Meow. Meow. Me-oooow. Sound familiar? How about in the middle of the night? Does your cat wander around the house yowling and meowing? Don’t worry. It’s normal, but your kitty doesn’t have to keep you up all night any longer. We can shine some light on why your cat meows at night and what you can do to help keep her quiet… or at least quieter.
Why Is Your Cat Up All night?
You may be aware that cats are naturally nocturnal. This means that they’re most active while you’re asleep. Cats used to hunt in the dark and have excellent night vision, and because most of our kitties nap all day, they wind up with excess pent up energy by night.
Why Does Your Cat Meow at Night?
Cats don’t vocalize a whole lot between one another. Most of their actual meows are for you. This indicates that this behavior is mostly for attention and to communicate with you. So, what could she be communicating?
- “I’m nervous or anxious about a major change.”
When cats experience change, it can take them a bit of time to adjust. If you’ve recently moved, added a new baby to the family, or made some other large change, your cat could be expressing her anxiety. Meowing is one way cats can release nervous energy, but sometimes they’re just looking for some comfort.
- “I’m confused”
If your older cat has recently begun night yowling, it could be an indication of dementia. Again, she may be wanting you to comfort her, call back to her, or help her find her way back to bed. This meowing could be a hint that it’s time for a vet check to see if your kitty is having memory problems.
Confusion can also be a symptom that your senior kitty is losing her hearing or eyesight. This can cause some cats to vocalize in hopes that you’ll call out or find her since she’s having trouble finding or hearing you.
- “I’m totally bored and want you to play with me.”
Cats love to hunt. Especially at night. A curious, playful, and energetic young cat that chippers and meows in short bursts likely wants to play. And lucky you! She wants you to join in the fun!
If your cat bats at you, or rolls around on the floor, she’s definitely ready to play.
- “I want some food” or “I’m so thirsty!”
As the master of your kitty’s diet, midnight meowing could be a sign that your cat wants a midnight snack. This can be easily verified by checking her bowls.
- “I’m scared or lonely”
Is your cat a new addition to the house? Newly adopted cats and kittens may meow from the distress of feeling scared in a new environment or lonely. Lonely cats often wander the house looking for company. So, if kitty is walking the halls, she could probably use some cuddles.
- “Holy Moley! What is that?!”
A long growling meows or a high-pitched hissing meow probably means your cat saw something scary outside her window. This could be another cat or a random raccoon.
- “Ow! Something is hurting me!”
It’s a bit scary, but don’t rule out that your cat may be meowing because she’s in physical discomfort.
What Can You Do to Help Your Cat Resist the Urge to Meow at Night?
Just as you began to believe you were destined to live the rest of your life waking in the middle of the night to those loud and lonesome meows, we have some solutions that can help quiet your restless cat.
- Fill kitty’s bowls with food and water before bedtime.
- Fill kitty’s day with plenty of play time. If you can help her get her energy out during daylight hours, she may not feel the need to wake you to help keep her busy. For cat parents that work during the day, leave treat puzzles and toys out to keep her busy.
- Bring kitty to the vet to find out if there’s an underlying problem like a kidney issue or thyroid issue that might be bothering her. Your vet can also diagnose dementia, a cognitive issue, blindness, or loss of hearing that may cause her to feel confused.
- Did you move recently or has the household gone through a major change? Be patient with your cat. She’ll likely stop midnight meowing in a matter of a couple of days or weeks. Remember to reassure her during the day, so she has an easier night adjusting and adapting to the change. This can also reduce her overall anxiety and stress.
- Your newly adopted purr ball needs some time to feel at home. Give her extra playtime and affection to help her sleep through the night.
- Shut the blinds if you think your cat is getting a late-night window visitor.
- Ignore your cat to the best of your ability. Waking up and playing with your cat often encourages the behavior since she receives the response she wants: playtime with her favorite person. You can try a noise machine or earplugs to help drown her out. It’s time to visit the evet if the meowing remains persistent for over a month.
Rest Easy and Wake Up Refreshed
It’s time to invest in some earplugs, play with your cat during the day, and tuck your cat in with you at night. If you give your cat some time to adjust and she continues to meow and wake you up, your vet can help assess if there is some behavior work that may solve the problem.
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— Meow for now —