How to Deal With the Nocturnal Terror That Is Your Cat Without Committing Caticide

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Photo by Cassie Regan

At first I believed my cat must be possessed. She would wake up in the middle of the night calling out to what I could only assume was her ancestors with this guttural cry that sounded like she was reenacting The Exorcist. She would sprint through the house chasing an imaginary mouse and ravenously tear up the carpet, digging to who knows where — likely the underworld, to join her demon friends. One time I caught her playing air hockey, using a dead bug as her puck, and launching it back and forth across the wooden living room floor.

I swear she must be some kind of a vampire-werewolf hybrid that transforms at sunset or with the rise of the moon. In the glorious light of day she is sweet and affectionate and dare I say, mellow. She cuddles up on my lap or on the couch, purring softly and stretching ever so often, basking in the sun rays. But by nightfall, the dark passenger takes over and she becomes an unrecognizable beast.

Trial and Error

I have tried it all. Giving her extra treats or catnip, cleaning the litter box right before bed, and playing with her to wear her out. You name it, I have done it. I even attempted the tried-and-true method of letting her ‘cry it out’. Turns out she has the lung capacity of a blue whale and can, quite literally, meow all night! You know what ended up being the trick solution? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! There was no product to buy, no training technique to practice, and no quick fix to save me from waking nightmare.

I was optimistic however, when one night she seemed to have slept soundly. Unfortunately, it was just my over exhaustion that had knocked me out and I had simply slept through the madness. The carnage of the carpet in the morning was evidence enough that my naivety in thinking it was resolved, was quite wrong. Conclusion — my cat is psychotic and there is no hope on the horizon for a good night’s sleep.

The Epiphany

Like any normal mother would do at the end of her rope, I threw up my hands and accepted a future of endless sleepless nights, reminding myself over and over again, she is my baby and I love her. Yes, those last words were a bit hard to swallow when thinking of the night’s inevitable torture. Then I realized something phenomenal! My cat is just a prissy little diva and the only way for my survival is to give into her insane demands. So I went to work, taking on my new found role as personal assistant to this star of her own late night drama series.

Turns out, she is all about having options. She doesn’t necessarily want said options, but she wants to know they are there. For example, she is over her dry food and prefers wet (not pate, only Delectables’ lickables, which is literally packaged fish bisque). She would however, still like her dry food bowl filled to the brim in case she is in the mood for it. When she does get the sudden craving, she daintily scoops one piece at a time like a queen at high tea consuming a biscuit, being careful not to leave crumbs.

She also refuses to drink water out of her cat bowl, but prefers an oversized bowl that she can dip her paw in and delicately lick the droplets off of it. That bowl needs to be there as an option, but she actually demands bottle service whenever she wants. She will jump on the bathroom counter and meow (as if snapping her fingers at a waiter) to signal that she would like the faucet turned on, at just past dripping, so she has fresh flowing water to quench her thirst.

Resolution

So here I am — weeks later, in a wonderfully demeaning routine of serving my queen. She gets her liquid fish dish every morning and every night, served just as she wakes up and just before bed. The dish is then promptly discarded and cleaned leaving her dining area pristine. Her litter box is cleaned twice daily and her highness has on-demand access to fresh flowing water and dry food filled to the brim whenever she desires.

I don’t fear the night like I used to, since bowing to her will. Although I will get woken up on occasion — when I have accidentally shut a closet door she would like open, or she is thirsty in the middle of the night and her fountain (yes, I bought her a water fountain- eye roll) is not satisfying her and she needs the faucet turned on. But I will take the one-off wake up calls if it saves me from the nightly torment I once endured. Like a newborn baby, I was hoping that this stage would pass with time. Seeing that she is now 8 years old, I feel like that was very wishful thinking.

I don’t want to be cat-mommy shamed for giving into her preposterous demands — but honestly, give me a break. What else am I supposed to do? My advice to anyone facing this dilemma is very simple — Give In!* Bend the knee and just give the beasty what they want and you will be forever grateful you did!

*Caution: In no way should this advice ever be adhered to by human parents or even dog parents — this is a cat exclusive!

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