A Hard Night

Last night was the hardest night since Pete arrived. I put biscuits in his bowl and went off to the bathroom. He followed me into the bathroom and sprawled across the floor in a way that said “I want to be near you.” When I shut the bedroom door behind me, he was fine for half an hour or so, but as soon as I was dropping off to sleep, he started to cry.

I let him cry for a few minutes and eventually he stopped and I heard him wander off. A while later he started to cry again and it went on for what felt like hours. Like most cats, he has the ability to sound mournful and plaintive when he cries, and if you love your pet at all, it’s hard to hear. He kept it up for long enough that I was worried that something was wrong so I went out to check. He then made me feel even worse by purring loudly as soon as he saw me! I got him up onto his favourite sofa place and stroked him for a while until he settled, and I was just about to leave him when we heard the neighbours come in, loud and shrieky and with their barky dog. That completely unsettled him and it was clear he wasn’t going to go to sleep in a hurry.

So I just gave up. Went to bed, shut the door, and listened to him cry. Then he worked out that if he launches himself at the bedroom door it opens, and he burst in, purring triumphantly. So I put him in the living room, shut the door, and shut the bedroom door. It took him five minutes to come back. So I wedged the bedroom door open by putting a box in front of it. So he cried and scratched outside the door for ages. And I felt like a heel.

I eventually got to sleep and when I woke up this morning and opened the bedroom door, he was crying to himself in the livingroom. And I felt even worse. Has he been crying on and off all night and thinking I don’t care about his distress? The delight with which he greets me is lovely but makes me feel awful about shutting him out of the bedroom at night. But if I don’t get him used to it now, it’ll be a thousand times harder to try later on.

How do other cat owners deal with this?

(PS All that wet food he stole and ate yesterday has resulted in what might be the biggest cat turd in the whole world. I feel like ringing the McWhirters to check).

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