The title to this article is really a question about how to fix a cat behavior problem. This is what she wrote:
“she’s four now, and i’ve had her for two years. she was fairly bite-y when i got her (though she never scratched) but over the years she’s become much sweeter. she’s still picky about her interactions but will cuddle even with strangers and sleeps on my bed.
now the sleeping on my bed is the problem because sometimes, in the middle of the night or early morning, she will attack my face and head (the only part of me not covered by blankets). i try to reprimand her but she’s usually already run off.
due to my living arrangements her food and litter box are in my room, and it would be difficult to relocate them.
please help! (and sorry for any errors, i am on mobile)”
My comment for what it is worth:
This is not an untypical problem for cat owners, which is why I thought I write about it briefly. The question above comes from a visitor to the well-known website reddit.com. The lady describes what is typically called “bad cat behaviour”. It is considered to be a domestic cat behavioural problem but I see it differently. I just see a clash between the lifestyle of a domestic cat and the lifestyle of the cat’s owner/caretaker.
At night there is a clash in lifestyles and this needs to be accepted by the human. Domestic cats like to be active at night. It’s in their DNA. Humans routinely sleep at night which can lead to their cat trying to wake them up. This can take the form of nipping the cat owner’s nose, poking the face, walking all over the owner, making noises and licking the bed. In short anything which irritates and wakes up the owner. They want companionship. They want the human to be active with them. They don’t really understand why the human companion is inactive.
Fortunately, in my experience, cats gradually adapt to their human’s rhythms and routines. This means they end up sleeping on the bed with their human companion at night and their activity levels drop off sharply. It is an example of the adaptive nature of the domestic cat. This may occur more readily if the cat is an indoor cat as being confined gradually swashes out of the cat the desire to hunt.
However, the lady who asked the question has not had the pleasure of that form of adaptation. She has, regrettably, reprimanded her cat which I don’t think will do any good at all. It’ll just confuse her.
My answer would be that she has to accept it and gradually her cat will come around to her lifestyle all being well. Some cat owners lock their cat out of their bedroom at night. This, also, does not resolve the matter. And I think it is arguably cruel to do that because there cat wants to be with them.
I think cat owners need to understand that domestic cats have a different lifestyle to humans. The cat is hardly domesticated. There will be clashes therefore and this is one example. I don’t think enough cat owners realise this. It is beholden on the cat owner to adapt as well. There needs to be compromise.
I often get up early in the morning to go downstairs with my cat because he wants me to. He wants me to get up and be active. It’s about compromise. Cats will compromise usually by adapting. There will be a meeting of minds and ultimately there will usually be a kind of harmony. But it starts with the human.
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