Having you cat crying at night doesn’t auger well with your need to rest after a hectic day. Cats more often than not vocalize for legitimate reasons but often it has to do with a need for attention. This raises the question, “why do cats cry at night?”. Read on to discover more about excess cat meowing at night.
Cat Crying At Night Superstition
Different communities and societies from around the world have different cultures and beliefs. Superstition constitute a fair share of these beliefs, with some habits and observations considered a bad omen or a sign of bad luck.
One common superstition is that a cat crying outside a house (be is at night or during the day) with a sick person means death for the sick. It is up to you to decide if you believe in these kind of superstition. Anyways, let us look at some of the “real world reasons why cats may cry at night”.
Reasons for Cat Crying At Night
Are you wondering, “Why do cats cry at night”? Here are some of the common behavioral, medical and emotional reasons for excessive cat meowing at night.
Is your new cat crying at night? That is fairly common. Cats are susceptible to anxiety and stress and moving to a new home can have a toil on their emotional well-being.
A new kitten may for example feel separated from its litter mates and mother. Being at night alone for the first time can make such a kitten cry throughout the night. Crying is its way for expressing the loneliness and insecurity associated with the separation.
Even grown-up cats can keep crying when adopted to a new house or left alone in the house. Other events that can distress and cause a cat to excessively meow or yowl include the introduction of new pets (e.g. a dog) or new people in the house, and loss of a companion e.g. another cat. When a cat can’t find a companion pet that is no longer there, she is likely to continue calling for them for hours, trying to find them.
Pain and/or Illness
The most obvious reason for cat crying at night is illness. If your cat is in pain or is suffering from a condition that makes her feel consistently thirsty or hungry, crying may be its way of communicating to you. Overactive thyroid and kidney problems are often the underlying culprits. If you suspect your cat may be ill – it keeps crying for no apparent reason – it may be a good idea to have it checked by your veterinarian.
It is not uncommon for old cats to experience a sensory decline that leads to confusion, forgetfulness, and decreased cognitive function (a common symptom of dementia). According to Patty Khuly, VMD, veterinarian practicing in Miami, Fla, old age can also bring the onset of a sleep-wake cycle. The affected senior cats may become disoriented and keep crying at night for no clear reason.
If you have an elderly cat who keeps meowing or yowling at night, talk to your veterinarian. The cat may benefit from one of several therapies available today aimed at improving the quality of life of senior cats.
It is not uncommon to hear a female cat crying at night like a baby when they are in heat. Male cats on the other hand yowl when they smell a female cat in heat. If your cat is not neutered or spayed, then the desire to breed may be the answer to that unexplained nighttime crying. Other than excessive meowing, you may observe other signs that your female cat is in heat including:
- Increasing affection as evidence by increased rubbing of fur against you
- Increased purring
- Rolling on the floor
Getting your cat neutered (males) or spayed (females) will help to prevent such nighttime crying in the future.
Seeking Your Attention
Another possible reason for a cat crying at night for no apparent reason is a desire to get your attention. Cats are social animals and enjoy social contact with people. They enjoy being touched, talked to, and played with. Some cats will go to any length to get your attention, epically when it gets very quiet and dark in the night, including yowling. A cat may for instance keep crying at your bedroom door hoping that you will let her in. You can easily reinforce the behavior if you accord the attention the cat desires every time.
Asking For Food
Do you give your cat treats throughout the day, including at night? Then she could just be asking for one. The cat could be crying in the hope of waking you so that you can get her something to eat. Some cats also cry early in the morning, just before breakfast time.
You may want to stop feeding your cat treats at late night, even if she is awake and following you – usually to the kitchen.
Tips on How to Stop a Cat from Crying At Night
My cat keeps crying at night, what should I do? When your cat keeps meowing at night, it is normal to get worried that it might be in pain. What is more, it can make sleeping hard for you. It is also not unheard of for cat owners to receive complaints from their neighbors and landlords. Whatever the reason, here are some helpful tips on how to stop a cat from meowing all night:
- Add some toys into your cat’s bed. This will help her stay engaged until she sleeps.
- Play an intense game of fetch with your cat’s favorite toy just before bedtime. This can help to tire her out and make her sleep soundly through the night.
- Play a radio tuned to soft music throughout the night. This helps to soothe lonely kitten and older dogs that keep crying at night. Some people also find a baby monitor helpful.
- Deliberately avoid your cat when she cries to get your attention and instead touch and play around with her when she is quiet. If she goes on a crying spree, look away and ignore her – or even walk away.
- Get a nightlight. Older cats that is crying at night for no apparent reason may be disoriented. Placing one or a couple nightlights around the house may help them with re-orientation.
- Get your cat to sleep in your bedroom. Is an older cat crying at night for no apparent reason? She may be disoriented and confused. Try placing her bed close to yours and reaching down with slight touching when they yowl can help reassure and relax them. Watch out however that you don’t positively reinforce the behavior.
- Place a small towel in your cat’s bed. A heated sleeping pad designed specifically for pets may also be helpful for cats living in chilly houses.
When Cat Crying At Night Warrants a Trip to the Veterinarian
Is your cat meowing at night constantly even after you try the above remedies? Then it is time to take her to the vat. Your veterinarian will help to rule out other possible causes of constant meowing for no apparent reasons including overactive thyroid and kidney disease. These conditions can make your cat to get hungry, thirsty, or restless all the time.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): Meowing and Yowling
- Petful.com: Why Does My Older Cat Yowl All the Time? (I’m trying to Sleep!)
- Superstitions Dictionary: Superstitions about Cats
- Vet Street: Why Does My Cat… Cry at Night?
- WebMD: Cat Excessive Meowing and Yowling: Why Cats Meow