, add a jump level where the room permits and one doesn’t create a head knock problem and a ramp to get up and down at opposite ends of a room.

  17. magistramarla says

    I’ve had cats in my life since I was a baby, and it’s hard for me to imagine life without them.
    That being said, we’ve had our share of problem cats over the years. I agree with the person who suggested cat pheromones. These are readily available at your local pet supply store. A calming collar is great, if she’ll accept it. You can also buy the pheromone spray, and I’ve also found it in a plug-in diffuser.
    My husband plays with the cats while I brush my teeth and get ready for bed. He has a variety of laser toys and cat toys with with strings and feathers. Sometimes Dax even joins in. He’s a fourteen year old Maine Coon who literally has thumbs. He’s poly-dactyl and has 7 toes on each front paw and six on each back paw. When he holds onto a toy, it’s difficult to take it away from him.
    They have become so accustomed to playtime that if my husband forgets it and goes straight to bed, we will hear my Lynx Point Siamese, Princess Leia, meowing outside of our door for a few minutes. We ignore her, and soon we can hear them chasing each other and their toys. They have gotten fairly skilled at doing their own playtime.
    We’ve found that lots of toys and scratching posts can solve or prevent lots of problems with our cats. The toys keep their minds active and the scratching posts deter them from scratching furniture. Even Gigi, our three legged, partly feral cat has calmed down and understands the manners required to be a house-cat, even though she is still very distrusting.
    Cats can be a joyful part of your family, PZ. Try giving her some love and attention each day at a time that feels appropriate to you. If all else fails, as others have suggested, talk to your vet about finding a cat behavior specialist.

  18. livingdeadgrrl says

    what worked for me: a water spray bottle which i used and also left in front of the bedroom door as a visual reminder. in addition, place a layer of tin foil on the floor in front of the door, as they don’t like to walk on it. it’ll still probably take a few frustrating and sleepless nights, but the cat will be happier than if you try confining it during the time it wants to be active. best of luck!

  19. dianneleonard says

    As a long-time cat, umm, owner I have to agree with the readers suggesting you consult with a cat behaviorist. Every cat has its own personality, and you’ve got to work with that. Your cat isn’t being intentionally destructive. Something in her health or environment is causing her to act destructively and keep you awake. The cat behaviorist can make suggestions, based on his or her observation of the cat and your home, about what to do to calm this unacceptable behavior. Just to be sure, I’d also suggest you take her to the vet and make sure there isn’t anything physically wrong. In my youth, I had a cat that was mostly deaf–and I didn’t know that that was causing some anti-social behavior. Your cat’s vet might be able to suggest a cat behaviorist that the vet works with. This is ingrained behavior, so don’t expect an overnight fix. Changing will take a while. But don’t treat your cat as “bad”–she’s not a bad cat. She’s a cat who can be worked with. Good luck.

  20. says

    My late cat was just like this.

    Getting a second cat did not help — poor now-deceased kitty would still howl and bang at doors — and his voice was loud. The only thing which might have shut him up would have been to let him into the bedroom, and that was out of the question on multiple grounds. (Primarily because despite loving cats, I have a mild cat allergy which can only be made tolerable by not having cats in the bedroom, but there were other good reasons as well.)

    Yelling did not stop him for more than a couple of minutes at the outside, and going out to check on him always resulted in him being just outside the door looking up anxiously for attention, and/or trying to dash into the bedroom areas, where he would immediately dash under the bed and have to be dragged out.

    Playing with him did not help, either — he would play until he got tired out or bored of the game, refuse to keep going, and be back to his energetic self three minutes later.

    Adding a second door to the hallway on the other side of the bedroom door, which kept him 10 feet away from the bedroom door, meant that his noises were quiet enough to be ignored with the help of a white noise machine. (Since I have loud neighbors anyway, I already had the machine, but you can get white noise tracks for your phone to play on a loop if you need it.)

    My cat also developed frequent throwing-up during the last few years of his life. He lived to be over the median age of death for male indoor-only cats, but not by much. I do not know whether he died younger than he might have if I had realized that all of the vomiting was him and not the second cat (unfairly blamed for it; second cat is still alive and going strong, and suddenly stopped showing signs of stress when first cat died), nor do I know whether it was connected to the kidney failure which eventually killed him, but a vet might be able to help you.

    Still miss him, though. Poor little boy, he was a beautiful, friendly cat, and despite some of his habits, a good little boy.

  21. publicola says

    I have no use for pets. Unfortunately, my wife has a cat. If it were me, I would get rid of it. Put a notice on Craig’s list or some similar venue and give it to someone who has the knowledge and patience to deal with it. Or maybe you know somebody with a boa constrictor that needs feeding.

  22. rpjohnston says

    My roommate’s cat did the same thing. Not as animated and not bodyslamming things, but the damn thing could HOWL. and it was persistent and would never shut up, whether I let it in or out of my bedroom.

  23. cedrus says

    My furry little security deposit eaters do the same. If you let them into the bedroom, you’re guaranteed to be awakened at 3 am by something gnawing on your foot. If you lock them out, they will scratch and howl at the door all night long.

    I purchased a ‘Ssscat’ device, which sends out a hiss of compressed air whenever it detects a thermal signature (e.g. a nearby cat). It’s been great. The cats understand that doors can be opened by humans, and that one can summon a human by making a racket. They don’t seem to realize that humans could defeat the scary, hissing can-monster. When the monster appears in front of the bedroom door, the cats quietly avoid the area.

    Don’t bother with the overpriced refills, by the way; ordinary compressed air is fine.

  24. voidhawk says

    Cats are more active at night. I don’t know how they’d deal with the Minnesota winter, but we just let our cat out at night to hunt and do whatever it is that cats do with themselves.