writing about reading
JULY 26, 2011 9:09AM

A cat tale (question for Tink and the OS cat community)

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Open Salon, meet Dylan. Here's a picture of Dylan at his most recent 3,000-nap checkup. 


Dyl is fifteen, and an avowed snuggle-holic. I adopted Dylan in April when he moved from NYC back to Atlanta, where he was born. (His human mom, in NYC, moved in with a roommate who had a dog. Dylan was not amused.) Now he's back in Atlanta, where his sister Flame has lived for years, a block away.


Here in the ATL, Dylan has assumed his accustomed position as king-of-the-mountain. Sleep / eat / outdoors / indoors / brush and snuggle daily. Repeat as needed.


Here's the Hitchcock-movie twist: whenever he sees me, he just won't STFU. Daily yowling, screeching, meowing, even "mrrrrping" softly (think Kliban's cat Burton Rustle: "mrrrrp?"). He knows he's getting my attention because he acts rather smug afterwards.


I've owned many, many cats in my 60 years but Dylan is the first endless screecher I've encountered.


Yep, I know, he's got me wrapped around his paw. But it's as if he needs constant attention and yowling if I am not staring directly into his eyes, 24/7. Right now he's yowling in the kitchen. (It's 8:40 a.m.) Sometimes he sits and looks at me while sounding like I'm beating him unmercifully. And ... then ... there's nighttime. 


Dylan spends much of my bedtime-to-six a.m. on endless perimeter marches, yowling, window-hopping, checking my breathing, sitting in the kitchen and screaming. His litter-box is clean, food and water is plenty. 

This circular performance goes on, night in, night out. When I close the bedroom door he yowls to get in; when he's in the bedroom and the door is closed he screeches to get out.


Then he's sitting in the kitchen, meowing unceasingly for hours at 3 am, 4 am, 5 am ... The only time I get a break is when he's sleeping (exhausted?) or outside. I live on a busy street and keep an eye on him outside during the day. I don't want to leave him out at night (I think he'd just game me even more with his in-out-in routine anyway.)




I am lucky my apartment next-door neighbor is a night-time / cat person, with her own shy 13-year old tux cat, Lightning. I'm beginning to think Dylan is showing off for Lightning: "hear me roar." Debra says she doesn't hear Dylan's nighttime performances, but I'm not getting much sleep myself.


Both cats are spayed / neutered (sorry, Tink, TMI). But -- of course -- when Debra arranged for Lightning and Dylan to meet, Dylan was unimpressed and Lightning hissed and hid, as if she was Miss Havisham in Great Expectations


Dylan: Are you lonely? Bored? An attention-sponge? An opera-singer-in-training? Are you overly worried about the impending budget default?  Whatever it is, we (and Obama and Boehner) can work it out together. Just, please, hush yer mush. 


Tink (and for others who are "pwned" by their cats, your thoughts): What ... do .... you ... want?!?

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help!, questions, meowing, behavior, cats

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My uneducated guess: I think Dylan will become our first feline opera star.
They say that cats often have huge problems adjusting to even the most minor change in their environment. For example, my mom, a former vet tech with 20+ years of experience, has known cats who completely lost it when their owners put up a Christmas tree! I'd say Dylan is probably very upset and confused about moving to a new place, with a new owner. Maybe in time he will settle down.

I wish I could give you more advice. The next time I talk to my mother, I'll see what she has to say. I also would suggest reading some cat literature, if you have time, like "The Tribe of Tiger" about how cats think and interact with humans and each other. Who knows, it might provide some insights (unfortunately, I can't remember if they discuss constant meowing).

Also, there is a show called "My Cat from Hell." It's about a guy named Jackson Galaxy, a rock star by night and a cat therapist by day. People contact him for help with their really difficult cats. He has done some amazing work, from what I've seen and seems to intimately understand cats. He lives in the LA area, but does consultations via skype/video as well. It's a bit pricey (I think like $100), but you may want to check out his website:

Good luck to you and Dylan!
Tuna, lots of Tuna in the bowl. That's my only cure when mine goes on a howl.
Thanks, all. fernsy and manx ... Dyl's definitely in training, that's for sure! And that's how he sounds, too -- ALL IN CAPS!

Alysa, he could still be adjusting. I haven't asked NYC is she let him roam at night but that's an option ... thx for the other suggestions. The story about the Christmas tree -- wow. I guess it could be worse.

To np, Dyl goes out daily as much as he wants (upside: the litter stays clean). I may try night-time outside for him, esp as my sleep-quotient diminishes! And Out, that has really been my only solution so far: he loves tuna and the juice, especially in summer heat. He naps solidly afterward.
separation anxiety? Or just noisily neurotic - one of my housemates is pretty clingy and whiny.
It looks like he's keepin' cool on that table.
Myriad -- that may be it. He can be quiet for long stretches, he's not in any pain or need, he's just a talker. (His name is Dylan, after all: maybe it's his own subterranean homesick blues ... )

And, Con, he's as comfortable as he can be on the vet's table. Best of behavior. When the vet expresses surprise that Dyl is a talker, he's amazed: Dylan never says a peep. It's definite Warner Bros. cartoon territory ... Michigan J. Frog style.
The other kitty psychologists have it nailed when they talk about separation anxiety. His new environment is making him unhappy, and he wants to be with his old chums. My advice? Get him a kitten.
I am a rangler of homeless and counselor (really counsel the people and get/help them to adopt) here in Sacramento.

"Cats are put on earth to remind us that not everything has a purpose." - Oscar Wilde

You can find a lot of good practical expert advice at the link below. Note the links about noisy cats and especially introducing cats.

But seriously - I strongly recommend keeping your cat indoors at night for the usual reasons (fights, infections and vet bills).

Your cat might be bored. Use interactive cat toys and figure out how to leave the toys where the cat can continue play on his own. Interior doorhandles and shelves full of books are good for this.

I recommend the cat dancer, it is far better than any cat toy I have seen, and it's dirt cheap. You can get a couple plus shipping for about $10.

I have had some success with (1) vocally imitating the talking cat, and (2) Giving the cat attention several times a day when it isn't making noise.
Uhhh,I meant Homeless Cats.

I do not wrangle homeless people.
Thanx for the practical advice guys -- maybe I thought Dylan would be over the move anxiety by now. He did have other cat-companions in NYC, and boredom may be an issue. (Kind of wish Lightning would be a little more playful but she's a shy southern belle.) I'll def try the toy route, and as you suggested, steve s, he likes the unexpected playtime.

I learned that he didn't go out at night -- esp in NY that would be pretty wack -- so I probably won' let D. out on night recon here in the backyard.
steve s, duly noted, bud.