Why Do Cats Scream at Night?

For those who have heard a cat scream, the sound is unforgettable a piercing, multisyllabic yowl that shocks the senses and demands your undivided attention. A screaming cat can wake you from even the deepest sleep. Cat screaming may conjure up Halloween-type images of arched backs, extended claws and bared fangs. And most importantly, cat screaming can scare the crap out of humans and other cats alike, which is often (but not always) exactly what the screaming cat intended.

Why do cats scream so loud at night?

Cat crying at night may be simply because they’re bored – or because they haven’t tired themselves out during the day. Active play before bedtime may help to ensure that they are more tired out at night, as will trying to keep their minds active and happy during the day.

Why do cats cry like a baby at night?

Cats use vocalizations to communicate with their owners and other cats. Crying is one way to convey a message both to the recipient and to anyone within earshot. One of the most common reasons that female cats cry at night is because she’s looking for a mate.

Why do stray cats scream in the middle of the night?

Cats can cry at night because they’re lonely – or because they haven’t had enough to eat during the day. Active play before bedtime, as well as trying to keep their minds active and satisfied throughout the day, can help them sleep better at night.

How do I get my cat to stop yowling at night?

Reset your cat’s internal body clock..Give them plenty to eat and drink..Keep your cat busy during the day..Ignore the night-time serenade..Clean out the litter box before bed..Create a safe night-time environment.

Hearing a cat meowing at night is not uncommon but if you’re a cat owner and its your cat that is meowing at night, it may be something that you are concerned about. Also known as night vocalisation or night calling, if your cat is meowing at night, it can be a problem if it is a sign of their discomfort or its disturbing your rest. Read on to find out more about the reasons that your cat may be being particularly vocal at night.

Younger cats have an increased tendency to be active at night, as their instincts tell them that this is a great time to hunt. As they mature, though, it is likely that their rhythm will adapt to that of the rest of the household, which may hopefully mean less cat meowing at night.

If your cat is meowing at night on a frequent basis, its a good idea to consult with a vet to check up on their health. This is because excessive vocalisation, including at night, can be a sign of overactive thyroid or kidney disease in cats . CDS (Cognitive Disfunction Syndrome) is directly related to the effect of ageing on a cats brain, and can have a variety of symptoms, of which meowing at night is one.

If it is safe, consider installing a cat flap and letting them go out at night so that they are free to expend their energy outside. As many of us know through experience, extremely loud screeching and cats yowling at night can be the sound of mating. This is a natural process, but we strongly suggest that you get your cat neutered both male and females as it significantly reduces the amount of unwanted kittens.

One of the most regular complaints from cat owners, is of their cat’s loud ‘crying’ in the middle of the night. This behaviour is unfortunately very common, particularly in older cats. Usually the cat just wants attention and reassurance that her humans are still around and she has not been left on her own. Cats often meow during the day as well, but the night call can seem much louder and more demanding!

Older cats in general tend to depend more on their humans not only for food and accommodation, but also for reassurance. So by establishing a general routine for feeding, attention and play times you can avoid situations that might upset and stress the cat.

Perhaps leave some paper bags or cardboard boxes for her to entertain herself, so she doesn’t feel bored and start meowing to get attention. Increased meowing can be a sign of medical conditions such as hyperthyroid, and a simple blood test will check for this. An older cat’s eyesight may not be as good as that of a youngster, so having plug-in night lights at points where she needs to navigate to in the dark, will save her getting lost or confused.

Ignoring the cat means that you don’t even talk to her, pet her or even look at her, as this will only re-inforce the idea that meowing for attention works! After a few nights (depending on the individual cat) she will have learned that meowing doesn’t work, and it is also possible in some cases to adapt to her human’s sleeping routine.

What does cat screaming sound like?

If you’ve never heard a cat scream, perhaps you’ve been to a haunted house? You know those spring-loaded, shrieking ghouls that jump out of the walls at the moment you least expect it? Yeah — that’s about what it’s like the first time you hear a cat scream — particularly if it’s your cat who’s screaming.
If you need a reminder that these cute, cuddly creatures we love so much come fully loaded with the instincts and equipment to hunt and kill their prey, just listen to a cat screaming. It’s a gut-wrenching, primal sound, and cats use it to convey a wide variety of emotions.A cat screaming sounds a lot like a human screaming, except a bit more urgent and desperate — kind of like something out of a horror movie. The sound can rise and fall in intensity like crashing ocean waves, or cat screaming can be sudden and shrill, the equivalent of a human yelling, “Hey! Watch it!”Here’s a video of cat screaming to demonstrate:Note: For a cat who is screaming at an outside cat, cover the windows or doors so that your indoor kitty can no longer see the outdoor cat. A (gentle!) towel throw (similar to what’s done at the end of this video) should also help distract and diffuse the situation.

What is cat screaming?

A “scream” is just one of the hundreds of sounds cats can make. In fact, cats are extremely vocal animals, capable of making nearly ten times as many sounds as dogs. But the cat scream is exactly what it sounds like – a sustained, high-pitched vocalization that is often accompanied by growls or yowls. Cat screaming is instantly and utterly distinctive — there’s no mistaking this sound for anything other than what it is.Cat screaming is fairly uncommon, which is probably why it sounds so shocking. The time of day cat screaming usually happens makes this sound even more alarming. You’re more likely to hear cats screaming while it’s dark out and you’re trying to sleep for the simple reason that cats are crepuscular, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk — and that includes fighting outside your bedroom window, of course.

Why do cats scream?

One of the main reasons cats scream is because they’re angry or afraid — hence why cat screaming often happens during cat fights. According to cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, “The sympathetic nervous system kicks in with the ‘fight or flight’ reflex; if there’s nowhere to flee, the only option is to fight. A fear-aggressive cat is extremely fearsome in itself; this is a cat that can hurt you, badly. Be very careful!”Cats don’t only scream out of aggression, though. Cats may also scream when they are ill. Galaxy recommends staying on top of veterinary checkups to catch any health concerns before they become so severe as to warrant one of those cat screams. Aging cats can show signs of confusion or dementia, and they may scream if they get startled or fearful of their surroundings.Cats may also scream if they’re in distress. Ever accidentally locked your kitty in a closet? She probably wasn’t shy about communicating her displeasure with your unintentional negligence. And if you’ve ever accidentally stepped on your cat’s tail, you’ve also probably been privy to some cat screaming — you may have been so alarmed that you screamed yourself!Finally, cats might scream while mating or while searching for a mate. Needless to say, screaming cats are not concerned about waking the neighbors.

Which cats are more likely to scream?

As is the case with most behaviors, certain cats are more likely to scream than others. Two major factors are the cat’s temperament and environment — is the cat living in a multi-cat home where he regularly needs to establish his dominance in the social hierarchy? Is he easily over-stimulated or startled? Was he handled roughly as a kitten? All of these aspects of a cat’s home and development can make him more or less likely to scream.Additionally, unaltered cats who aren’t spayed or neutered are more likely to scream out of aggression or due to hormones. When I first adopted my calico cat, Phoenix, she was in heat, and she wandered around the house screaming at night for several days until I was able to get her spayed.Galaxy offers this bit of advice: “Intact cat aggression includes both maternal aggression (totally normal behavior in a new mother when defending her kittens), and territorial tomcat aggression. Intact cats, both male and female, tend to be more aggressive as well as highly territorial; and they are also apt to spray urine on any and all convenient surfaces. The solution: spay/neuter, of course!”

Why does my cat meow at night?

If you have a cat yowling at night, it’s only natural that you’ll be wondering why they do it. There are six common reasons why your kitty may be doing this, including:

3. Overactive thyroid or kidney disease

If your cat is meowing at night on a frequent basis, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet to check up on their health. This is because excessive vocalisation, including at night, can be a sign of overactive thyroid or kidney disease in cats.

5. Outdoor cats may feel trapped

If your cat is an outdoor cat during the day, and you keep them indoors at night, there is a good chance that your cat’s crying because they are feeling trapped. If it is safe, consider installing a cat flap and letting them go out at night so that they are free to expend their energy outside.

Common Causes of Cats Meowing at Night

Conditions such as hyperthyroid can also cause a cat to meow during the night. So if this is a new behaviour for your cat, or the cat is elderly, your vet can take a blood sample to test for any underlying conditions.

Meowing can become a Habit!

Cats are intelligent creatures, and they can learn pretty quickly what works for them and what doesn’t. So as the cat owner will go to check on the cat because she/he worries that the cat is in some form of distress, this will soon become a habit. The cat has now learned that this form of behaviour works and it will get her the attention she wants. By getting up and checking on the cat we ourselves are unintentionally reinforcing this kind of behaviour (our cats ‘train’ us to do what they want us to do!)If cats become used to being fed at 6 in the morning, they will demand to be fed at that time everyday (even weekends or holidays!). They have made a direct association of their human getting out of bed with being fed, and will meow to their human(s) every morning to get up and feed them when they feel hungry.

Solutions to Help Break the Habit

Routines help cats to feel relaxed and secure. So by establishing a general routine for feeding, attention and play times you can avoid situations that might upset and stress the cat. Such a routine could also include for example, having a little play session with her just before bed time, to use up some of the energy built up through the day (particularly for indoor cats that tend to sleep most of the time, when their humans are not at home). This could then be followed with some food; perhaps half of her dinner kept back from her mealtime. If she is tired and full she should sleep more soundly, and be less likely to get up early and begin meowing.Because cats are creatures of habit and routine, if you are going to break one of their established routines then you will need to establish another for them. So instead of going to the cupboard to feed the demanding cat immediately on getting out of bed, do something else first, and wait for at least 10 minutes before attending to the cat’s need. This way the cat will not make the direct association of her human getting up with feeding her or letting her outside. As a result the cat will stop bothering her human(s) to get up.
It is also important that the cat has things to do when she wakes up. For example, if she has toys to play with, or some hidden toys for her to find. Perhaps leave some paper bags or cardboard boxes for her to entertain herself, so she doesn’t feel bored and start meowing to get attention.Also it is a good idea to leave some biscuits around for her to eat, or hide a few biscuits or treats for her to find. In this way, not only will she have something to munch until her regular feeding time, but also searching for her treats will keep her entertained, and therefore she is less likely to begin meowing.

Older Cats

An older cat’s eyesight may not be as good as that of a youngster, so having plug-in night lights at points where she needs to navigate to in the dark, will save her getting lost or confused. It can also be a good idea if she is not left alone at night, for example being left downstairs while her humans are sleeping upstairs. It will help to reassure her if she can get to her human’s room if she wants to.If your senior cat sometimes seems bewildered, check out the International Cat Care (formerly FAB) page on Elderly Cat Care.

Don’t Give In!

If medical conditions have been ruled out, and it seems your cat is simply meowing out of habit, to get attention, then it’s important for the cat to learn that meowing doesn’t get her anywhere. So you must try to ignore her, and not to give in one night and try again the next. This will confuse the cat and it will simply make things worse.Ignoring the cat means that you don’t even talk to her, pet her or even look at her, as this will only re-inforce the idea that meowing for attention works! Solutions such as burying one’s self under the covers, wearing earplugs or listening to music etc. can be tried as long as the human doesn’t give in to the cat’s night cries.After a few nights (depending on the individual cat) she will have learned that meowing doesn’t work, and it is also possible in some cases to adapt to her human’s sleeping routine.