Why do cats make weird noises at night ? I’m sure most of us have woken up in the middle of the night to an ear splitting yowl at least once in our lifetime, whether we own a cat or not !
This is known as night vocalization, nighttime calling or night calling. Why do cats make weird noises at night ?
All cats vocalize from time to time. One of the ways cats communicate with their human families as well as each other, is through vocalization. For instance,a mother cat will call her kittens. There are different reasons for night time yowling.
Let’s take a look at these reasons to better understand our furry friends’ weird behavior.
- Naturally more active at night
- Many think that cats are nocturnal, but they are actually crepuscular. This means that cats are naturally most active at dusk and dawn.
- They still have their hunting instinct running deep in them. Younger cats can have an increased tendency to be active at night since their instinct might tell them to hunt at this time.
- Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS)
- Also known as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) is a cognitive disease found in cats which is directly related to brain aging, leading to changes in awareness, deficits in learning and memory and also decreased responsiveness to stimuli.
- Cats in their elderly years tend to be diagnosed with CDS, but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect younger cats.
- CDS is a bit difficult to diagnose, since its symptoms are similar to other feline illnesses. We even tend to think that its cats being cats!
- Symptoms of CDS are abnormal vocalizing, seeming lost and overall disorientation.
- Abnormal vocalizing is the more noticeable symptom. Cats who have lived with their owners for a long time know that night time is sleep time. When a cat is suffering from CDS, they will make random vocal sounds in the middle of the night.
- A cat suffering from CDS tends to misuse the litter box. This is because they forget where the litter box is, which leads to disorientation for the cat. Misuse of the litter box can also be caused due to stress, which can also lead to loud noises in middle of the night.
- A disoriented cat might get into a closet or behind a toilet and won’t be able to get out. They can also fall off stairs. Such situations can cause the cat to make loud noises at night.
- In older cats, night time yowling can indicate dementia. Just like in humans their sleep wake cycle can change. They will sleep during the day and wander at night. Staring blankly at walls or refusing to eat or drink are behaviors where immediate medical attention is needed.
- Physical Distress
- Physical distress is common in cats, but the reason can vary. Cats experience physical distress all the time.
- Just as it is difficult for humans to adjust to new surroundings and fall asleep, cats too can experience discomfort in a new place.
- A new kitten not used to being away from its mother, may be insecure in a new surrounding. So,it will use night calling.
- Adopting an older cat from a shelter will disturb your sleep due its calling for its unavailable house mates.
- Changing a cat’s routine can stress them since they are creatures of habit.
- Adding a new pet to the family can be stressful too. A new member in its territory can cause cats to make loud yelps or meows.
- When cats get older they want to be closer to people they love. They feel more dependent on their loved ones, just like humans!
- Overactive thyroid or kidney disease
- If a cat meows at night on a frequent basis, it can be a sign of overactive thyroid or kidney disease in cats.
- Consult a vet if such excessive vocalization occurs.
- The main reason that most cats make weird noises at night is rather simple. They need something!
- It can be food or water or they might simply want to be close to you.
- The remedy is simple. Feed them, clean their water dish or move their bed close to yours.
- A cat might yowl at night simply because it is bored! They may have not been active enough during the day to fall asleep. So now they are not allowing you to sleep either !
- They might be making noises to get your attention to come and play with it. If you comply every time the cat seeks attention, they might ask it more often. Try not to give in unless it is absolutely necessary!
- Feeling trapped
- An outdoor cat during the day can make noises if they are kept indoors at night.
- A cat flap can be installed, if it is safe, for your cat to roam outside at night and spend its energy.
- They can also get trapped in closets, bathrooms and howl since they are unable to get out.
- Mating is a natural process where cats call out to other cats suitable for mating. The calling can be extremely loud screeching and yowling disturbing your sleep.
- When a female is in season, or there is territory dispute, two males will caterwaul to warn each other before a fight.
- Getting both male and female cats neutered is the best solution.
- They can be disturbed by something they hear or see outside and call out, out of fear or as a warning.
I think you have some idea as to why cats make weird noises at night. I’m sure some of these facts might even have surprised you! Let’s try to figure out how to stop them and get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few remedies to calm down the cat.
- Get them into a routine where they will fall asleep at night and stop howling! Make sure cats get plenty of exercise during the day so that they’ll be tired at night and sleep like logs! If you don’t have enough space outdoors, you can even get them an indoor cat gym or playhouse.
- If your cat is a night prowler and loves to go hunting at night, install a cat flap. Allow it to roam around as long as it’s safe.
- Be sure that its bowl of food and water are full at night in case it likes a midnight snack or gets hungry.
- If the cat needs you by its side even at night, try to shift its bed to your room, if convenient. Give them a familiar place close to the person they love. You can even give them their favorite blanket, furniture or toy.
- Clean their litter box regularly. A messy litter box can also make you come running out of your bed in the middle of the night !
- Safety first! Close doors to closets and other places that your cat might get lost due to disorientation. Make sure they can’t access stairways. Having various rooms open and stairways accessible can become very dangerous to disoriented cats. A night light or two around the house can help disoriented cats to reorient themselves to the surrounding.
- You have to make sure they are neutered on time! This will not only stop their night time noises, but also prevent a whole litter making noises at night !
- Most important of all is to consult your vet if your cat shows symptoms of CDS (or FCD). Getting proper medical attention on time can perhaps set this problem right allowing you and your cat to sleep in peace !
- If none of this works, try giving them a toy to play around at night without making noise. Sometimes catnip also helps, but not always. It can have the opposite effect on some cats. You will end up with more noise than ever !
Cats are curious creatures able to grab our attention and keep us entertained. However, loud screeching at night does not top the list! So, why do cats make weird noises at night ? I think you got your answer now.
It can be due to an illness such as FCD, overactive thyroid or even kidney disease. Cats might be hungry, thirsty, cold or afraid and also they might be wanting to use the litter box, but it’s not clean. Your cat might also be locked somewhere and unable to get out. They might want to hunt, which is in their genes.
If your cat is old, it might be hard of hearing. So, it will call loudly, like humans. Your pet cat might also be missing you. The natural process of mating might also be taking place !
Remember we have to be patient with their little shortcomings and bear it as much as possible. After all it can all be because they love you and miss you. Take care of your pet and be informed about its various behaviors.
Hope your cat doesn’t wake you up with a blood curdling yowl tonight !
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