Why Does My Cat… Meow All Night Long?

For the second edition of Why Does My Cat… we’re focusing on cats who yowl, howl, cry, and talk through the night.

Cats are often thought to be capable of spiteful behavior- as if the cats are mad at their guardians and trying to deprive them of sleep- but in reality, when cats exhibit certain types of behaviors- especially those that irk guardians- there is a message behind it that we need to interpret.

Let’s  see what we can learn about your cat from this behavior.  Keep in mind, it could be a combination of things and there likely won’t be any quick fixes, but seeing things from your feline’s point of view can help you take appropriate action to help your household achieve a serene night’s sleep.

Born this way

Some cats are chatty by nature, just like people.  This can simply be a personality trait, or influenced by genetics or breed.  Siamese cats, for example, are known for being very vocal.  Is your cat generally talkative, especially when he or she is happy or excited?  If so, your cat will likely be talkative when they’re not so happy as well or trying to tell you something.

Something’s Wrong

Sometimes vocalizations are not just behavioral; they can be signs of underlying medical conditions that require immediate attention.  It is critical that you rule out medical issues first and foremost!

“Most cases of nocturnal yowling is associated with hypertension and hyperthyroidism in cats over 9 years old,” explains Dr. Richard Yacowitz, an owner and veterinarian at Little Silver Animal Hospital.    “A simple blood test will show the latter and a blood pressure measurement will pick up hypertension.  Sometimes cognitive problems and stress will show these symptoms but they tend to be at the bottom of the list.”
Dr. Yacowitz has been practicing veterinary medicine for almost four decades, and is one of the few veterinarians Pet Adoption Network works with and proudly endorses.   For more information on his practice and experience, please visit Little Silver Animal Hospital’s website.

Something’s Changed

Although cats act as though they couldn’t care less about what goes on around them, they actually get incredibly comfortable in the daily routine- yours and theirs.   Routine disruptions, such as a change in feeding time, visiting friends or family, new pets, or even a slight alteration in your work schedule- can stress out your cat.  Cats don’t usually adjust well to change, but they will if you are patient and help them along.  So try to identify a disruption (don’t overlook subtle ones) that might be causing your cat to start howling at night, and address it.

I’m Bored and/or Lonely

Although cats sleep a good chunk of the day, they still have quite a bit of energy that they need to expend on a daily basis.  Their wild cousins spend much of their waking hours stalking and hunting prey- a stealthy and often strenuous task.  Domestic cats are still wired this way, and have to find another outlet for their energy or they are likely to become restless or destructive.  The best remedy for this? Make intensive playtime sessions part of your regular routine.  This not only helps cats to expend their pent up energy in a positive way, but helps maintain their all-around health, and can eliminate many forms of destructive behaviors including inappropriate marking, improper scratching, and late-night solos concerts.  (We suggest following Jackson Galaxy’s ‘play therapy’ guidelines!)

Loneliness and boredom often go hand in hand, therefore, if your cat is lonely they might react in a similar way as if they were bored.  Having a companion cat can lessens their bottled-up energy, and keeps them not just physically fit but also mentally stimulated, which is just as important in maintaining a cat’s health and well-being.

A special thanks to Little Silver Animal Hospital and Dr. Yacowitz for help with this article.

LSAH supports our rescue work, so please support them by ‘liking’ them on Facebook, and if you’re looking for an experienced and caring vet, consider LSAH!
They also have a special cat section of their website with tips and videos, check it out. 

 

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About Marissa Weber

I graduated with a BA in Communications from Monmouth University, and am thrilled to combine my passions with writing. I have been vegan for over a decade and am a board member of a pet rescue/adoption agency, so my day is filled with animal activism from sunrise to sundown! I wouldn't have it any other way. I also enjoy working on my yoga practice, world travel, and getting tattoos.

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