Horton’s Room

Horton, my dearest Murder Kitten, is trying to kill me. At first it was obvious aggression, flinging himself at me with fangs bared in hopes of clamping down on my windpipe and taking me down like a gazelle. But he’s mellowed with age and he’s much more affectionate than ever, even cuddling in my lap to watch TV, so the attacks are much fewer, and mostly only when provoked with poking. His main tactic now is sleep deprivation.
He has been eating special food since his urinary blockage and urethrostomy surgery two years ago, and so far it has kept him from having a recurrence of urinary crystals. Unfortunately, he started throwing up several times a week, and the vet thinks it may be an allergy to the food. We tried two other “urinary health” formulas, neither of which Horton would eat, so we opted to feed him canned food. instead, because it has less grain fillers, and more water, both of which are good for cats with urinary issues. The problem with the canned food is that he only eats a little at a time without throwing up, so we can only feed him about a quarter of a can per feeding. This means he needs to eat several times a day, and his majesty has decided that one of his feedings needs to be at 4am, because he can’t get through the night without starving to death.

At first, I tried pulling the blankets over my head and ignoring his plaintive meows at the bedroom door, but he’s a clever cat and stuffs his paws under the door, rattling it, which is a much harder sound to sleep through. I used felt pads on the door frame and the handle like this to try and muffle the rattle:

But it doesn’t do enough – the sound still wakes me up and then keeps me awake. If I don’t respond, he’s happy to continue for half an hour or more, sometimes throwing himself at the door handle in an attempt to break in. We can never switch to the lever-style door handles – he would learn to open them within a week, despite the lack of opposable thumbs. If I cave and let him in, he stays for a while, then whines to get back out. If I go feed him, he’ll eat, then come back to the door to harass me again. After two full weeks of insufficient and interrupted sleep, I was a wreck.

So now I put him in his room at night.

We set up the mudroom with a pet bed and a food station, and when he wakes me up at night I bring him and his canned food in there, dump him unceremoniously onto the floor, and lock him in. He keeps meowing, but this way I can’t hear him from the bedroom. It breaks my heart because I love him and don’t want to keep him cooped up alone all night, but I was losing my ability to function. I should put him there when we go to bed, but I’m still too much of a softie to handle that. I let him sleep with me till he wants out, then we go to his room and I say goodnight and walk away. I still get woken up every night, but I can fall asleep again quickly.

He’s mad about the situation, though. And he’s taking it out on the carpet in a big way.

Sigh. We were going to rip up that carpet eventually anyway.

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