I know I'm asking the impossible, and can't believe I'm actually asking this, but I'm at my wits end. How can I train my cat not to knead me to death?
These are my three
furrbabies. The one on the right with the toy has this maddening habit of making bread in my armpit, typically when i'm in bed. Every night. Usually when I'm already asleep. She just wants to be petted (she's an extremely needy cat when it comes to affection) but this really starting to drive me insane. When i'm asleep, it wakes me up. It hurts!! She also does it when i'm just falling asleep, making sleep impossible until she's gotten the pets she has deemed necessary. I keep her claws trimmed, but my armpits are consistently covered in tiny cat-claw pricks. She really only does this at night, and I'll be honest, trying to train a cat when I'm about ready to pass out asleep is not usually my priority in the moment. But something needs to be done.
Things I've tried:
1) telling her a forceful no and ignoring her. She doesn't stop. In fact, she gets more persistant.
2) A high pitched yelp like they make when the play fighting gets too intense. She actually understands she's hurting me right in that moment and stops temporarily, but 60 seconds later she's back.
3) Kick the cats out of the bedroom. Works in that it forcibly stops the undesired behaviour during the banishment, but has the side effect of "punishing" the other two, and now I'm without my other two footwarmers. I can't lock one out and two in, due to litterbox issues and the fact all three would cry to be with their pal(s) on the other side of the door.
4) Shaking a can of pennies - sorta works, causing her to run away for a few minutes, but also freaks out the other two cats (and thank god I sleep alone). I didn't really keep this up long enough to train any behavior.
I haven't tried it yet, but am conteplating using compressed air. I've debated squirting some air at her, but is this safe? I'm also worried about my abilities to do so in a half-awake state.
Obviously, the other cat training tactics don't apply here -- i can't cover my armpit in pepper, or tinfoil (or can I?... hmmm). Body armour maybe? My arm coverings at night are at most usually light, tshirt material and easy penetrable by a determined cat.
The other two cats are actually her kittens. When she was weaning them, where they would knead her to get more milk, she would kick them in the head. I really wish I was flexible enough to duplicate this behavior as it seemed to work for her, but alas i'm not built quite right :)
So - any other ideas? I love my cats, and feel bad discouraging her cuddle instincts, but i'm at my wits end here. My armpits thank you in advance.