Attention Seeking Cat Brandy :/

by Deniz
(Bromley, Kent, England)

We have a cat named Brandy who is now 5 years old. I have had her since birth. She lived with me before in my mother's house, then I moved out 6 months ago to live with my partner and she came to live with us. She is a lot happier here as she has a big garden to play in, I have never seen her this happy before, but...

We feed her in the mornings as soon as we wake up around 7.30. At first we had no problems, but the last 3 or 4 months she has been jumping on my head to wake me up in the mornings, and scratching in the litter to get my attention, and recently she has been tipping over our bin. All of this is so I wake up and feed her... she does this even if there is still dry food left in her bowl, as there usually is, because I fill it up throughout the day.

I wondered if there was anything I could do to stop her because she doesnt stop until I am awake. In the last 2 weeks I've got up, fed her, come back upstairs and the bin has been tipped over again so she is doing it for no reason now!

Any advice you could give me I would be very grateful. Thanx, Deniz

Reply from Liz (Editor): You have got a clever little kitty there, and I think you're absolutely right, her cat behavior is attention seeking... and she's pushing the boundaries further and further to see just how much she can get away with!

She's now got into a routine with this behavior, and you need to break it - basically by getting her to understand that these actions will not get her the result she wants.

A good start would be to move the bin into a room where she can't get at it overnight. I know this is a bit of a pain, but it needn't be a long term thing, it's only until she's broken the habit.

Alternatively, can you get a couple of bricks or something similar to put in the bottom of the bin so she can no longer tip it? If she can't do it any more, she'll get bored with it and should stop trying.

You mention you have dry food out for her during the day - I'd fill it up enough overnight to last until the morning - then at least you know for sure she's not waking you up at the crack of dawn because she's really hungry.

When she jumps on your head in the morning, say "no" to her firmly, pick her up, put her out of the room and shut the door. Don't pet her or give her any other attention at this point. She'll likely meow and scrabble at the door for a while, but don't let her back in. Resist getting up until 7.30, then go downstairs and feed her.

If you stick to this - and most importantly don't be tempted to give in, even occasionally, or she'll get mixed messages - it shouldn't be too long before she realizes she won't get fed until you are ready to get up and she should change her behavior accordingly.

When she does start to behave better and waits for you to get up, give her lots of positive attention and fuss when you do go down to feed her. This will reinforce to her that if she waits, the result is well worth it.

Thank you for your question and best of luck.

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