Can You Sleep Train a Cat?

For 7 years he slept through the night–sometimes for more than 12 hours. I thought we had it made. No more sleep training needed in this house. But ever since we moved to our new place, things have imploded. While my children progress, my cat has regressed.

Wayne Sanchez is becoming a real problem. He licks our hair with his bad breath in the night. He sits on our head to the point where have to put pillows over ourselves. He howls and yowls. And it all begins at the cheery hour of 3 a.m.

During the day he is the sweetest, most affectionate cat. He tolerates the children constantly rolling and carrying him around. He sits on my lap while I write. He curls up next to Phil at his computer. But come nightfall it all changes.

He won’t relent unless one of us gets up to feed him. Usually Phil gives into Wayne when I give into Emmett at 5 a.m. Bleary eyed, I go make Em’s bottle, while Phil takes Wayne downstairs to eat. Then he closes the door to the basement. We both get back in bed. Em sleeps. Wayne goes to the top of the steps, right between our bedroom and Fia’s, and begins his catcall. Again. This lasts until we get up with the kids. So basically we have broken sleep from 3-7 a.m.

We have a sound machine in Fia’s room and a high-powered fan in ours. But sometimes he gets so loud he could wake the dead. We find ourselves cursing the cat we rescued from Brooklyn’s toxic Gowanus Canal; the cat that we had to turn into a transsexual to keep him alive.

He gets 1 can of food a day. We used to feed him half at 7 a.m. and half at 7 pm. Now it’s more like 3 am and 3 pm, with a “bonus round” of dry food at 9 pm–which actually goes against the vet’s orders. She had us cut down on his dry food and he lost 4 pounds. I proclaimed him The Biggest Loser. Now not only is he wreaking havoc on our sleep, but he’s getting fat again. We’ve tried pushing the evening feed back to 7 pm. It doesn’t matter. It’s as if he’s still on east coast time, even though we’ve been west for almost 3 years.

We have nowhere to put him at night where he won’t be heard but still be close to his liter box. The other night Phil said, “That’s it. I’m putting him in the shower.”

“You can’t put him in the shower!” I said with strange indignation. I have no idea why I was defending the cat at that godforsaken hour.

We compromised and let him have free reign of the bathroom. There, he’s further from Fia’s room but even closer to ours. It’s not a solution.

We are at a loss of what to do. We’ve let him cry it out. We’ve tried Ferber. He is relentless.

Any ideas?

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