Cat Behavior

What to Do About Cats Screaming at Night

cats screaming at night

Cats are normally viewed as a calm and quiet pet, but they do have a bit of a reputation for being noisy.

A common problem with cat owners can be that their cat is shrieking at night. This can be a major problem if it impacts your sleep or annoys your neighbors.

You also need to pay attention to a cat being noisy at night because it can be a sign that something is wrong.

Cats are often being loud because they are trying to tell you something, and understanding the cause can help you address the problem.

Nighttime noise is caused by boredom, anxiety, or loneliness.

Here’s what you need to know if you are interested in stopping it.

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Screaming At Night?

This might seem like a fairly obvious concept, but a lot of pet owners are not actually aware of just how loud their cats are being at night.

Not all cat owners who have a cat screaming at night are spending hours wide awake wishing their furry friend would be quiet. Those without a neighbor around to complain might not even notice it.

You might be sleeping through the night, but if you realize you always feel tired in the morning no matter how much you sleep, something is disturbing you.

For many cat owners, this something is a cat howling or meowing. Other signs can be a cat that is hoarse in the morning or a cat who seems disturbed or upset.

If you suspect your cat might be screaming at night, there are a few things you can do to check. One easy option is downloading a smartphone app to record any noises it hears. You can also try pretending to sleep at seeing what your cat gets up to.

What Are the Reasons Cats Scream at Night?

When you are lying there awake at 4 AM while your cat screams, it might feel like your pet is doing it on purpose just to drive you insane. However, the real reason that a cat screams at night is never just plain old meanness.

Cats meow, yell, or screech because they are trying to communicate something to you or to another animal.

According to veterinarian Jennifer Coates, cats tend to be nocturnal, so their chattiness naturally happens at night. There are several key reasons that a cat is screaming during the evening.

They Might Be Upset or Anxious

One of the most basic reasons a cat is noisy during the night is because they are anxious. If you have recently gotten a new cat, it might make noise during the night.

They can also be yelling at night when they move to a new house where they feel unsure.

Cats make noise when they are anxious because they feel insecure and do not want to be alone. It can be a self-soothing mechanism, or it can be a way of trying to interact with others.

They may hope the noise will encourage you or other feline companions to come to spend time with them so they can feel reassured.

They Are Trying to Breed

If your cat is not spayed or neutered, the reason for all their noise might be a desire to breed. Mating cats use sound to signal their availability to each other.

According to Catster, female cats go into heat multiple times a year. As this hilarious YouTube compilation shows, cats try to call available mates with distinct whooping noises.

Noisiness is not just confined to female cats. Male cats can smell a female in heat from far away, and they try calling her to alert her to their presence.

This means that any unspayed or unneutered cat is likely to end up shrieking at night when they think they may have a chance to breed with another cat.

They Might Be Bored

Sometimes the reason for a noisy cat is as simple as them being bored. If your cat is spending its night wide awake, it can get boring just sitting in the dark by itself.

Cats in this situation might start meowing because they are trying to wake up their owner and encourage them to play.

This sort of nighttime noise is normally accompanied by a lot of activity. Bored cats may jump on their owners, scratch at doors, start trying to hit things off of tables, or begin sprinting around various parts of their home.

They May Be Sick

Sadly, a cat making tons of noise can occasionally be a sign that something is wrong. For example, the ASPCA explains that cats with hyperthyroidism can become hyperactive and get noisier.

Other common problems that can cause excess noise include kidney problems, back problems, or any other issue that can cause the cat to feel distressed and begin making noise.

One often overlooked the type of illness is actually dementia. If your cat is older and in otherwise good health but suddenly begins meowing, this can actually be a sign that they are dealing with cognitive decline.

It is normal for cats to have a few mental struggles when they get older, and they can get confused and start meowing.

They May Be Hungry or thirsty

Yet another reason your cat might be encouraging you to wake up in the middle of the night is that they know you can get them food or water.

Cats are socialized to be vocal when they want food, so if they want a snack in the middle of the night, they start meowing.

Likewise, the issue may be that your cat is calling for you to get up and get them water. As cat behaviorist Dr. Marty Becker explains, cats have evolved to prefer running water to still because still water in the wild can contain diseases.

Even with a full bowl of water, they may yell because they want you to pour water into a bowl as they sip it.

How Do You Stop Your Cat From Screaming at Night?

The solution for quieting your cat down at night will mainly rely on figuring out the reason your cat is so noisy.

Once you understand the issue, you can take steps to resolve the problem and help your cat learn to stay quiet in the night.

Take a Trip to the Vet

If the yelling is a fairly new issue, it is probably a good idea to go to the vet. A veterinarian can check out your cat and make sure they do not have any sort of health problem that could be causing all the noise.

A trip to the veterinarian’s office is also a good idea if your cat is not spayed or neutered yet. PetCoach explains that spaying a cat comes with many benefits.

In addition to minimizing nighttime screaming, it can also lower certain tumor risks, reduces aggression, and encourages your cat to stay at home.

Get a New Feeder or Water Bowl

If the issue is just that your cat feels hungry, it is easy to solve the problem. There are all sorts of great products that address this issue.

You can get a fountain that makes water run all the time or get an automated feeder to make sure your cat does not have to feel hungry and thirsty during the night.

Train Your Cat Not to Meow for Attention

Helping your cat learn not to yell at night for attention requires some lifestyle changes. You may need to quit giving your cat attention when it meows during the day.

Focus on lots of petting and playing when your cat is being quiet to teach them that being quiet is a good thing.

It is also important to avoid giving your cat attention when it meows at night.

Even negative attention like yelling or spraying the cat teaches it that the best way to get you to hang out with it is by making a lot of noise.

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