Ask the Veterinarian/Cat Behavior


Good evening Jana,

I am writing because I have the sweetest cat in the world. When me and my husband married and moved into our new apartment the rule was no cats in the bedroom. Hercules is fine with it and it doesn't bother him but my sweet little Buttercup cries, howls, scratches at the door and demands to get in. It's all because she wants to cuddle. She doesn't do it all the time but some nights she will start at 1 am and continue until I get up and go lay on the couch to cuddle with her. My husband and I have gone back and forth about this thinking we should let her in but I found out I am pregnant so we really don't want her to get used to being in the bedroom for when the baby comes. Is there anything I can do to easy her anxiety or whatever it is she is going through? Am I feeding into her behavior by getting up and coming out to the couch with her? She is going to be three in June, spayed and I have had her since she was 2 weeks old after her mama stopped nursing her. She is currently on Amitriptyline 10mg for Obsessive compulsive grooming and doesn't go back to the vet for a couple more months to see if it is working. Oh and I should mention she has become more obsessed with me since becoming pregnant as well.

Thanks for any advice you can give,

Hi Denise,

I totally understand the predicament you are in with her crying and scratching,but I can tell you that it probably won't stop unless you let her back in.  

I don't get the issue of being pregnant and not wanting her in the room. She isn't a risk to you or the baby- and babies that grow up with pets are much healthier than those that do not.

Both of my kids had cats (I had 6 at the time) in and out of their cribs and the worst thing they ever got was a red spot from being groomed too much by the cat!

Since it doesn't bother the other cat, and you are essentially telling Buttercup that she isn't welcome anymore, try letting her in for a week and see how it goes. The more you let her in- or just leave the door open- the less she will want to be in there with you two moving around on the bed after a while.

But forcing her to stay out is a guarantee that she will want in all the more!

She will be happier, you will both be happier and the baby will be just fine if you stop forcing her to stay away. Getting up with her only reinforces the behavior and just lets her know when you go back and close that door that she is again being left out of things. The obsessive grooming is probably also related to the move and subsequent wall you have put between her and yourself at night. Amitriptyline works for most cats but it might not work for a while or for this crying either. It works good for cats that over-groom, inappropriate elimination and for cats stressed out by seeing stray cats outside.

You are her family. Don't close the door on her. She senses that you are pregnant and she wants to protect you! That's my opinion about it anyway.

Congratulations on your new baby!!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 35 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 550 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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