Tuesday 31 March 2009

Cat Midnight Crazies

I never was a victim of cat midnight crazies until now. For some reason my darling girl cat is waking me up every night like an alarm clock at about 15 minutes past 1 in the morning. It is always the same time.

It is clear to me that she wants me to get involved, to wake up. "Come on you've had enough sleep, now get up you lazy sod!" That is what she is saying if you would like a translation. Her voice becomes ever more insistent. In the end she looks p*ssed off and is almost screaming at me while I mumble back, "I'm coming, I'm coming...". But is the right thing to respond?

Well, the experts say that we shouldn't as that only encourages more of the same. Or they say keep a spray gun by your bed to give her a squirt when she wakes you. Or, lock your cat in a spare room during the night. In the old days people used to put their cats out (outside) and lock the door to keep 'em out. Another technique is to try and calm her down before you go to bed. Yet another method is to tire out your cat about a hour before you go to bed etc.

Personally, I don't believe in these, if I am honest. I see the point and the purpose but we are never going to eliminate what is hard wired into a cat, namely that she or he is a night hunter. Plus our cat is not going to sleep like us, for several hours in one go between certain hours and as a routine. Cats nap in the day and then tend to go in the opposite direction to us at night. We go inside and to bed and the cat does the reverse, gets up, goes out and wanders about.

Despite what we do and all our best efforts we are going to struggle to overcome that lifestyle or train it out of her or him. It took about 5 million years to train into the cat after all. Like all "How to Train Your Cat" ideas and programs it is one more example of trying to get a cat to fit in with out way of life and lifestyle. As a cat is very often a member of the family, we are obliged to treat her that way, I think. And the only way we can do that is to accept it and work around it a bit.

Personally, I just put up with cat midnight crazies. I help her up onto the bed (she is old and can no longer jump up) and she lies next to me for a while and then goes to a different part of the bed and finally off the bed. At which point she has got my interaction and is satisfied until the morning. I don't mind her waking me at about 4:30 am.

I know, though, that I am a cat mad crazy cad. But the principle is the same for all people who live with a cat, which is to find a way to live with her, allowing her, as best we can, to do what is natural. A bit of compromise is called for. We chose to live with a cat not a hybrid person/cat. The cat midnight crazies are crazy to us but normal for our cat.

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