It's yo' cat / It's yo' problem!
February 14, 2013 6:08 AM Subscribe
CatLivingFilter: One of my roommate's two cats has become very attached to me, probably because my roommate (by his own admission) inherited the cat from an ex relationship and never really liked it that much. That's cool--I like cats, and cats like me. What I don't like is that the cat has become so attached that it will yell inconsolably outside my door, scratch at my door, and sometimes even bash
into my door in despair of not being in my room. This has become a major sleep disrupting problem for me. What can I reasonably expect my roommate to do to respond to this situation?
posted by The Sock Puppet Sentience Movement to pets & animals (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've been living with my roommate (with whom I have a very good relationship otherwise) for the past six months and this cat behavior seemed to come fairly out of the blue. The cat (8 or so year old, neutered male) pretty quickly attached to me as my roommate doesn't give it a lot of attention and "I know what cats like" and am generally a cat person (his other cat and I are also very friendly but less so problematically). With what seems like very minimal time and affection given based on my past cat experiences, the cat became "my best friend" and always wants to be with or near me. Which I totally don't mind when I'm awake.
However, as in the main text, it's recently been waking me up constantly over the past two weeks trying to get into my room at odd hours of the morning. I swear to God the little thing gets a running start and bashes into my door. It's bizarre and distressing. It will do this for an hour or more. I grew up with cats and have been around many more and have never run into such an insecurely attached animal in my life. Remembering my basic behaviorism, I have done nothing to reinforce or reward this behavior directly--I have never opened the door as a result of these requests either in day or night time, but this unfortunately doesn't seem to have extinguished the behavior over the course of these two weeks. On the other hand, I fear this may have begun because I started two or three months ago to let the cat sleep with me if it was settled in to my bed when I went to sleep. Surprisingly, the cat does not really disturb at night when in my room--despite its other problems--except to sometimes bother me to let it out to use the litter box, which I am used to and can deal with better. But, then, hours later, I hear the battering ram on my door and the saddest, loudest cat cries you can imagine.
(On the other hand, could this be some sort of cat health issue? But the cat seems normal enough when it gets what it wants).
I have issues with sleep and insomnia already, and this periodic awakening has rendered me unhappy and--increasingly--unhealthy. I've even begun to fantasize about moving out of what is otherwise a very lovely and great living situation. So, this is clearly unsustainable.
What should I ask my roommate to do to help me out? I feel like this is in some way his problem as it is his cat and not mine. He is also somehow completely undisturbed by the cat's incredibly loud noises despite the fact that our rooms are adjacent so I'm pretty sure he hasn't figured out on his own that there's a major issue. I'm not immediately sure what he could do to make the cat stop. But, what comes to mind to help me out would be for him to buy me a super loud alarm clock to be paired with some earplugs. (I've tried using earplugs and they have actually worked well in combination with a white noise phone app, but then I can't hear my phone alarm through the ear plugs). I say this because I would 100% do this or something similar if my roommate was having trouble due to my animals. Is this an OK thing to ask for or discuss? Is there anything else I should discuss with him?
Conversely, Is there anything I should do? I'm considering not letting the cat sleep in my room any more as a first step.