I am having a quandary. Three weeks ago, one of my friends moved in with me (my former roommate moved to another city so I needed a new one) and brought her adult cat who she has had for many years. Our apartment has one bedroom, which we share, because rent is impossible in my town and we are young and broke.

The cat is super cute and seems to like me, so that’s all fine. She had to live with two other cats and a dog in my roommate’s former house, and from what I understand she completely hates other cats and really hated the dog, so being the only cat is supposedly a great thing for her. We have all the basic stuff she could need (food, treats, catnip, toys, litter box, comfy cat bed, a cat pheromone plug-in, etc.) and she seems to be settling in well for the most part. She sees the vet regularly so it seems unlikely that there are any unaddressed medical problems, because she was just there again in July. She seems calm and happy, and we play with her so she can get her energy out (she is old enough that she is not crazy rambunctious anyway).

BUT. There is a problem. Nearly every morning, at some horrible time like three or four am, she starts meowing super fucking loudly in the bedroom and wakes us up. Her litter box is normally kept in the bedroom and the door stays open, but when this happens my roommate will move the box to the living room and shut the cat out, and she will sit right outside the door meowing loudly still. At this point I usually fall back asleep, because the door muffles the sound enough for me, but my roommate often can’t sleep again and will just be awake.

And once she is awake, she is more likely to go pay attention to the cat and possibly feed her breakfast a bit early (I am pretty sure she doesn’t give her food at 4am because that’s obviously encouraging bad behavior, but I suspect that she caves in and feeds her earlier than she ought to), so now the cat is just being the worst and getting what she wants out of it. At my roommate’s old house, she apparently didn’t do this because there were usually other cats up, or someone in my roommate’s family might be up really early, so she wasn’t the only one awake in the house. My roommate never had to deal with this before and does not know what to do about it, and I have never had a cat before so I am totally lost.

Less than a week after my roommate moved in, I went away for a trip and just came back on Friday. I hoped that while I was gone, the cat would settle down and my roommate would handle the problem, but she has not handled it.

What can we do? My roommate complains but seems to have no ideas for fixing this, beyond what she is doing that is not clearly not working. The thing is, I don’t have many years of loving this cat to make me think this crap is worth putting up with. In my opinion, I didn’t sign up for being woken up at three in the goddamn morning and I am physically incapable of handling it. I shouldn’t have to put with this! If I ever have a baby, I will put up with being woken up by crying then, but right now I am too young and broke for motherhood, so I ought to be able to have uninterrupted sleep. I am open to all suggestions, short of moving to a bigger place or getting rid of the cat, because we certainly cannot do either of those things. Also, I would wear earplugs but that increases the risk of me not hearing my alarm in the morning, so that won’t work either.

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I think my roommate sort of expects me to be not all that bothered by this, but it is a problem that I am absolutely not okay with.

Help!