View Full Version : need a little more Cat Parenting advice...

Tiger Girl
September 22nd 04, 12:54 PM

You guys (especially kaeli) have given me such great advice
before...it's all worked, really well. Now we're entering Phase 3, I

For those who didn't catch it earlier, I'm going through the
transition from having an elderly, clingy, and very mild cat to having
the cat equivalent of a 2-year old child. I adopted Buster from the
shelter last month. As far as we can tell, he went stray (no one
knows why, there isn't much evidence that he was physically abused
[beaten or kicked] other than to wind up having to live on his own -
no small thing) before he turned 1. He seems to have spent last
winter living off the land, as it were - in Wisconsin, no less - so
this guy is a SURVIVOR. Last spring he was picked up after he got hit
by a car, had major Vet Foo Patch Up Work, spent months in foster
care, etc. and has now come home to live with me. He doesn't have
ongoing medical problems and is remarkably well-socialized for a cat
that has been through what he has. Earlier posts had to do with his
tendency to engage in very aggressive and occasionally inappropriate
play behaviors.

....so I have determined that the "wait til I'm watching, then flatten
down and flee under the bed as if having seen The Scariest Thing In
The World" thing he does is actually an invitation to play. If I can,
I do. If I'm busy or out the door on the way to work, he has to wait.
We're still going through the feather-toys at the rate of one per
week, but I cut a deal with the pet supply store to supply them to us
in bulk.

If I shriek at him when he starts in with the groom, groom, groom,
pounce, wrestle, and chew stuff on my arm, he'll stop. Also, I
recognize when he's near his limits of Good Behavior, and try to leave
him scrupulously alone until he gets it back under control, or (if
possible) I bring out the feather-toy and let him attack that for a
while. So that advice has been great.

Now he's learning to be affectionate. He comes after me to get
petted, not just to play. Last night he crawled onto my lap and went
to sleep (a first!). He wants to sleep with me, too, which is great
with me for the most part. He's definitely got the sweet cuddly side,
and this is what I want to really encourage since I got him for

So here's the problem. He comes in at bedtime and curls up against me
and goes to sleep. Until 5 or 6 am, when he wakes up. And, being
Buster, being awake means it's PLAYTIME, baby! He wakes up, moves
next to my face, and then uses it (my face) to stretch his paws over.
Then he starts licking me - and it doesn't go anywhere good from
there... the grooming is clearly some kind of precursor to Trouble.

The other morning (soon after he started getting cuddly) he tried
beating up my arm while I was asleep. I howled and rolled over. So
he attached himself to the back of my head - groom, groom on my hair,
followed by the unmistakeable feeling of him trying to grab my head,
pull it in, and beat it up. I dislodged him and pulled the covers
over my head, which was evidently a signal to play Blanket Mice.

This has gone on for several mornings, and I'm afraid it's starting to
develop a pattern. I know that the most effective thing to do when
he's got Extra Play Energy is to play with him, but I need my sleep,
dang it. I can't be getting up in the middle of the night to play
with the feather toy. He's got tons of other toys and likes them, but
none so neat as my leg, my arm, my ear, my face, my head. He starts
this stuff up in the early morning, and so far it's been disruptive
enough that I've wound up getting up an hour or two early. I don't
play with him or feed him when I get up like that because I don't want
to reinforce this arrangement. He gets fed and played with on his
normal schedule, as if I haven't been up for a couple of hours.

Is this a phase and he'll grow out of it? Do I need to make him stop
sleeping with me? I hope not, because 80% of the night he's really
great (and this issue is a recent development). What I'm doing now is
trying to ignore him, and if that fails, I eject him from the Nest.
I'd like to get to some phase where my sleep is not interrupted by the
pat-pat-pat of attacking little paws on my body. Any ideas?



the wharf rat
September 22nd 04, 02:54 PM
In article >,
Tiger Girl > wrote:
>Is this a phase and he'll grow out of it


Well, probably :-)

the wharf rat
September 22nd 04, 02:54 PM
In article >,
Tiger Girl > wrote:
>Is this a phase and he'll grow out of it


Well, probably :-)