We have two 9 month old male cats
. They're littermates and part siamese; the lighter one is colorpointed
, and they have an oriental bone structure and wedge-shaped face. They're both very active and not overweight. They see the vet on a regular basis and are both neutered.
The cats do not and have never shared the bedroom with us due to my husband's allergies. We love them to pieces, but having a hair-free room is very helpful to him. They have never been allowed in the bedroom.
One of them (Murphy) has some annoying behavior at night - he seems to be jumping for the bedroom doorknob at 4 am. We hear claws on the metal knob, then claws on the wood as he falls back down. His claws are trimmed often, so there's no damage to the house - but quite a bit of damage to our sleep! He will also meow at the closed door, but that's much easier to sleep through. It's not a frantic help! meow, but just a normal meow. We try to deter this behavior with a squirt bottle and a firm NO - sometimes he'll stop, and sometimes he will not. This has gone on for at least a month now, and it's driving us crazy.
I suspect it's anxiety related, but I'm not sure. And I don't know what to do if it is.
Possible evidence for this being an anxiety-related issue:
- Both of them want to be near their humans at all times.
- Murphy is slightly more attached to my husband. I wake up first in the mornings, and although the jumping will stop when I'm up, the meowing will not. When my husband is up, Murphy's happy. I try to wait for a lull in his fussing to leave the bedroom.
The only thing I know to try next is to put the vacuum outside the door, and plug it into a power strip in the bedroom and then hitting the switch when he bangs on the door. Unfortunately, we did a similar trick with the hair dryer when he was a kitten (teaching him that getting on the table is bad), and he lost his fear of the hairdryer very soon. He's only wary of the vacuum, not scared, so I don't think that will be effective. And if it is an anxiety issue, would that make it worse?
Double-stick tape has been tried, and doesn't work. The other cat helpfully and carefully removes the tape with his teeth. (wtf!) Murphy is not afraid of balloons, and doesn't mind citrus scents. We also tried keeping him awake and active in the evenings so he sleeps longer in the morning, and that did work for one day. It feels cruel to keep waking him up when he's so sleepy, so we didn't do it again.
Other possibly useful information:
- Feliway doesn't seem to have much effect. I've sprayed the whole bedroom door area, and no change. There is no outlet in that area to plug in a wall unit, so I got the spray.
- They both seem pretty smart. They will open drawers when we're not looking, and seem to learn quite a bit from observation. They're both very good at physical puzzles - "remove this thing I want from this other thing when I can barely reach it" (cardboard box with holes in it and treats/toys inside). I would not be at all surprised to learn that Murphy knows how a doorknob should work.
- Murphy will often act badly (messing with blinds, knocking things off of shelves) when he wants attention. Right now our method of choice for dealing with that is yelling at him to stop, then waiting until he's moved on to something non-destructive, then giving him serious snuggles and ear rubs until he's limp all over and purring madly. After that, he'll settle down and behave.
- When they were kittens, Murphy was Serious Trouble. He was into EVERYTHING! We got them leashes and harnesses just so they could run around outside for a while and burn off some energy. We go for walks about once a week, and they like that. The neighbors like it too. :)
- They have dry food available all the time, and get wet food occasionally in the evenings when they're being super cute.
- There have been no litterbox mishaps.
- The two of them get along very well - Murphy used to be the submissive one when he was a kitten, but now they seem to be on equal footing. They both shove each other out of the way to get choice bits of food, but will take turns playing with the best toys.
What can we do?