Why Does My 15 Year Old Cat Yowl At Night
Q: Pete, our 15-year-old cat, yowls at night. His hearing is gone, he has arthritis and hyperthyroidism, but otherwise, the vet says he seems younger than his years. What is causing the yowling, and what can we do about it?
Sometimes the canines unite in a harmony chorus. In general, dogs can howl for many reasons than cats. Besides, they do it more often than cats, and it has a lot to do with genetics.
Hearing A Cat Meowing At Night Is Not Uncommon But If You’re A Cat Owner And Its Your Cat That Is Meowing At Night It May Be Something That You Are Concerned About Also Known As Night Vocalisation Or Night Calling If Your Cat Is Meowing At Night It Can Be A Problem If It Is A Sign Of Their Discomfort Or Its Disturbing Your Rest Read On To Find Out More About The Reasons That Your Cat May Be Being Particularly Vocal At Night
Its widely known that cats are night owls. It seems that the moment we switch off the light they get straight to sprinting around the house like the cat version of dog zoomies. When theyre getting up to their night time antics they may also meow a lot too. And, sometimes your crying cat can be extremely disruptive and get in the way of you getting your much-needed rest.
If your feline friend does this and youre wondering why does my cat meow at night and what can I do about it? Weve got the answers to your questions! Here at Purina, weve put together this guide to tell you all you need to know.
How To Get A Cat To Stop Meowing At Night
Are you being driven to distraction by night-time meowing? Or perhaps youre concerned that these nocturnal vocalizations are a sign that all is not right with your beloved feline? There are a number of common reasons why your cat is likely to be meowing and a few simple strategies to help you both have a quiet and restful nights sleep.
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Is Your Cat Meowing At Night Reasons Why And What To Do
Its after midnight, and you wake up to your cat meowing. This scenario presents a couple of complications: 1) your cats indicating she has needs that arent being met and 2) youre losing precious sleep. What to do? Thankfully, there are a few possible solutions, but lets first look at some reasons for cat meowing at night.
Yowling Could Be The Sound Of Mating
As many of us know through experience, extremely loud screeching and cats yowling at night can be the sound of mating.
This is a natural process, but we strongly suggest that you get your cat neutered both male and females as it significantly reduces the amount of unwanted kittens. Not to mention, itll also stop the loud yowling sound!
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Top 6 Reasons An Old Cat Meows All The Time
Below are the top reasons we think cats vocalize for no obvious reason. Usually there is a reason, though finding it may not be easy.
How Your Vet Will Find The Problem
When someone brings one of these cats to my vet clinic, I start with a thorough physical:
- I check the cats eyesight, senses, oral cavity, body weight, cardiac, etc.
If I find hyperthyroidism or hypertension, we treat these conditions medically and see if we make an improvement. This is the fairly easy part of the diagnostic plan.
Dental or Arthritis Pain
Pain assessment is more difficult.
- Often, we find severe dental disease in the physical exam.
- Arthritis may or may not be obvious.
Are these conditions causing the yowling? Trial pain medication may be prescribed to see if arthritic or neurologic pain improves. A dental procedure may be recommended if the cat is in a stable state for anesthesia.
Other Sources of Pain
Other sources of pain or chronic inflammation may not be as obvious.
Cats living with subacute pain for a long time may be very stoic. Weight loss in an older cat is a tipoff that there is a problem. The workup may reveal pain caused by GI disease, pancreatitis, neoplasia and so on, but the level of pain itself is still subjective.
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Meowing For Food At Night
Did you forget to feed your cat? Cats often cry for food or treats and a hungry cat at night is not a quiet cat. You won’t get much sleep if your cat is hungry, so make sure you feed it before going to bed. Do not get up in response to its cries at night, as this will only teach your cat that you will feed it when it meows at you. If you have a difficult work schedule or are concerned about forgetting to feed your cat, consider an automatic cat feeder that controls the meal time and amount of food your cat will get. This will guarantee a regular feeding schedule and your cat is less likely to associate you with getting fed. Also make sure that your cat always has access to clean water to eliminate thirst as a reason for nighttime activity and noise.
Calming Diffusers Can Help
Try a calming diffuser to help your cat feel more comfortable. The Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser releases a drug-free, odorless vapor that mimics a cat’s own natural, soothing pheromones.
To reduce tension and conflict between cats, the Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffuser dispenses a synthetic pheromone that mother cats produce to help their kittens feel safe and secure. This pheromone is different from the one used in the Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser, and the two products can be used together.
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Final Thoughts: When Your Old Cat Meows All The Time
Theres a lot of help out there. But zeroing in on the most important problems and medicating appropriately can be tough.
Dont give your cat supplementswithout checking with your vet.
The drugs mentioned above may not all be compatible, and your cat may have particular medical problems that put some of these drugs on the caution list.
By no means is this an exhaustive treatment list. If people have the finances, for example, I like to treat hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine therapy.
You probably cant go wrong with a low-carb diet, a geriatric supplement like Nu-Cat Senior Supplement, a calm and orderly household, and lots of love and affection for your aging cat.
Beyond that, check with your vet.
Why You Need To Take Your Cat To The Veterinarian
You may want to just fix the yowling so you can sleep. But finding the source of the screeching may also be a lifesaver for your cat.
These diseases can be dangerous if left untreated. So finding and treating the underlying cause can do a lot more than give you back a good nights sleep: It can add happy years to your cats life.
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Wants To Come Into Your Bedroom
How many times have you laid in bed and heard a scratching at the door? Or heard that faint meow which gets louder and louder as you ignore it, until it turns into a full-blown, ear-shattering wail!
If your cat sleeps nicely when its in your room, and it sticks to a designated cat sleeping area or cat bed, then theres nothing wrong with letting it in at night. Leave the door ajar so that it can come and go as it pleases.
However, if you have one of those delightful cats who loves to sleep directly on top of your face or you have a cat allergy – then keeping them out of the bedroom is a must. Its also recommended for pets to be kept out of young childrens rooms at night.
Like the conditioning of a cat who wants attention, keeping the cat out of the bedroom is a matter of consistency. If you get up to let it in or even shoo it away then it will learn that meowing by the door will get your attention.
As much as we hate to say it, sometimes the best solution with this is to buy a pair of earplugs and ride it out!
In the meantime, you can try the same approach as detailed in the lonely in need of attention section. Lots of attention, play and cuddles before bed will leave your cat feeling loved, satisfied and secure.
Was Your Pet Food Recalled
Central Nervous System Problem
There may be clues in a neurological exam that the cats excessive vocalization is caused by a central nervous system problem such as a brain tumor. These cats may be circling, having seizures, or acting depressed or dull.
A definitive diagnosis needs more advanced imaging, such as a CT or MRI, and these cats can do very well with surgery.
Often, we tentatively diagnose a meningioma based on the symptoms. Medical treatment can be of some help.
If most of the testing on your geriatric cat is normal up to this point, your cat may be suffering from cognitive dysfunction.
Because of an aging brain, your pet may have a syndrome not unlike Alzheimers in humans. There is no definitive test. I prescribe a number of medications and supplements to see if we can stop or decrease the yowling.
In this quick video, Dr. Wendy McClelland, DVM, explains more about why an old cat meows all the time:
For many people, giving medicine to a cat is hard work.
Some cats are resistant to getting a single pill, let alone up to 4 or 5 pills a day.
If my patient is a hyperthyroid, hypertensive cat with cognitive dysfunction, I may need to prioritize which meds I prescribe first.
This cats pill container could look something like this:
- Hyperthyroid: methimazole
- Pain: gabapentin and/or many others
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- Regular exercise and sensory stimulation
- A nightlight
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Why Do Cats Yowl Before Fighting
Before fighting, cats naturally yowl as a way of intimidating other felines. It works as a show of strength, proving that the cat is stronger, more aggressive, and more dedicated to winning the conflict.
This is most common among male cats. The hissing and howling can discourage other cats from trying to enter the males chosen territory or taking food that its claimed.
For this reason, some cats yowl as a means of avoiding confrontation. Since fights can result in serious injuries, cats prefer to be intimidating than get involved in physical conflicts.
Cats’ Effect On Wildlife
Even if an outdoor cat manages to steer clear of predators, theyre own hunting can be quite devastating on local wildlife. Researchers have found that as few as 25 cats in a national park can reduce the local bird population by half! Thats according to the National Park Service, which also notes that domestic cats can deplete the available food source for wild animals.
Animals like coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, and hawks have a harder time finding food in an area where domestic cats have already hunted the available supply. If thats not concerning enough, the lack of available prey means an outdoor cat will become much more attractive to other large predators.
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What Can Be Done About Cat Crying At Night
As always, the first port of call should be the vets office, to make sure that there is nothing physically wrong with your cat. They are also likely to be able to give you advice on things that may help with trying to reduce the instances of your cats night meowing. However, things like keeping your cat more active during the day and feeding them later in the evening to keep them satiated at night may have a positive impact.
It can be tricky to know what our pets need from us. Take a look at our cat body language article for information on how to tell how your cat is feeling through their body language.
Create a cartoon avatar of your dog or cat! Pawsonalise everything from their breed to their coat colour and markings.
What Should I Do If My Cat Yowls At Night
Lets start with what NOT to do.
Dont ignore it:Dont punish a cat for yowling:
So, what should you do if your cat is causing you to lose sleep?
First, make a gentle shift in feeding and playtime so that they coincide more closely with your own bedtime. The point is to make sure all of his needs are met before settling down for the evening. His belly should be full and his body should be tired from play.
And then do nothing, which is the hardest thing of all to do. Nothing means nothing. Do not look at a yowling cat. Do not talk to your yowling cat. Do not grunt and groan and mumble obscenities to yourself. Do not toss cat toys across the room to distract him, or to give him something to. Do not invite him into your bed. Do not shoo him from the room and slam the door. All of these things, even the negative or unpleasant things, give a cat attention for yowling.
Everything that isnt completely nothing reinforces the yowling behavior. The more you reinforce your cat for yowling at night, the more your cat is going to yowl.
Even if you are mostly quiet while the cat is yowling, but lose patience and explode with a loud shush! just once, you have given the cat what animal behaviorists call an intermittent reward. Intermittent rewards are particularly damaging because they may ingrain a behavior even more firmly than actually tossing your cat a favorite treat every time he yowls.
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Common Causes Of Cats Meowing At Night
One of the most regular complaints from cat owners, is of their cat’s loud ‘crying’ in the middle of the night. This behaviour is unfortunately very common, particularly in older cats. Usually the cat just wants attention and reassurance that her humans are still around and she has not been left on her own. Cats often meow during the day as well, but the night call can seem much louder and more demanding! Older cats do not move as fast or as easily as they did when they were younger, and sometimes, they find it easier to call for their humans, rather than going to them. Older cats in general tend to depend more on their humans not only for food and accommodation, but also for reassurance. Younger cats may also get into the habit of ‘crying’ in the middle of night, sometimes through boredom, but often because they may be feeling anxious. This could be due to changes in their environment, or perhaps if they’ve moved house.
Conditions such as hyperthyroid can also cause a cat to meow during the night. So if this is a new behaviour for your cat, or the cat is elderly, your vet can take a blood sample to test for any underlying conditions.
Common Causes Of Excessive Non
This excessive or increasing yowling or meowing could also come from psychological stress. If you have ever become more talkative in a stressful situation through nerves, or tried to get others to help you out of it, you can empathise.
Cats dont like change or new experiences. They can become stressed by trips away from home and car rides. They dont like strange new things in their territory like new appliances, human toys, or new pets.
A common cause of stress and anxious meowing is a house move. It takes them a long time to settle and need reassurance that you are still with them.
There are also times when cats just dont seem to want to stop talking. If this is a recent behaviour change then there could be a medical issue. Unspayed cats in heat will meow incessantly and loudly. It can also be a sign of hyperthyroidism, problems with their senses, or senility.
Feline Cognitive dysfunction can make cats confused and concerned, causing them to call out more often. Add in any sight or hearing loss and they are more reliant on you to know where they are and to come to help them.
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