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No need to be awake to feed your cat
Well, the results are in. Here, once again, is the letter from S.C., Oliver's owner, and the winning responses. Dear Dr. Spiegel, Please help! My cat insists on waking up my husband and me by crying and scratching at the door to be fed every morning at about four! If we let her in the room, she jumps on us and purrs very loudly and disturbs us. One of us usually gives in and feeds her so we can get back to sleep, but this has been going on for over a month and we can't take it anymore! Once we feed her, she curls up in between us and goes right to sleep. Oliver's usual feeding times are at 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. We also tried feeding her dinner at 9 p.m. She still cried for breakfast at 4 a.m.! Oliver is a 6-year-old female cat (with a boy's name!). We love her dearly, but also love to sleep past 4 a.m.! Any suggestions? Sincerely, S.C. Newark P.S.: I've tried using a water gun when we let her in the room to keep her from jumping on us. She manages to outsmart me and jump on me when I'm not ready to squirt her.
Mrs. Carolyn Lewis of Claymont responded: The perfect answer is an auto pet feeder. I have the "Weekend Pet Feeder" with two dishes and a 48-hour timer. It contains an ice pack to keep the food cold if canned food is used. S.C. from Newark can prepare Oliver's breakfast the night before and set the timer for 4 a.m. It would not take very long for Oliver to catch on. These dishes can be purchased at any pet stop or the R.C.Steele catalog which is the cheapest price I found. The Cat Mate Weekend Feeder is $37. There is, however, a $50 minimum order which could easily be met as they have a large selection of cat products. Their phone # is 1-800-872-3773. Please don't think I'm a stock owner in R.C.Steele. It's just that I have two dogs, a cat and two parakeets so I need to stretch my money.
Thanks Carolyn. A few others came up with this same sensible solution. My only additional comment here is that S.C. should set the timer 10 or 15 minutes before 4 a.m. to be certain that the availability of food precedes Oliver's crying for it. They should probably start with the feeder outside of their closed bedroom door and progressively move it to Oliver's regular feeding area. Otherwise she may not realize that the food is magically appearing without your getting out of bed to give it to her. After a few nights of getting accustomed to the timed feeder, S.C. can open her door at night to allow Oliver to come to bed if she wants. Otherwise, Oliver may start demanding this as well. An alternative solution comes from combining the concepts from two different letters: "Prior to retiring in the evening, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. should place out a small bowl of dry food (don't forget the water) for Oliver to nibble throughout the night and early morning hours. Since she curls up to sleep after being fed, perhaps she is just plain hungry at 4 a.m." Jeanne Nardone Wilmington. "I have learned that by ignoring them they tire of doing something that gets no response. So they stop. ...They say it works for children also. I know it works for husbands." Roxanne Warren, Downingtown, PA Announcement: Saturday, April 1st, the Wilmington Kennel Club will be hosting the "Double Match Show" at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington, DE. Judging will begin at 9 a.m. for breed and obedience, and at 1 p.m. for breed. Admission and parking are free. For more info contact Jeanne Deeming (410) 755-6034 or Bonnie Bieber @ (302) 834-8747.