Is your cat’s meowing keeping you up at night? You're not alone. Many cat lovers are dragging out of bed to quiet a feisty feline.
A cat’s night-time vocalizations are his way of signaling a need such as hunger, thirst, or loneliness. Once you figure out why your cat fusses at night, you'll find it easier to calm him.
Before trying any of our 7 tips, be sure to take your cat to the vet. Like the rest of us, cats can cry because of illness or pain. If you've ruled out health issues, though, consider some of these tactics to stop your cat from meowing all night:
1. Reset your cat’s body clock.
Cats are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and nocturnal (active at night). Even though cats are wired for activity at the same time you're snoozing in bed, you can reset your cat’s body clockwith a little patience and diligence
Jackson Galaxy from the TV show My Cat From Hellrecommends providing toys throughout the day while you’re away. Active play can between naps can help your cat stay alert during the day. When night falls, schedule a hearty play session with your feline friend to further tire him out. Follow playtime with his evening meal. Pushing your cat’s mealtime back will help minimize his crying for a midnight snack.
If your cat is a free feeder and grazes throughout the day, changing this behavior could prove a wee bit more challenging.
“If you allow them to graze all day long, not only do you not have a chance of affecting their behavior even a little bit, but you’re also not allowing their body to process foods in a natural way…If you’re free feeding, stop and establish a meal time,” Galaxy said.
2. Provide essentials like food and water.
Middle-of-the-night meowing could be your cat’s way of letting you know she's hungry or thirsty. If you follow Galaxy’s advice to feed later in the evening, say around 9:30 p.m., nighttime crying for food should end. Make sure to fill your cat’s water bowl before turning in for the night, too. That way they’re not calling out for a drink at 3 a.m.
3. Scoop the litter box before bed.
Cats prefer a fresh and clean litter boxwhen they go about their business. So a dirty litter box could be the reason your cat is crying at night. Try scooping before bedtime so your furry friend has a clean place to do business. Aside from daily or twice daily scooping, your cat’s litter box should be dumped every week and the box washed out thoroughly with a safe, environmentally friendly cleaner. A glistening litter box will help keep your cat happy and quiet at night.
4. Give your kitty plenty of playtime and affection before bed.
Some cats cry at night out of loneliness, boredom, or anxiety. Especially if you've been away at work all day, your cat needs interaction and companionship. Without one-on-one time your furry friend will become stressed and lonely, and he’s likely to let it be known when you’re right in the middle of REM sleep.
Spend time with your kitty in the evenings. Lavishing a cat with love and affection should be fun and rewarding, right? So grab a laser, ball, or wand, and get ready to romp.
5. Use nightlights around your home to help senior cats with dementia or vision issues.
Being able to see their surroundings can help an elderly cat with visual problems or impaired cognitive function feel less fearful and more confident, which should help tone down night-time caterwauling.
6. Refrain from responding to your cat’s night-time meowing.
If your cat’s needs are being met and you suspect the night-time vocalizing is linked to his desire for your attention, ignore him. As hard as it might be, shrugging off the behavior with neither a hush nor an admonition will teach your cat that no amount of unnecessary meowing will get you out of bed.
Will this tactic work? Yes, but it might take a couple of weeks. In the interim, you might invest in ear plugs.
7. Check for lights or sounds that could disturb your pet.
An annoying noise or even light filtering in through might be the cause of all that meowing outside your bedroom door. Remember that cats can hear sounds of up to 64,000HZ — compared to 20,000HZ for humans and 45,000HZ for dogs — so you may not even hear what's bothering your kitty. LED lights and flickering computer screens might also disturb your cat during the night. Try shutting off your laptop to end the caterwauling.
Losing sleep because your four-legged companion won’t stop meowing warrants immediate attention. First up, figure out why the behavior is happening, and then set out to resolve it so that you and your kitty can finally get a good night’s sleep.