The Life of Pye is a sporadically-posted series about the cat who adopted me.
I’m a bit overdue for an update on Pye. She is still here, tearing up my RV, but there have been some changes. Here’s the latest…
Cat-induced sleep deprivation.
As I’ve mentioned before, Pye does not sleep at night. She considers night time the best time for attacking the bedsheet wrinkles or my sleeping feet.
The sleep deprivation was getting to me. Since Pye is a water-loving freak of cat nature, squirting her with water has the opposite effect it would on normal cats. Locking her out of the bedroom, something I’d rather not do because I like her little warm body sleeping next to mine, doesn’t work because she scratches at the door all night. She wants to cuddle for about five minutes, but then she wants to play.
Solution #1: The Vacuum Technique
Thank Goddess for the internet – I found out I’m not alone. The best technique I read was from a commenter (you guys are the best!) on a post about cat-induced sleep deprivation. He described the “vacuum technique”.
This, he wrote, is based on the cat’s fear of loud noise, and instinctive hate for vacuums. The technique involves using a power strip with an on-off switch. Plug the vacuum into the power strip, leaving the vacuum in the “on” position, and the power strip in the “off” position. When the cat does the undesirable behavior, just lean over and hit the power switch button.
So I tried this, and it worked like a charm… for about five or so days. She seemed to be leaving me alone at night. But then she got used to the vacuum, which now lived in the corner of my bedroom. Admittedly, I kind of got tired of waking up in the middle of the night to a loud vacuum sound, too.
Then came the BIG MOVE
When I say “big move” I mean that rather sarcastically. It was a small move to another RV site in the same park, maybe 100 yards away. But to Pye, this was HUGE. So huge she pissed on the driver’s seat before I even started up the RV.
To prepare for the move, I began cleaning up (it’s not like I don’t do this regularly), although I was cleaning some stuff I don’t do all the time. I’d been stowing things for the ride over to the other side of the road, dusting as I went. I opened the curtains to clean the dash where she always sits.
The engine is not on, the vacuum is not on. NOTHING major is happening. Just DUSTING.
Apparently that was more than Pye could take. With my back turned toward the passenger side, she peed on the driver’s seat right behind me!
Not only was I back to being somewhat sleep-deprived at the time, but now there was cat piss on the chair I was about to sit in. Oh, joy.
I placed her in her carrier for the remainder of the cleaning, which now included cleaning up cat pee, and moving. After that, I repeated the training process the vet suggested when she had her previous behavioral peeing episode. I refer to this as “kitty jail.” It sounds more horrible than it is… she has everything: food, water, bed, toys, and daily petting and supervised play sessions in the living room.
This lasted for about 2.5 days. When she first went in to kitty jail, she immediately pitched a fit – not at all unlike the temper tantrum a three-year-old child might pitch – and threw her litter all over. I cleaned it up. She did this about twice a day to let me know she was not pleased.
Then on the second morning at 5:00am she was pitching a fit to end all fits. She not only threw litter, but also tossed her food all over. She didn’t want to be in kitty jail anymore. I was still trying to get a few more minutes of sleep before going to work. THat was the last straw.
Which brings us to Solution #2: I opened the front door, placed her, the food and water bowls outside.
Then I shut the door and went back to sleep for an hour. And it was good.
This was six weeks ago, and we have settled on a routine that works for both of us: Pye comes inside in the morning and stays in all day while I’m gone at work (with food and water and litter box). She doesn’t seem to tear stuff up nearly as much. In fact, she seems a tad calmer than she used to. And, more importantly, she uses the litter box. Around 9:00pm at night she insists on going out. She stays out all night – and I sleep like a normal person. We are both much happier.
Recently, I heard meowing in the middle of the night. I got up, turned on the outside light, and looked out the window. There was Pye, sitting on the picnic table, looking at something on the ground near the door… an orange tabby.
And now I know why she insists on going out at night: She has a boyfriend.
And now, A Year in The Life of Pye…