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 Post subject: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:01 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:33 pm
Posts: 1
Hi there!
I don’t have specific question, I’m rather seeking general advice and guidance.
My Bengal Ozzie(Oscar), is now 1 years old. He was sold/given to me by a friend who said with three cats in the house she needed to give one up. She said as he’s the youngest she’s going to give him up and that she’s too used to her other 2 cats.

Anyways…He’s lived with us for about 6 months. We’re a new couple living together with a bengal cat, it’s been a journey. I’ve had cats before, I love animals and I love my bengal. He’s super playful, loud, loving and entertaining to say the least.
The issue is, as I’m the one always giving him food and playing with him he always wakes me up with scratches or bites my toes. When I come home he won’t stop meowing. While I know he needs attention, this is getting a bit much. I’ve tried positive reinforcement training, I’ve tried locking him in another room while we go to bed, I’ve tried ignoring him super early wake up calls… nothing seems to work.

He was on schedule with wet food, but now demands it way earlier in the morning. Doesn’t touch my boyfriend, but causes me constant sleepless nights.

What do I do? My boyfriend only offers to give him up, also his previous owner doesn’t want him back, as I thought he might need the company of other cats. I thought maybe he’s just bored, but I don’t think my bf will let me get another cat. I love my Ozzie, and want to do anything to make it work. The main issue is him scratching and biting me at night and meowing at 5-6 in the morning (our neighbor said he hears it).

PS. I do Bengal cat research daily, buy him new toys and gadgets all the time. I got him a harness which he doesn’t mind wearing but refuses to go on our terrace or outside in general.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:13 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:31 am
Posts: 100
Hi
Welcome to the forums. We hope to hear more about Ozzie and perhaps see some pictures too. These kinds of questions are probably best posted in DISCUSSION or TIPS & ADVICE.

My Oberon doesn't usually ask to be fed early, but once in a while he whines and nibbles on my cheek like he did this morning at 4:30 a.m. I ignored him til around 6:30 but even that is too early in my opinion.

He eats a lot. Generally two 5.5oz tins of wet food and 1-3 portions of raw meat every day. When I first got him a year ago, I didn't feed him that much because I couldn't believe a cat could eat that much. Finally I started to feed him more and realized I had been underfeeding him for months. Bengals are very muscular and active and have a higher metabolism than ordinary cats.

You may want to offer some food right before you go to bed so that he has a full tummy for most of the night. You might want to increase the amount you are feeding him too.

I know I plan to give Oberon some extra food before bedtime tonight, so he doesnt' wake us up too early tomorrow morning. 4:30 am wake up calls are no fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:28 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4350
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
I think having a single, young bengal cat is a pretty big commitment. Perhaps it's just too big of a commitment for you.

If you really are committed and serious about making it work, I think what you really have to do is commit to having a pretty structured schedule/routine so that he's getting what he needs, but at the same time you are really firm about not letting him dictate when you wake up, or feed him etc. Cats love routine and will adapt to yours if you stick to it.

If he's demanding breakfast earlier and earlier, that means that you are just teaching him that you react when he makes a sufficient amount of noise! Same thing with waking up to give him attention!

Here's my advice:
1. Pick a time that is convenient for you to feed him in the morning, and stick to that. No exceptions.
2. Once you've prepared the food, you might want to even wait until he's quiet before you deliver it to him. You have to break that scream = food.
3. There can never be a payoff for him waking you up. Otherwise, yea, of course it's just going to get worse.
4. Make a routine where you tire him out (*really* tire him out, make him pant), then feed him dinner right before you go to bed.
5. Decide whether you want him to sleep in the same room as you, and stick to it. If he does get to sleep with you, consider adding a tall tree with a plush cat bed, or some other high perch for him, so at least he has a good alternative to your bed where he bites and scratches you.
6. You can't really blame him for wanting some of your time when you get home. You need to work some time into your early evening routine for him imo.

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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:25 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8801
Welcome to the forum. I am in the same boat you are but my bengal is 11 years old and I've had him for five years now. Bengals are simply VOCAL. Yeah, I thought that meant when I talk with him, he whispers something back. Nope! He yowls. All of my nights are sleepless. He gets me up at least twice a night. I feed him and I try to go back to sleep, but he prefers to yowl and jump up on the bedroom furniture and knock things over and off onto the floor. Eventually, he will tire of my getting out of bed and chasing him through the house and he will come back to bed and go to sleep. Yeah, ignoring that is not going to work as everything will just be on the floor and the noise is really annoying. I'm still missing some items that are obviously now behind the furniture. I have considered moving ALL the furniture OUT of the bedroom, except the bed.

I do play with him before we go to bed. It wears me out, but not him so much! I also feed him before we go to bed, but Raiden is a grazer and eats every couple of hours. He's not into dry food much at all, but I have it out for our other kitty.

I do have a cat wheel for him and he prefers to use it in the middle the night. I cannot shut him out of our bedroom because we have lever door handles and he can open doors in or out.

That being said -- what should you do? Well, you have a bengal! While some bengals are quiet and behave, many do not and are like the ones you and I have. Trust me. I have thought about finding a new home for Raiden, but I know he will aggravate the new owners just as much as he aggravates me and maybe they won't be able to tolerate it the way I do. Some nights at 3 a.m., I just want to strangle him to death!

Okay, now that I've got THAT out of my system! LOL. Brian does offer some good points. However, I have had cats for almost 60 years and every single one of them has gotten me up during the night. When I was a child, they would sleep in my room and want outside in the middle of the night, so I got up and let them out. This is not an option for my bengal. The only restful sleep I've ever gotten is between having a cat.

Jackson Galaxy says it takes two weeks to change a cat's behavior and the best thing is to ignore. It is just difficult with a yowling cat. Try to follow some of Brian's advice and I hope it works for you.

Note: My husband sleeps through all of this.


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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:22 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4350
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Sherry wrote:
Brian does offer some good points. However, I have had cats for almost 60 years and every single one of them has gotten me up during the night.


I've had just the opposite experience. I've never had a cat that learned that screaming at me got them play or cuddles or food during the night, so they have all accepted that. Some might say that I've just never met my match. Perhaps, but I think for the most part it's just very simple conditioning. Establishing an ironclad routine and precedence, and sticking to it. Sure, during the kitten year, my bengals in particular messed around a lot at night. They'd scratch and bite feet and such. All that would happen is my crying out in pain, doing a lot of cussing, and putting them outside my room and shutting the door. No payoff, they stopped doing it.

I had one cat that learned what time my alarm went off, and associated that with breakfast, so sometimes when I forgot to set my alarm, she'd be there to remind me (at the exact time, practically to the minute), tapping my forehead with her paw, or sniffing me right in the face, tickling with whiskers. It was very cute, and sometimes useful, lol. My current cats know that my wakeup times vary a bit, and screaming gets them nowhere when I'm sleeping, but when I walk into the kitchen, that's when all hell breaks loose. That's morning turkey snack time. That's fine, I can live with that, and it's a fun little routine for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8801
Since I got Raiden when he was six years old and he was an outdoor cat, I honestly have no idea what the "routine" was for him back then. My husband will wake up when something comes crashing to the floor. I could probably ignore it, but he gets a little peeved! I hate to leave wet food out all night long for him. It's something I have learned to live with. If I could open the door and let him out (like I do with the other kitty), it would be so much easier, however, he would never return since he goes looking for neighborhood cats to fight with and he's gotta injured numerous times with his previous owner.

I would shut Raiden off in another part of the house if I actually had a place. The bedrooms are all together in one end of the house and there are no other doors on the other side of the house except for the half bath upstairs and that's way too small for him.


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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:36 pm 
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Senior Bengal
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:31 pm
Posts: 63
Mine used to be up at all hours of the night and do the wake up I want to play cries right as we went to bed, but for the most part comes and sleeps with us now ( either my Wife and I, or my Son if he left his door open ). She's grown somewhat used to us being around and tends to rarely want to be on a floor without humans. I can however screw her schedule up if I decide to stay up until 3am because she will definitely expect that for the next few nights ( usually plays with everything she can get into, especially knocking things into the bathtub ).

Your mileage will definitely vary, no 2 cats are the same, but I've not had a cat that didn't come sleep with us at night after a few months of not giving in. Remember tho, cats are creatures of habit, if they make noise and you get up, they will make noise. If you sleep right through, they figure out that doesn't work. So even if the cat wakes you up, pretend you are still sleeping and don't respond because that's what they're looking for.

Like Brian tho, mine learned exactly when my alarm goes off and I often wake up seeing her face right in front of me, if I decide to ignore the alarm for a few minutes she starts licking my face. I find that comical tho and she's technically right that I should get out of bed.


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 Post subject: Re: Sleepless Nights
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8801
Ahh, retirement means no alarms go off! LOL. Raiden will eventually come back to bed and sleep at my feet for a few hours before he gets me up again.


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