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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My two adopted cats are now a little over a year old. I live in apartment with hardwood floors. The other day I came home to a note there had been a complaint about banging in my apartment. I am guessing it must be the sound of the cats jumping off and on my bed to the floor and chasing each other through the apartment. They don’t do it a lot but unfortunately are most apt to do it in the evening and early morning. I can usually distract them in the morning by feeding them but now I’m a nervous wreck when they start to play. I work all day and playing with them at night will only cause more noise. I have an area rug in the living room and a runner in my bedroom but that doesn’t cover much. I could really use some suggestions. I am so nervous I took the cushions from my couch and placed them next to my bed in hopes that if they do jump down they will hit the cushions. I’ve lived inthis complex for 20 years, though I moved into this particular apartment last February. Before I adopted these two, I had a 17-year-old cat who was very quiet and liked to just cuddle. I know these Heidi and Cally are still mostly kittens. I feel bad scolding them when they want to play with each other but I can’t let them at night or in the morning.

~ Mary Ann

Playing kitten (CC-BY-SA) by Stephan Czuratis

Playing kitten (CC-BY-SA) by Stephan Czuratis

Siouxsie: Wow, that’s a difficult situation you’re in, Mary Ann. And unfortunately, it’s one you’re going to have to work out with your neighbors rather than with your cats.

Thomas: That’s right. You can’t stop your cats from playing! Even if they don’t play when you’re home, they’re going to play while you’re away. That’s the way cats are.

Kissy: I don’t know if you have any way of knowing which neighbor made the complaint. If you did, I suggest you send Heidi and Cally down to pee on their doormat!

Siouxsie: Kissy! You know that’s a bad idea! If you want to write for Paws and Effect, you have to give helpful advice! Now, go to your room.

Kissy: You’re no fun. *sulk*

Siouxsie: As Thomas and I were saying before we were so rudely interrupted …

Kissy: *hissss*

Thomas: … we’d recommend that if possible, you talk with your neighbors. They may not know that your cats are the ones causing the banging noises, and they might be more forgiving if they understood that.

Siouxsie: You might find out that your neighbor is concerned because he or she works nights, for example, and has to sleep during the day.

Thomas: If you have that information, you might be better able to manage your cats’ play time so that it doesn’t conflict with your neighbor’s need to sleep.

Kissy: Of course, it would also help if you got another area rug for your bedroom.

Siouxsie: Go to your room, Kissy!

Kissy: I was just trying to help. *sniffle* I’m sorry I told Mary Ann to send her cats down to pee on her neighbor’s doormat. *weep*

Siouxsie: Oh, okay. Come on out and write with us. But you’d better behave yourself.

Kissy: I promise.

Thomas: Mary Ann, you might be surprised to know that the best thing you can do to keep your cats from going crazy with their play while you’re away is to play with them while you’re home.

Siouxsie: If you play with them until they’re exhausted in the morning before you leave for work and in the evening before they eat their supper, you’ll find that they spend more time resting during the day and night — which will certainly make your neighbors happier.

Kissy: And if you can work out their play times so that they’re less likely to bother your neighbors with their running and cavorting, you’ll be on the road to happy-neighbor-ness.

Thomas: We’d also suggest you talk to your landlord or building manager and explain that the banging is your cats playing and that you’re taking action to help their playtime be in alignment with your neighbors’ needs for sleep or peace and quiet.

Siouxsie: Since you’ve lived in your apartment complex for 20 years, the building manager presumably knows you’re a reliable tenant who pays her rent on time and is considerate of her neighbors, so you’ve got that on your side. A good long-term tenant is worth a million whiny ones.

Thomas: Also, if you’ve been in that apartment since last February and the noise complaint just happened, we’re willing to bet that the issue is with a new neighbor.

Kissy: With that in mind, maybe your first stop should be at the building manager’s office, especially if you’re very anxious about talking to your neighbors.

Siouxsie: Neither you nor your neighbors can stop your cats from being cats. If your building manager knows what’s going on and knows that you’re working to address the issue through periods of structured play, we’re pretty sure they’ll be help your neighbors understand what’s going on.

Thomas: Good luck, Mary Ann. We hope you can get this sorted out.

Kissy: And don’t send your cats to pee on their doorstep!