Reggie and Bedtime

January 07, 2017

Update: The day I posted this I lay down on the couch after feeling light headed, and guess who showed up?

When he first arrived we left and Reggie in the bathroom overnight (he's been a stray, read more about Reggie's Origin Story) where his litter box was. after a couple days and a few successful litter boxings we started leaving him in the general apartment at night with the bedroom door closed. Reggie has a little pink  basket with a blanket in that he would curl up in at night and sometimes during the day for a nap.

And tail chasing. You can't forget tail chasing.
After a couple weeks, he'd run into our bedroom with us at night and lie on the bed and we'd have to kick him out. We felt pretty bad doing this night after night, so we started trying to figure out how to co-sleep with the beastikins.

Reggie treated sleeping with us as a great honour and made sure we knew it by purring like an idling diesel engine. On our faces. Sometimes he'd lie like a hat on the pillow above our heads, and sometimes curled up on our faces, and sometimes he'd lounge across our necks like a giant warm vibrating feather boa.

If I move my head or get up in the night, he moves in on my pillow and makes himself at home. If I move him off, he returns to the same place, except this time on my face.

The first night all three of us managed to actually sleep he woke up in the middle of the night, crawled onto Husband's face and started dry heaving like a hairball was on it's way. In the middle of the night. On Husband's face. The noise woke me up and I scooped him up and took him to nearest tiled floor, and it was a false alarm. 

Even when I take naps, he has to move in on my pillow, and I get his little litter kickers on my face.
At least one of us is comfortable

A few nights ago he added licking my forehead to the mix, right where my hair begins, which feels ghastly. Then he'd get my hair stuck in his mouth and I'd hear him chewing at it, trying to get it out. So now I wake up with cat spit in my hair. Then after telling him "No" a few times and moving him, he'll just furiously knead our hair with his claws out.
He either loves me or is trying to smother me in my sleep

This continues on and off for most of the night (every time I wake up I have to reclaim my pillow) until it gets light enough for him to expect breakfast, and he starts headbutting us in the face, sticking his wet little nose in our eyes and tickling us with his whiskers until one of us (usually Husband) gets up and feeds him, or we open the door, wait for him to charge out, and then close it behind him and go back to bed.

PS. Anyone have any advice on how to break this habit? Will he calm down eventually? 

19 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh ... I KNOW it's annoying ... but seeing him snuggle with you like that is just about the highest compliment you can get. Bear was homeless when I started feeding him, and his loving nature is why I adopted him. At first, it was a HUGE adjustment because he always had to be ON me. I already had a cat, but she was nothing like that. It made me very uncomfortable, but I sensed it was what Bear needed, so I gritted my teeth and bared it. Now? I actually MISS when I'm lying down and he's not there. I actually sleep better with him next to me (most of the time). Yes, he can be downright annoying (he has any number of habits he uses to wake me up so I'll pay attention to him ... from whacking furniture with his paw to sticking his wet nose in my ear to super dramatic barfs to using me as a trampoline in the middle of the night) - but I can't imagine closing him out of the bedroom (when he was a kitten and played in bed when I was trying to sleep, I'd close him out ... did I sleep? No. Why? Because Bear would rip up carpet and howl for hours until I let him back in). I know some people for allergy reasons or personal preference close their cats out ... but the howling/ripping thing would make it impossible even if I preferred to sleep alone (I've tried to wait him out and at about the 3 or 4 hour mark, I can't take it anymore ... quite frankly, it's hard to out-stubborn me and I have to admire him for doing so). I think some of the novelty will wear off eventually ... but I don't know that he'll stop trying to sleep on your face. Luckily, Bear's never done that. I've had him 10 years now, and there are nights that he annoys me to no end for whatever reason, but my problems with sleep tend to fall more toward not being able to sleep without him there now. Reggie might go in phases after the novelty wears off - and sometimes sleep with you and other times not - assuming you keep allowing him access. I know how annoying it is when you keep trying to move the cat and the cat just goes back to where he was. Closing him out might make things worse ... but I also recognize that you need sleep. I try to remember that Bear's insistence on being with me is a compliment and a sign of the bond he feels with me ... but that's little consolation on the nights where he wakes me up hourly wanting attention. I wish I had advice. Cats are stubborn as all get out and eventually you usually just throw up your hands and quit trying to change them ... or that's what I do - at least when Bear's life isn't in danger (he also was a cord chewer ... that one I refused to give in on ... now all our cords are taped to the wall).

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    1. The weird this is he is much, much more affectionate with my husband during the day, he's such a daddy's boy, but at night he pretty much ignores my husband and just wants my pillow. My husband will even pull Reggie onto his chest, but he climbs off and heads straight for me. Some nights he's fine, but if he's going to keep someone awake, it's always me.

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    2. Just wanted you to know that I chose this post from the last Showcase two weeks ago as one of my featured posts for this week's Showcase :)

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  2. So love hearing how Reggie is settling in. Living with 5 feines has exposed us to just about every behavior issue one can think of.

    As regards the sleep issues, one thing that has worked for us is to get a soft blanket (or in one case, give up my soft pj pants, spray some pheromone spray (like Feliway) or one of Jackson Galaxay's spirit essences to calm and soothe the cat. It takes a while for them to understand that all their sleeping positions are not welcome and I've found a gentle petting and putting the cat back on "their" part of the bed helps.

    As to the howling and morning head butting ..cats have a way of training us. Our 16-pound Alpha, Tucker (who is part Siamese) will "sing the song o fhis people" in a loud soprano if his food bowl is not filled to the brim. If I make sure, before I go to bed that his bowl is filled, he is fine and he doesn't serenade us.

    Finally, we have two siblings (we were foster failures last year) and one is an obsessive plastic bag chewer. If a cat chews cords, you can spray some bitter apple but that means you have to spray every cord and that's pain. I am ordering an "obsession remedy" from Jackson Galaxy's spirit essences line in the hopes that this will stop Alberto's obsessive plastic chewing.

    I love hearing how Reggie is fitting in. Time helps because going from stray to a home requires some time for them.
    The Tribe of Five and their purrrsonal assistant, Anita

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    1. It's funny, because the longer we have him, the more his personality starts to show through. At first he had no interest in playing and just wanted cuddles and reassurance all the time, and now he needs to be played with several times a day. He used to now care about the windowsill, and now he's up and down all day. His latest discovery is how much fun it is to knock things off of tables, counters, etc just to watch it fall.

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  3. We used to have a cat that did the same things. She had the loudest purr ever, loved to sleep on our heads, knead them, and to lick my hair. That was a few years ago, but if I remember correctly she did get better in time; either that or the dogs drove her out of the bed. I doubt it was that though because she was never afraid of them. Hopefully Reggie will settle down in time too.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Yeah, at first it was cute and kind of flattering, but now I just want to get a good night's sleep. It's good to hear your cat toned it down with time

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  4. Oh my gosh. I know that you probably don't find the sleeping positions cute, but he is absolutely adorable! I don't have any experience with this--I like the think that the talk I had with my cat on the way home with the shelter where I told him that he was absolutely not to sleep on my head or eat the keys off my computer keyboard worked ;) My cat tends to gravitate towards soft, fuzzy blankets at the foot of the bed--maybe if you put the bed he's already used to sleeping on at the foot of the bed (or wherever you'd prefer he be on the bed), he'd start using that area of the bed instead.

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    1. We actually have his pink basket next to my side of the bed, and sometimes he'll sleep in it for a few hours, but the lure of my face seems to get to him most nights. Right now we've compromised and he can sleep on my pillow as long as he's not trying to smother me. The funny thing is, during the day he's all about my husband's lap and cuddling there, but at night, it's all about my head.

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  5. Reggie sounds like a sweetie and so happy to have a home. My Sammy sleeps on my head, but he doesn't lick my hair which is good. Sorry, I have no tips on stopping that unless you want to sleep in a hat :)

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    1. I've never slept in a hat, but he *is* very warm and so soft....

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  6. He is soooo like my Ralphie. Marty will lie across my neck and chest to start the night but moves to my legs. Ralphie lies on my face/head and does the cleaning thing too. I literally have to cover my head with my hands/blanket to stop him. It deters him and he will eventually just "hug" me. I hope Reggie calms down for you.

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  7. Hair licking was a big thing in my place for a while, and may have something to do with body scent, but most definitely mutual grooming and thanks, social status. Somethings will never change though like early morning wake up calls, but the last thing you want to do is reward this behavior in any way else it will get worse... purrs ERin

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  8. He's a cutie for sure,as for sleeping on your head not sure what to surgest sounds like he's looking for reasurance at night from you,xx Speedy

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  9. Oh my gosh, that is very cute! But I can see how it would be annoying. :-) My cats rarely ever sleep on the bed. And when they do, they prefer to sleep between my legs and not my face.

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  10. I have to admit, I laughed. I'm sorry, but I've done similar with a 90 pound dog. In fact, I've been known to sleep in an "L" shape, in order to not disturb said dog. I've also slept side-ways across the bed, with my feet on a chair. So I get it. I have no answers for how to change this. But the photos are SO cute.

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  11. Bear with him. Reggie will tone it down in time. At the moment I think it's 'thank the stars, I have a home, I'm warm! Someone loves me!' and Reggie doesn't really believe his luck.

    Lots of positive and gentle reinforcement when he sleeps in his bed, or has been mentioned a cosy blanket on the bed and some Feliway are all things to try.

    Sienna (our tortie) jumps on Paul in the middle of the night - thankfully not every night but it tries Paul's patience sometimes. Reggie will settle, the more is reassured and loved, wherever he is, he will calm down. It may just take time.

    PS You need to do more position Reggie you have the makings of a wonderful pet blog with Reggie as your spokescat! I always laugh at your posts. Well done!

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  12. When I was sitting on the couch, my oldest cat used to climb on the back of the couch and groom my hair.

    One thing that looks like Reggie wants to touch you while he is sleeping. You might try putting him next to you and holding his paw - that way you are in control of the connection and also acknowledging his need to be near you. Reach out and touch him so you are making contact, and saying you are Mom and alpha kitty. -Katie Kat.

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