Getting your baby, infant or toddler to sleep through the night can be a long, exasperating road so when that hard work is unraveled by your pets it makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and declare, "I give up!" (that's the G-rated version). In our case it's cats. Two cats who stage their version of the Kentucky Derby up and down our long, railroad apartment at 4 am. Did I mention these two cats don't get along? One tries to chase and play with the other and the response is spitting and hissing - usually in front of my son's crib - often waking him. Can you relate?
A friend recently reported her own victory against chronic early morning feline wake-up calls. In her case the cats would scratch at the bedroom door (behind which she, her husband and daughter sleep) until someone got up. In the past they've tried double stick tape on the door which didn't work and finally, after 1.5 years of this problem, they found a solution that works - so far. They erected an extra-large mesh baby gate in front of their door which the cats have yet to penetrate.
Good news for them, but what about us? Aside from locking our cats in the bathroom, we don't have a door to shut. Squirting them with water hasn't been a deterrent. Eliminating their morning feeding (they always have dry food to graze on) hasn't worked. For now, I try coaxing one of them onto the bed and I pet her until my son wakes. Which often means I'm awake from 4 am on petting a cat (who I'm allergic to by the way) waiting for my son to wake up. Kind of pathetic.
I didn't write this post just to whine. This is a big issue for lots of folks and the problem is different depending on your pets (barking dogs anyone?) and the layout of your home. So let's share any brilliant solutions you've found and help each other out. Or describe your situation in the comments and maybe someone else has conquered it and will share their wisdom.
(photo: Carrie McBride)