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Why older cats YOWL (cry) at night

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, June 8th, 2006 at 1:49 pm in Cats, Pets.

Dot Wedemeyer’s June 7 letter to my Times’ column about her yowling tabby generated many more letters in response than I have room to print in a daily newspaper column. Fortunately this blog has space for me to print them here. It’s an important subject, affecting a lot more humans and their companion cats than I realized. Has your aging cat suddenly started to "yowl" (cry loudly) in the middle of the night or during the day? Maybe this is why:

** Our 17-year old cat yowls when he "loses" us. It is a strong Y-O-W-L that can be heard throughout the house. He can’t hear well, can’t see well, sleeps a lot. When he feels alone, he lets us know. One time he walked past us, sat down with his back to us and began to yowl. We called to him and he turned, startled, to discover us.

He gave us a soft, happy "Mrrrp" and came over to claim a lap. (Margaret, Cosby’s mom, Alamo, CA)

** We have friends whose elderly cat has taken to yowling like that. In his case we think it is because he is either lost in the house, i.e., can’t remember the basics about his house, or has "discovered" he is now alone and wants to be with people. If they yell loudly, most of the time he comes running and looks very glad to have found them. Other times the yelling must not be loud enough or he has decided, "Enough is enough, let them come to ME for a change." When they find him, he again looks happy to have his people around.

We also think his hearing may be shot because when he is sleeping, he doesn’t react to noises like he used to. Of course this could all be because he has figured out those noises don’t represent a danger, so why expend the energy to be alert?

Cats, go figure. (Dodie, Pleasanton, CA)

** Re: the howling cat, we have had a similar experience. Our 19 year old Himalayan, Beezie was diagnosed with lymphoma on 8/16/04. She has been on prednisone ever since, and is still alive and well with a good quality of life. However, several months ago she began to howl at night, normally either in the kitchen or in the hall on the way to our bedroom. I would get up, pick her up, (she would immediately start purring), and bring her into our bedroom and put her on the bed.

In the winter, our cats usually sleep with us, in warm weather they make other arrangements. The howling increased, and started happening during the day as well. When I would go to pick her up, she appeared disoriented but immediately started purring. Our vet could find nothing to cause this, her hearing seems OK, though her eyesight may be getting poor. Anyway, it started happening numerous times at night and was seriously disturbing our sleep, so finally in desperation, I began to close two doors that locked off the hall and our bedroom, but left her access to her food, litter boxes, and an upstairs family room.

She began going upstairs at night, sleeping in her favorite chair. And after a couple nights of this, I no longer had to close the doors. Now every night after we give her the prednisone pill, she goes upstairs and gets comfortable in "her" chair, and no longer howls at all, day or night.

I don’t pretend to know why going upstairs has stopped her howling, but my feeling is that she got "lost" and disoriented on her way to our bedroom, and now she just goes directly to where she feels safe and knows where she is. Maybe the kitty needs to be placed in a safe sleeping spot where he (or she) would be content to stay during the night. (Sandy Rollins, Livermore, CA)

** In response to Dot Wedemeyer’s letter about her yowling cat, we too had a cat that would yowl at different times of the day, but mostly in the middle of the night all by herself. And, it sounds really pitiful, like she’s lost. Turned out our cat, who was 14 at the time, had an overactive thyroid, which is really quite common in older cats. Our vet said she has seen other cats with overactive thyroid do the same yowling, and she doesn’t quite know why except that they feel so hyper, that sometimes they have to let it out, and sometimes get kind of disoriented. If she has not had her cat checked for that, I would suggest it. It took some time, but after medication, she stopped the yowling entirely. (Sharon, cyberspace)

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166 Responses to “Why older cats YOWL (cry) at night”

  1. Pat in Antioch Says:

    My Samantha yowled quite a bit during her last few years. (She was 18 when she died.)
    She also had an overactive thyroid and was on medication for it, but that IS an interesting concept. I always thought she was just having a senior moment when that happened. She did it mainly at night. I’d usually find her looking confused so I always thought that she was “lost”. I’d point her in the direction I thought she might have been heading (litterbox or food dish as examples) & most times she’d follow through & then I’d take her off to bed with me. I know just how she felt…sometimes I wish I had someone to point ME in the right direction!! (“Now WHY did I come into this room?? :-)

  2. Nimik Says:

    My cat tabi does this lil crying in the night and day when no one is around. Shes Not old but had done it since we got her at 10 months of age. Now 6 she still does it. It just goes on and on and on until you have to go get her. You can even close your door at night or she’ll start with the high pictched meowing….lol But when she see’s you she’s goes “Mrrrp” =^..^=

  3. Sybil in CT Says:

    Our 14 year old cat yowls very loudly mostly in the evening or that is when we are home.
    He has had all blood tests within the last 3 months and the vet says that there is no medical reason for the yowling. We do shut him up at night but he yowls all evening and
    drives us crazy. If picked up he stops but when put down he starts again. he also wants to go in and out but stays out for 2 minutes and then wants in again. Any suggestions.

  4. April in Charlotte Says:

    Our 17 year old cat has begun howling loudly mostly at night, usually at the same times every night…around 3 and then 5 in the morning. She seems disoriented and quiets down if we put in bed with us. She also seems to be pretty deaf now, so we thought some of the loud howling may be due to her not being able to hear herself, along with being disoriented and not being able to find us. She’s a real sweetheart and I’m cherishing our last days together.

  5. Rita in Glencoe Says:

    My 18 year old cat yowls at the same time every morning at 4:00am. I’ve taken her to the vet and everything checks out so I don’t think overactive thyroid is the issue. Like other bloggers, my husband and I guess that she is unaware of what she is doing since her hearing is so impaired. Aside from the crying, she is a really sweet cat. Can anyone explain why the 4:00am time is the only part of the day that she yowls….if I could only add about two more hours onto that time she would make a great alarm clock!

  6. Tina Says:

    I feel less alone, reading about other cat “owners” whose cats yowl. I had an 18-year-old cat that yowled loudly and pitifully day and night. And also would want to be let out and immediately started yowling to come in. (She died eventually of renal failure.) Now, I have a 16-year-old cat who has just started yowling a few months ago. It happens during the day and at night. If I go to her, she stops and starts to purr. Sometimes, it seems to me, even if she hears me walking towards the room she’s in, she stops yowling. I haven’t had her checked medically. She appears healthy. And since the yowling stops when I go to her, I have been assuming it has to do with feeling alone—and maybe being confused and not realizing that I am nearby. I just want her last years with me to be happy ! Thank you for all your sharings.

  7. Gary Bogue Says:

    Tina: Please take your yowling kitty to see your veterinarian for a medical check. Yowling in older cats is often caused by an overactive thyroid … even though the cat may appear to be healthy. This problem can be corrected by medication.

  8. Audrie in FL Says:

    I am so happy I found this website.
    My 16 1/2 yr old Katey has thyroid and takes med for that. She also is renal impaired..but that is slowing progressing from her recent labs.
    She has started this yowling and ‘moaning’ sound at nite..2:30 am on and I find her standing in the middle of the living room OR she is on her favorite couch on the enclosed lanai..just vocalizing away. It is very annoying and I thought she was in pain. The vet said she could be dehydrated..her sodium level was up. We got a water dish fountain for her. The yowling isn’t as bad but she still does it..in the day too.

    I liked the idea from one of the gals to give the cat a specific little place to feel secure. That could help. I plan to close her on the lanai at nite with her blankies, water, little box, some food and see if this helps. She is very frail. 6 lbs and is a little calico. I think she gets disoriented too like others have mentioned with their cats.But I love her and want to help her as much as I can.

  9. Dawn Says:

    My cat will soon be 21 and he yowls, too. If he’s awake, he yowls. The only break we get is when he is asleep. He particularly howls directly into the water bowl (where it echoes). We call it talking to the water gods.

    Yes, he does have hyperthyroidism. We hoped that was our answer, but the medication has not reduced the yowling (despite frequent blood tests to check his levels). I have been told that by the vet that my cat has feline dementia and that it is fairly common in cats older than about 15 or 16. Smudge also has a heart murmur and threw a clot that caused a small stroke about four years ago. He’s on meds for those problems as well.

    It isn’t easy to endure the yowling (it has been about five years). I worry about whether he is in pain, though the vets say he’s not. He still eats, drinks, and eliminates well. He still loves to cuddle. He has some pills made into flavoured chews and he takes others in special foods: chicken, steak, ham, fish, anything that will make him swallow them!

    I’ve had him since he was just a few weeks old and thrown from a car window. He’s been with me half my life. As long as he is pain free and doing everything he needs to, I’ll put up with the noise. It does get better in the warmer months, but the winters sure feel long.

    Good luck to everyone,

  10. Kelly Says:

    Ahh thank god there are others going through this, we have a 12 year old ginger, she does have an overactive thyroid and is on tablets for this, but during the last month her crying has got so bad. Last night I was up every hour between 10am and 4pm, up for work at 6 I dont know what to do, ive had her in my arms at the end of the bed crying as well I feel helpless, people think im silly when I compare her to a baby crying at night. We live ina ground floor flat so she can go outside to the gardens when she wants, but I fear our neighbours hear its been a year and no-one has said anything yet, but its so bad.

  11. Anita Says:

    I feel much better! Peep is 17 and had a huge tumore removed a few months ago, which has totally grown back. She does exactly the same – yowls, LOUD, as though she’s suddenly lost or alone or in pain. But quickly purrs when gets a bit of loving attention. After reading this blog, I’m more OK with it- don’t think she’s in pain.

    And our other 15 year old is getting vocal even though her voice doesn’t carry so much.

    Strangley, this behavior makes them even more loveable…like they need us more than when they were such confident kitties.

    Long live our old yowling furballs!!

  12. Marilyn Says:

    My 16 1/2 year old tortoise shell calico is very vocal all the time! She yowls at any given time, except for when she is laying with me. She has an UNDERactive thyroid and is on meds for it. She yowls very loudly especially when she is near her water bowl, or first thing in the morning. She is also quiet when she is with her housemate who is only 6. She will only be quiet with me….nobody else will do!!!! Any suggestions?

  13. jenny Says:

    hi there r cats outside my house that cry like babies
    i dont know why they cry but they never leave from my stairs they kind of freak me out becouse they r black wild cat

  14. Tom Says:

    My two-cents-our 17-year old cat, Blackjack, cries after using the litter box and after meals. We surmise that he wants to let us know we’ve used the cat box so we can clean it out; haven’t been able to figure out why he yowls after meals-it goes on for about a minute, then he settles in for a cat nap…

  15. Gary Bogue Says:

    Tom:
    He may also cry because he hurts after eating and after using the litter box. Might be worth it to have your vet check Blackjack over to make sure there’s not a medical problem. /Gary

  16. Sue Says:

    My cat is 13 years old and does not like anyone in the family – except me. Since having the cat, we’ve lost her buddies – our dog and another cat, have had 2 children (which he will hiss at) There has been a lot of changes in Bear’s life. He has been howling in the middle of the night since our other cat passed away. This week, he has been coming into our bedroom and purring at the side of my bed. Bear will only come out of the basement when I am the only one around. He does come out of the basement to yowl at 4am every morning. I am concerned about the purring all of a sudden. He normally is aloof and has never been a very affectionate cat.

  17. bea Says:

    I’m glad I read this website. I have a brother & sister who are 15 and the female is doing this yowling. Now I know why. I know she is having problems with her eyes (very dilated but vet said she can still see) but I never thought about the hearing. I think, though, she can still hear..will have to test this. I will also find out about the thyroid. She does have some increased liver panels but is on low-proteing diet (advised by vet). Thanks everyone for your input; it made me feel a little better.

  18. Gary Bogue Says:

    Bea: Glad we could help. That’s the main reason this blog is here … to help people (and animals!). /Gary

  19. Bob Says:

    I have a 16+ year old Siamese kitty who has experienced a lot of changes in the last few years: a divorce resulted in four household members leaving, a move from a house to an apartment and then another move into a new house (with two new kitties and a dog), and she took to urinating and defecating in several places in the new house. She then began yowling loudly which triggered a trip to the Vet. The vet said that she was in the beginning stages of renal failure and placed her on a special diet (k/d).

    She now has her own litter box and we keep her separated from the other animals in a separate room. We have provided her with scratching boxes with catnip, a structure she can climb on, a bed of her own, and plenty of sunlight and airflow. She is still yowling though at various times during the day and night.

    My partner suggested that her quality of life is such that we ought to consider euthanizing her. She has lived a full life and it really isn’t fair keeping her cooped up in one room in the house all the time. We have taken her outside a few times so she can get some fresh air and direct sun, but the yowling continues.

    Is it time for me to let her go?

  20. Gary Bogue Says:

    Bob: You need to answer that question yourself. Ask your vet if she’s suffering. If yes, then it’s time. Ask yourself, “Am I keeping her alive for me, or for her?” You will know when it’s time.

  21. Karen Says:

    I have a year and a half old kitten. He’s adorable in every way EXCEPT the yowling. We are being driven crazy by him!!! I’ve even looked into the laryngotomy route. (I’m that desperate).

    I will try the thyroid testing as well as kidney function tests first.

    This kitten was left to die at the side of river embankment. Do you think the cat has some sort of anxiety due to that?

  22. Gary Bogue Says:

    Karen: You might also have them check the kitty’s hearing. Loss of hearing will sometimes cause the yowling reaction. Better to track down the cause rather than cut out the poor cat’s vocal cords so that it can continue to yowl in silence. That may solve your problem but it sure doesn’t do anything for the cat except add to its frustration. /Gary

  23. Lin Martin Says:

    I have a 17 yr old Persian who was diagnosed with kidney failure a yr ago. Her kidneys are now at 25% funtionality. She cries in the night and wanders. During the day, She goes into the bathrooms (all 3 of them) crying and then goes to her water dishes (one bottled water, one tap) and cries. Her litter box is in the laundry room with a spare in our master bath. I keep them clean and change them out regularly. She eats some day and not others. She urinates quite a bit and drinks water when she’s not crying at the dish. Is there pain associated with kidney failure?

  24. Gary Bogue Says:

    Lin:
    Is there pain associated with kidney failure? I don’t know. I suspect it varies from case to case. You need to discuss this with your veterinarian. /Gary

  25. Pegggie Says:

    I am so happy that I found this site. My old (19 years) has been gone awhile now. She started to yowl at times, no rhyme nor reason. The Vet had her on a kidney diet and pills for her renal failure, all else was normal. It seemed to me she was lonely or lost when she yowled. As soon as she was “found” the yowling stopped. I am just pleased to know it happens to others and we are not mistreating our old friends. I had her at home longer than either of my kids, in some ways she was my best friend and I will never forget her. Love you Merribelle.

  26. Trissy Says:

    I am so happy that there are others who are going through this. I have a calico who I named Gabryal. She is 14 now and I have had her since the day she was born. She is my first baby. I have had other family members and friends tell me that she is getting old and this howling is what they do when they are about to die! This has sent me into a panic and I have not had her checked out yet because I am scared of what the answer would be. I am afraid to hear that their opinions were right. If it just an over active thyroid I would be fine. SHe seems to be really healthy other than this. She eats and eliminates the same as always. Since she has grown older she plays a little less and loves to cuddle. However, as I said before she was my first baby. I now have a husband, two young children, and two dogs that she has to share my attention with. She used to sleep in our room but has stopped doing that since our 2 year old Yorkie moved in. When I hear her cry I just want to pick her up and bring her to bed with me but she freaks out as soon as she sees the dog. My poor baby Gaby.

    Well, thanks again for all your messages. They really helped out with my anxiety over this issue. I too cherish every day I have left with her no matter how long that may be.

  27. Gary Bogue Says:

    Trissy: OK, now that you’re over being frightened at what the veterinarian might tell you … it’s time to take Gabryal to the vet for a checkup so her problem can be dealt with. /Gary

  28. Brad B Says:

    My elderly cat (he’s somewhere between 18-20) started doing this about a year or so ago. He will go into an unoccupied room and howl. Sometimes he will stop on his own, sometimes I have to ask him to. It is a horrible noise I was recently on vacation and he apparently howled more than he usually does, causing my neighbors who were watching him great distress. They started putting Rescue Remedy in his water. It seems to have helped a little. He seem relatively healthy for his advanced age although he does seem to have some skeletal problems and he vomit’s on a fairly regular basis but he’s done that for most of his life.

    I had an almost 20 year old cat who died a few years ago and she did the same thing for a year or so before she died.

    I’m taking him to the vet but judging from everything I’ve read so far, I’m afraid they won’t be able to do anything. I suppose I could ignore it if I didn’t live in an apartment, I just don’t want the neighbors to have to hear it. Especially late at night.

  29. Ann Says:

    I’m so happy to read I’m not the only one going through this. My 19-year old tortoise-shell, Virginia, yowls day and night. She’s on thyroid medication, an antacid (to soothe her tummy) and an antihistamine (to keep up her appetite -she only weighs 5 lbs). I’ve had her since she was a year old stray.

    Her yowling is driving me CRAZY. The daytime I can manage but the 3 AM (last night it was 12:30 AM, 1 AM and 2:30 AM) are almost too much to take. Last night I seriously thought about the vocal cord thing. I live in a condo and worry about my neighbors, since I know I’M not getting any sleep.

    Unlike the other posters, Virginia will stand and look at me and yowl, so it’s not that she’s feeling alone or lost. She also yowls after eating and using her litter box. I love her dearly but I’m ready for her to go to that great litter box in the sky.

  30. Steph Says:

    I too am glad I found this board. I have had cats all my life (7 in total) and Bob aged 15 is the only one that does this. He has been doing it for a c ouple of years now. At first it was just when he came home from the cattery after we had been on holiday – he would run upstairs and then yowl and yowl, after a few days it would stop. However more recently, perhaps 6 months or so,he does it for no reason day and night. Common with other people’s comments he does not do this if we are in the room with him, but when he finds himself in the house in a room alone. It now seems probable, based on everyone else’s comments, that he is disorientated and will only stop yowling when close to us. I have been getting cross when it happens in the early hours and have been putting him outside but he simply yowls to come back in. Eventually settling on our bed to sleep again. I will now be more patient and reassure him when he is acting strange. Poor old soul is just suffering from dementia.

  31. Martina Says:

    my usual quiet indoors cat is only 8 years old and recently lost his friend & companion. He yowls day and night and hates to be alone. I let him out and now just wants to be let out. We have racoons in the backyard and I am fearful we will lose him as well. I’m at a total lost of what to do.

  32. Janis Says:

    I have a 14-year old tabby who had been yowling loudly, repeatedly at night for over six months. I took him to the vet, he seemed OK. The yowling continued, disturbing our sleep nightly. I looked in his mouth, saw his gums were enflamed, but he has gingivitis so this is nothing new. I pressed on his teeth. No apparent pain. However when I took him to the vet again, it turns out he had a huge abcess that was causing him so much pain, I can’t believe it went undetected. The vet was amazed. He removed the tooth, and now my cat is a happy camper. I have read much about midnight “yowling,” much of which gets blamed on old age and hyperthyroidism, both categories of which my cat is included, but none mention possible pain. Have your cat checked out thoroughly if this continues–my cat suffered for months unnecessarly.

  33. Janis Says:

    Martina–the choice is obvious. Get your cat a companion! I have three, and we lost one recently to cancer. They have each other, but I know they miss him. When the next one goes (a beloved favorite of all who is 15 so the day is coming) I will definitely get another cat to distract the others and keep them company. They need friends and companionship, too.

  34. Chipster Says:

    My 14 yr old tom cat was yowling nightly from tooth decay that was not readily visible.

  35. toni Says:

    Well, well, I see that I have plenty of company. I really thought that I was the only one listening to my cat yowl at night and during the day time too. She is soon to be sixteen years old and I still don’t see her as getting old. Interesting ideas though about hyperthyroidism, if the vet can give her a pill and the yowling disappears, I would be so greatful. I am truely loosing sleep. Maybe I am not doomed after all. I will have my cat checked out by the vet.

  36. Bonnie Says:

    I cannot believe that there are people out there going through what my husband and I have been experiencing. We had two cats and our one cat (male) “Mr. Meowghie” had to be put down in March. Our remaining cat (a calico) has been “yowling” any time between 2 and 6 am every day (night?)while we sleep (at times up to two hours straight). She is the sweetest most affectionate cat. She never made a peep in her 13 years — Mr. Meowhgi was the vocal one and ran the house. She is perfectly fine (although more affectionate) all day and evening long. But like clock work she sounds off. I call her to our bed (she’s usually next to my side of the bed) and coax her to let me pet her. Unbelievealbly what she “yowls” clearly is “HELL..0″ We originally thought a family member came into our house! It definitely would make America’s Funniest Home videos. Our attempt at filming her makes her stop (until we go back to sleep). Now we are just pulling our hair out. It is still clearly “Hello” but at this point we just want sleep!!! I can get up and feed her — it throws her off but eventually she’s back with ” HELLOW” You would have to hear it to believe it. WE JUST WANT TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! Again, she is the sweetest pussycat (even my huband tolerates it because of love). PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP!!

  37. Robbie Says:

    Yeah – I am not alone!
    My 18 year old Burmese yowls at 4am and deliberately goes into the bathroom where it sounds loudest. Six screaming yowls then she stops. She has early stage renal problems and is getting deaf as well but is otherwise very happy and as a burmese just loves being with people.
    Like othere the yowling is often after eating or using the litter tray but if you pick her up the yowling stops.
    it’s weird but starting to drive me crazy!

  38. IrishJrsyGirl Says:

    It is somehow comforting to know that others are experiencing the Yowling phenomenon too. Our 14 year old (who will be 15 on Friday 11/20) male Himalayan, Liam, does exactly what Robbie said, and goes into the bathroom to Yowl. In the beginning, we thought for sure he was in pain…but I could find nothing. There was no rhyme or reason (it didn’t happen after using litter box, or after eating or drinking, etc…) so then I started to think he was deliberately using the bathroom for the acoustics to make sure the Yowls were amplified, my whole family kinda made a joke out of it saying he just wanted to make sure he was being heard…but now he is also doing it in the hallway. I tested his sight & hearing and everything seems OK (I was beginning to think maybe his hearing was going & he was yowling just to hear himself or something). But because it just sounds so painful, we have decided to make the vet appointment this week. I will bring the knowledge I got here with me and ask for Thyroid tests, in addition to the senior workup.
    Our Liam is our only child..so we will do anything for him…I know he is up there in age & my hopes of him outliving us are just dreams, but we want to make sure the last years of his life are just as good as all the rest (and I am not judging anyone, but I can never imagine cutting his vocal chords..the yowling keeps me up at night, and I live in a condo too so I worry the neighbors will hear it…but I just can’t imagine going to that extreme). I want to thank you all for taking the time to share your stories…it helps to know we are not alone in this.

  39. Shannon Says:

    So glad you’ve kept this article up, Gary. My suspicions that my nearly 19 year old cat was suffering from senile dementia plus loss of hearing and/or vision seem to be confirmed. He gets a senior exam every 6 months so I doubt it’s a tooth problem or the vet would have found it. He is also already being treated for hyperthyroidism.

    I think I’m going to do more of bringing him into rooms with me to help make him feel less distressed, and make more of an effort to spend time with him. He has been with me nearly half my life and has seen me through some really bad times. I feel like I owe my fluffy little guy the best care I can give.

  40. Jenn Says:

    Mine is the same story and SO happy to hear it is not just us. (sorry everyone else) My 16 year old cat does the yowling anytime anyone leaves our home. If my husband leaves for work at 5am..the yowling starts. If I leave..same thing. Then at night…ohhhhh the sleep we miss. We have a 9 month old baby and was SO happy when he started sleeping threw the night only to have the cat start “crying”. She does it ALL night in our hallway. We all wake and start calling her name however she doesn’t seem to here us. Sometimes if I start snapping my fingers she will find her way to our bedroom them be quite for a few minutes once in our bed. Then is seems as soon as you fall back to sleep…BAM…Yowl Yowl. I guess she is just old from all the other things I have read. Yes, thyroid may be an issue but doesn’t seem like from the other blogs it has helped too much. Thanks for all of your posts. I will be thinking of you all as we spring out of bed and search for our cats at 3am. :)

  41. Battlecat Says:

    Our 18 year old cat is deaf and has started night howling recently. We now leave a light on for her so that she doesn’t get lost during her night prowlings around the apartment. It has helped SIGNIFICANTLY. Before we were waking up 5+ times a night to find her, comfort her and bring her into the bed. Now she may yowl once a night — much better. Also, she seems less stressed during the day. My theory is that she can’t see or hear very well and when there is no noise and no light, she gets increasingly freaked out and disoriented.

  42. Stacie Says:

    Hi, my Ragdoll is about 12, she started night yowling about 1 year (she was abou 2) after I adopted her from a shelter. She seemed to do this upstairs only back then in front of a window the moon shown thru. Well, about 6 years ago she began picking up her toys and walking around with them in her mouth while doing the yowling at night. Now, within this past year she does this during the early evenings with each toy a couple of times an evening. I always praise her sweet spirit each time I can, and she’ll drop the toy, and purr and be contented. Do you make anything out of this? Thanks.

  43. Carolyn Says:

    Our 18 year old cat, Buddy, started howling during the night a few months ago. For years, he’d sit in another room and “chirp”. When we’d go to him, he’s run away, stop, look back as if to say, “Come and get me. I want to play.” So we’d chase it around. It was actually kind of fun for him and us. Since he’s an indoor cat, it’s how he get is exercise! Then it turned into howling in the night. We thought he wanted new food, but that wasn’t always the case. Just like all of you, we find him downstairs on the couch, pick him up, bring him to bed, and he’d be fine. Or, he’ll be in the hallway, just outside the open bedroom door. We just recently asked our vet about it and she mentioned the possibility of thyroid problems. We’ll get him tested for that soon. We had thought the howling might be because he’s diabetic, but now he’s not. He was on insulin for a year, but he’s been off the insulin for about 2 months. Of course, we take him for a blood sugar test and weight check every few weeks. Seems cats can reverse it. Anyway, it’s not to find that we’re not the only ones with a howler!

  44. Jude Says:

    There seems to be a common theme for yowling in most of the comments made. i.e. dementia, senility, poor eyesight, poor hearing, renal problems, toileting in the wrong place,thyroidism etc. My cat is 18 now and presents many of the above problems which are related to old age anyway. He has had renal problems for the past 4 years diagnosed during tests following what appeared to be a fit. To my knowledge he hasn’t had any more until 30.12.09 when he had 2.Of course he may have had them and recovered without me knowing. The second fit occured when we got home after a night time visit to the vets because he had had what looked like a fit. He recovered quite quickly. The vet now thinks he is suffering from’epileptic type’ fits which may or may not reoccur. My cat yowls usually after he has eaten and has jumped back up onto his bed (a three seater settee complete with sheepskin blanket! – pampered or what??)Occasionally he yowls for no apparent reason but it doesn’t last very long which doesn’t fit in with what most people have been saying does it? He has been yowling for about 2 years or so. Perhaps his is just due to dementia or maybe he just wants us to know he still around.Whatever the reason, i’m just happy to have him still and rue the day we no longer do.

  45. Ned Says:

    Wow – I’ve read most of this page and feel better. Our cat Adrian turned 20 today but also had a period of about two hours of continuous yowling. He eventually settled down. He has been given 6 months to live due to potential liver cancer (spotted via ultrasound).

    Obviously yowling can mean many different things, and I have many ideas to try but I wouldn’t want to disable his vocal chords! Its a shame that selegiline cannot be used like with our old dog (was a life saver for all of us). At night, the yowling is obviously the most irritating. It used to mean that Adrian was ready to be fed (fresh food only) and now it just means that he’s confused or experiencing pain. The interesting idea I read was that digestion could be causing the pain. I’m going to switch his food gradually to see if that helps. Ulitimatly, we’ve bought ear plugs to at least reduce the noise.

  46. Rebecca Says:

    When my eldest daughter left home I encouraged her to leave her elderly Siamese at ‘home’ as a move might be traumatic. The cat seems content, although she plays less her appetite,drinking and litter habits appear normal. A check up revealed some slight arthritis but otherwise she’s great- in fact, the vet couldn’t believe she’s 18. However, at 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. she yowls and I find her sitting up straight in her bed. We placed a litter box in the den for her, as well as food and water. I know her vision and hearing aren’t what they used to be but she’s so healthy otherwise it doesn’t seem right to have her euthanized. As inconvenient as it is, I’ve begun getting up when she begins yowling, and bring her into my bedroom. The mrrp’s described by others is exactly what she says when I ‘find’ her. =) She also will come to find one of us and run to the room where she’d like us to follow her. I agree with the cat owner who posted how sweet it is to be needed by your pet. My kids and I are trying to accomodate her in her old age. Thanks for the site!

  47. sad Says:

    We have two littermates (one M one F) who I have had for almost 15 years, 8 of which has been with my wife. We got a third youngster 4 years ago after finding a litter of 5 with no mama (who we bottle fed from 2 weeks old!) – launched all but the last one who decided to try and take apart the old man on a constant basis about a year ago – pretty bad fights, stitches, etc. – so we have them separated in different parts of the house all the time. The old man has turned into a howler all night (and basically whenever he is not with a human)- and the bathroom (AKA echo chamber) is the preferred venue. For sure it is the same stuff – a little blind (dilated pupils), more than a little dementia from the behavior changes over the past year, basically just lonely now that we have him isolated so much, plus I have been traveling for work a lot lately – he misses his daddy. Now we are going to add a new baby to the mix and I am just ignoring the obvious that the old man’s quality of life is not good and getting worse (not to mention ours – sleep is a precious commodity even now and will only get more so). I know we have to put him to sleep soon but it is just really difficult. Comfort in numbers. Thanks for the forum.

  48. Carolyn Says:

    We added Ember to our ‘cat family’ and he was the youngest of 3. Now 14 years later, with the older ones gone and replaced by a couple youngsters, Ember is the ‘King Kitty’ of the family.

    He USED to be so happy-go-lucky and friendly to all, but in his old age he has become aggressive to the other cats, demanding, and noisy! At least that’s what I was thinking before I read all of your comments and advice. I am re-thinking my impatience now. I DOOO love him and we have our regular snuggle-sessions, but I need tolerance for the constant me-yowlings and some SLEEP! I too, have started using earplugs, but get ear infections with their regular use — so only resort to them occasionally.

    He HAS been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I thought the medication might be the magic-bullet to end all of our stress, but after less than a week, he started having seizures when he was on the drug! After taking him off it, the seizures stopped.

    Anyway, thank you all for helping me get my mind/spirit right; I THINK I can better deal with my friend’s problem now. Thanks for listening and sharing.

    PS: During today’s quest to understand his behavior, I found another website with some interesting facts about cat aging: http://www.messybeast.com/towards-end.htm
    Here is an excerpt that I found very helpful:
    “Older cats often become talkative, spending less time physically active and more time expressing their opinions. Some are seeking reassurance, but others take a chatty interest in your activities. Not only do they enjoy your company, they tell you how much they enjoy it! Some of the increased vocalization (especially increased volume) is due to deafness – the cat literally can’t hear himself speak.”.

  49. Catharine Says:

    I am so glad I googled cat howling and this was the first site I clicked on. My 16yr old tabby has been yowling and vocalizing for a few years now but it is getting worse and more often at night, even though she sleeps on our bed, if she gets up during the night usually 3-4am she will then start, sometime she’ll settle down, other times it goes on and on even if I try and bring her back to the bed. I will definitely get her looked at by the vet to see if there is anything medically wrong,and may try setting up a place for her in another part of our very small house. We have two other younger cats so there may be some territorial concerns there too. Thank you all for your comments. Sleep well!!!

  50. Catherder Says:

    Okay, so my cat isn’t the only one! Thank goodness! She’s 17 and has overactive thyroid and kidney disease (treating thyroid, which cured the heart murmor, and giving subq fluids 2x a week). She’s been keep us up between 3-5 am (that’s when I wake up). I will try to see if getting her is a good solution and will be purchasing some ear plugs. (Some times she is standing over her fur mousie so I think it’s also a “kitten” call. “Come, look what I caught for you!”) Gotta love them.

  51. Lydia Says:

    Does anyone have any homeopathic suggestions on how to treat our yowling kitties? I am definitely against drugs at this point in my cats life, but I need my sleep. She has been yowling for the past three years….

  52. Carol Says:

    I have a 11 year old ferol cat. We recently moved into a two story house and she has started to yowl and whale at all hours of the day and night and the sound is deafening. She seems in perfect health, eats fine, uses her litter box, doesn’t spray, etc. Eyes seem fine and so does her hearing. I have no idea why she has started this although she seems to do it at the top of the stairs and on the landing. I can’t imagine this has anything to do with it. Gary can you shed light on this or has anyone else experienced something similar?

  53. Brenda Says:

    Our 17 year old male cat starting yowling at night about four months ago. He yowls at the same time every night. It used to be 5:30 am, but now it’s 2:30 am every night. The veterinarian thought it might be due to his hyperthyroidism. He has been on medication for over a year for this. He is blind and his hearing is not as good as it was. I had his teeth checked for decay and it was difficult to check, but the veterinarian couldn’t find any bad teeth. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes just prior to the yowling. Now he is on Insulin. He may also have mild kidney disease, says the veterinarian. When he yowls, I lead him from our bedroom hallway down to the basement where he has his favorite blankets. I give him fresh water and food, then I go back to sleep. He doesn’t yowl after that. I’m still wondering if he has a bad tooth or is just confused and frightened a bit.

  54. Lisa Says:

    OMG! and I thought we were alone with this yowling issue!!! we have two Persians, one is 10 and one is 4. The 10 year old only meows when he wants to be picked up. The 4 year old has been yowling since we got him at 9 weeks old!! He’s been checked out by the vet and has no known medical issues. His sight and hearing are excellent. He hears so well, that when I go to pat the the 10 year old’s back, he comes running. I have finally decided that he is simply mentally impaired. He will yowl all night sometimes. You can call him to come up on the bed, and he will just sit beside the bed and yowl. Other times, he comes up on the bed all by himself and will be quiet. Then sometimes when he’s yowling, if you get him and PUT him on the bed, he stays for about 30 seconds and then gets down to yowl some more. Having two Persians, we have to vacuum all the time. If we miss a couple of days, he goes around and eats fur off the carpet. I have tried to find him another home, somebody who has a large house that it won’t bother so much.. our house is small and he keeps us awake every night. This is maddening because I’ve always had cats. I’ve probably had like 40 cats during my whole life, and I’ve NEVER had this issue before. At least I know now that it is more common than I thought.

  55. Mel Says:

    I know there are 54 posts that all kinda say the same thing but here’s mine lol Our 6ish yr old female yowls sooo loudly at night, its an un-nerving sort of sound that wakes us instantly. We have just lost our other cat so we think she must be pining and I fear her hearing must be gone as she reacts to nothing.

    We need a sollution as right now we have to get up out of bed and pick her up from the kitchen several times a night. As soon as she’s had her cuddle she happily leaves our room, only to Yowl an hour later.

  56. Linda Says:

    Add me to the list – my 16 year old red “morris-type” female cat has started to yowl – mostly at night. She also has hyperthyoidism (and is being treated and given tapazole). Interestingly, I often find her drinking water right before/after/during the yowling! I know her hearing has been going, and probably eyesight too, so I’ve started leaving a light on in the living room (where she usually sleeps) during the night, and it is helping quite a bit. I don’t think she is in any pain, and swallowing isn’t the problem (despite often seen drinking after the yowls), since she doesn’t do it during the day or while eating. Perhaps after making those yowls she gets thirsty/sore throat – I would too – making that much of a yell! I’ve also heard a yowl and found her elsewhere, looking a bit disoriented. But when I show up she immediately becomes re-oriented, normal, and follows me and stops yowling.
    So overall I’m thinking the yowling is kind of a combination of a slight bit of dementia, hypertyroidism, and maybe just a natural cat tendency to mew/yowl that young cats don’t have, but older ones do!
    A previous female cat was also a yowler – but – not to this extent – when she got “elderly” – starting at maybe 15 – but she lived to be 20! So I don’t think the yowling necessitates that a cat is on its last legs (thank goodness – cause I’ve had this kitty since kittenhood and dearly love her).
    Like previous posters, it seems that if I show up to pet her after the yowling, she settles down, perhaps comforted or re-oriented somehow, and purring immediately ensues. And the yowling ceases for a long time (like hours or maybe the rest of the night).
    So whatever it is, or whatever causes, I’m of the opinion if a cat is basically healthy, and maybe getting “elderly”, the cat isn’t in pain, just yowling for whatever reason.
    But definitely if your cat starts yowling at night, you might want to have the vet check the thyroid as the first possible contributing cause.

  57. Natasha Says:

    We have a 14 year old male, neutered persian. He has been a howler his whole life and we can only conclude he is an attention seeker and likes to chat. He howls day and night, a whiny howl like a baby. We recently moved to another country and he was fine the first few weeks but then went on a hunger strike, lost alot of weight, refused water. So we had to re-hydrate him and force-feed him . All blood work was normal. After a few days he made a miraculous recovery and has been eating+drinking like a little pig!! We concluded again he was just seeking attention and adapting to the move.

    His mum is 15 and has slight renal disfunction. She seemed to have adapted well to the move, has been purring a lot and enjoys rolling in the sun. She’s been eating normal, etc. and their doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with eyesight and hearing. She tends to walk a bit slow but when it suits her she will run around without problems. Now, the odd thing is that for the past couple of weeks she has been yowling at 4 AM on many nights. I immediately get out of bed to find her siting near the water bowl. I take her back to bed and she is fine after this. I am wondering if she is confused or if she could be in pain? These are my babies and I would do just about anything for them!

  58. L. C Says:

    In my 30 years of owning cats. I have had many senile older cats one 19 and one 18 that YOWL. In my experience it is kidney disease and they are EXTREMELY thirsty and can’t quenchtheir thirst. Subcutaneous fluids should be administered. It happens in the later stages of kidney disease. The cat needs to be rehydrated. A vet can provide you with instruction on how to maintain subcutaneous fluids for a time. At the end they will absorb all the water you administer right away and you cannot hold the water in their tissues very well at all and you must decide when to let them go.

  59. Cathy Says:

    Our kitty, Schmoe, is 16. He’s been yowling for about 6 months now. It seems that just as we drift off to sleep, he starts! So either my husband or I get up and go after him. We find him in the middle of the living/dining room sort of dazed and confused, but as soon as we call him, he comes running & is all happy to see us. We’ve had our handsome boy since he was a baby. I just attribute this to age…people too get more vocal with age (I know we have) so I figure my furball is the same. However, I am so happy to know that we are not the only ones dealing with this.

  60. marlene libby Says:

    I recently took in a stray neutered male FIV positive– over a year old. He is yowling day and night, my other two cats M & F 8 yrs. old are almost getting used to him…but I am thinking of letting him back out and keeping him as a part in/outdoor cat. I’m afraid he has more of a chance getting an infections being in the elements (cat fights, etc.) Do you have any suggestion as to how to fix this yowling. I work and need sleep . . .badly!

  61. Ina Says:

    Thank goodness I found this site! My 18 year old tortie, Tess, has been yowling very loudly (so much so it sets the hairs on the back of my neck on end!) for the last few months. She is totally deaf and probably going a little bit senile. She seems to yowl after eating, drinking, using the litter tray – or generally when she re-enters a room. As soon as you pet her she purrs quite happily and will curl up for a sleep. She doesn’t do it so much at night, but afternoons and evenings are the worst. Other than this she is fit and healthy – and very sociable. Now we have got used to the blood curdling yowling it’s not so bad, but I do wish she’d stop….

  62. Sue Says:

    I’ve had Siamese in my home for over 42 years now. I bred and showed them so I have had many here. We are now down to the last one of the group of cats we kept when we stopped. Jo just turned 18 a few weeks ago. Out of the original 6 cats living here she is the last one. One month ago we lost a 17 yr old, Alfie, to cancer. He started to howl about a year ago and would go down to our basement to vocalize..our thinking was like others, better acoustics.:-) Jo has now taken up the same “howling” techniques as her brother..but her choice of locations is our hallway outside our bedroom.
    There is nothing -quite like- a Siamese “yodeling” in your hallway at 4 a.m. We too seem to think that she is “lost” or calling others. My thoughts also are the same as the others have said here..feline dememtia, coupled with failing eyesight and hearing. She follows the same pattern too. Pick her up and she stops and starts to purr very loudly, is very content.During the day she sleeps long periods of time but when she awakes will start her singing..mostly at night. Our Vet also has suggested it could be hyperthyroidism, so we will be having her checked soon. I also should mention that she had some nerological problems about
    two years ago…possibly a small stroke that she recovered from. She also suffers from very short periods of head “shaking” that I believe are tiny seizures. That leads us to believe she might have a possible brain tumor. Her quality of life is still very good. She has no problems with appetite, weight loss or inappropriate elimination. When active often has times where she loves to run through the house..
    We love her -dearly- and will tolerate her moments of singing as long as she stays healthy and alert. No new kittens until she leaves us, we owe her -her time- with us and our undivided attention to her.
    Thanks everyone for letting us know we are not alone.

  63. Terri Says:

    I have a 13 1/2 year old Seal Point Siamese who I rescued at 3 yrs old. As my previous cats, who all ended being called some variation of Kitty, this cat as also assumed the nickname Kee Kee. I noticed in the past months significant weight loss and recently had blood work done. It came back perfect, however in the last 2 weeks she has appeared very legthargic and dehydrated. The howling has also begun in the middle of the night. The vet did not notice any hearing or vision issues. Kitty does howl in random areas of the house, then comes to me and crys. A quick pat helps for a few minutes, then it starts again. A visit to the vet yesterday got her a fluid sack and a B-12 shot, but she is not very interested in the new, expensive cat food I purchased for her. She seems somewhat interested in the wet food I got her, though she is still dangerously thin. Although she is not as old as some cats in the stories shared, it sounds like, and in my heart feels like she is at the beginning of the end. I hope I can make her comfortable for how ever long she has.

  64. Michelle Maida Says:

    My 17 year tuxedo is in escellent health. He is on thyroid meds which kept him calm for a month or two. He starts crying between 3 and 4 am and will not stop. His hearing is great, he is not disoriented (I have a blind deaf 17 year old as well who yowls but she is definitely lost when she does this)but simply wants us to get up and be with him, wnats to wkae up the blind deaf litty who is now scared to deat of him, give him water to “play” with aka splash all over the wood floors. It is driving us carzy. He is my boy and is solid and healthy but we are not sleeping. Even when we put him downstairs and shut the door we can hear him. It is crying, not yowling. Husband ready to bolt! What to do??

  65. Vicki Bautch Says:

    I’ve had Bella since she was 8 weeks old. She is now 16. I, like most of you, am experiencing crying almost all the time. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, purrs, loves to be cuddled, but cry’s a lot. I’ve even gotten to sleeping on the couch, to keep her quiet. She used to go to bed with me, and sleep around my neck, but now she gets out of bed, and howls around the house, till she settles down and go into her basket. I know Siamese cats are very smart, but now I think her eyesight is going on her. She is also starting to eat more and having trouble with pooping. I don’t want to think of putting her down, she still seems healthy, just old. Gave her Kitty Lax, some times she goes in her litter box, sometimes she doesn’t. I’m just glad when she goes. If anyone has any advice, please let me know. It will break my heart to loose her.

  66. Annette Bushkin Says:

    It’s certainly comforting knowing that the cat yowling phenomenon is a common occurence in aging cats. My almost 18 year old male tabby, Nikki, who is on thyroid medication just recentley started yowling in the wee hours of the morning. At that hour, he generally sits by the sink which I leave on a slow drip just for him. Sometimes he is starring at his empty cat dish. Surprisingly, his hearing and eyesight are still functioning normally. He ‘s drinking and eating a lot more, however, he’s unable to gain any weight. I’ve also noticed that he is not eating his dry food, and that may be an indication of some dental problems. I did solve his constipation problems by adding a little BeneFiber in his moist cat food once a day. That makes such a big difference.

  67. Diana Walsinger Says:

    Same story…our 14 year old Tortie yowls within about an hour of our going to bed. She does so from the living room. Once she is called, she beelines it to her fav bedroom spot with her original person. She just started this over the three years. She eats well, drinks water, uses the litter box just fine. The rest of the day and evening she makes no sounds and seems quite happy hanging out with us.

    We have moved to three different homes in the last three years. Could this be it? It started shortly after the first move. Could just be disoriented? She only does one performance per night, and then sleeps and plays the rest of the night (some of her toys are found in bed).

  68. Kerri layne Pearson Says:

    I have a 21 year old part Siamese who has always been a “talker” but now yowlsmostly at night he is very healthy and has beautiful teeth. I notice he is quite hard of hearing, but if you pick him up he immediately starts to purr. I believe he is nocturnal and because he sleeps so much he just wants company, although is really loud and annoying when you’re trying to sleep, I just bring him on the bed and he stops.:)

  69. Stefanie Says:

    My 17 year old tabby was diagnosed with hyper thyroid and also started to yeowl night and day. She is also hard of hearing. She could not tolerate the meds to treat the thyroid problem so has had both of the neck thyroid glands removed over the past 1 1/2 years. Apparently cats have thyroid tissue in their chest and can still produce the necessary hormone without the two primary neck glands. Unfortunately shortly following her second surgery her ‘revved’ up behavior returned. One thing I do is always have plenty of dry food available and I feed her 3-4 meals of wet food/day. Hyper thyroid makes them very hungry and I think sometimes she cries because of that. The other thing I do is give her melatonin at night right before bed. Some nights she is restful and quiet all night. Other nights she does get up and yells a little bit. This has been a hard time for us with a new baby and the need for everyone to get as much quality sleep. When I have had a few difficult nights I do put her in an upstairs bathroom with everything she needs. I miss having my pal snuggled next to me and hope she does not feel hurt by the seclusion. It is a relief to read so many similar stories. Wish you and your furry friends a peaceful night!

  70. Melanie Says:

    I am the newest member to this not so exclusive club!

    My 17 year old tortie is hyperthyroid and on homeopathic meds. It’s only been a week and a half so no change in behaviour yet. Her vision and hearing is fine. No evidence of tooth decay. The yowling happens at 2 am and 4:30 am ish, as well as after eating and drinking.

    The only thing common in the 69 posts before mine is the age of the cat and querying hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, treating the hyperthyroidism doesn’t seem to address the problem.

    Perhaps this is a senility issue and we should encourage any activity or supplement that protects a cat’s brain. I suspect that after the yowling begins it may be too late.

    If anyone has discovered ear plugs that insulate a human from yowling then please post! Thanks and best wishes to all of you.

  71. Wesley B Says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone.

    I had a 17+ year old mutt (mostly Russian blue) who yowled for 2 years. His trigger seemed to be my going to bed. About 5-10 minutes after I went upstairs and the lights went out–there he goes, EVERY night, like clockwork. Sometimes 10:00 PM, sometimes 1:00 AM, it was lights out that triggered it. For about five minutes straight he would sit downstairs and yowl before coming up and getting in bed with me. Though sick toward the end, he wasn’t when he started.

    He passed about a week ago and the *next day* my 15 year old tabby started yowling. Again, she’s in perfect health (little chubby perhaps). She doesn’t seem to have a trigger except she only does it after dark. She’ll jump out of my lap walk upstairs and start yowling, coming back down a few minutes later and getting back in my lap. She’s done it at least once every day since he died.

    Both only do/did it when alone (walk in and they’d stop), after dark, and both started at around age 15 while in apparently perfect health. He was a male, she’s, well, not. He had a clear trigger, she doesn’t seem to. Both were fixed and neither were only cats for most of their lives (though he did it when they were both alive and she’s only started since his passing).

    Such a strange phenomenon. And so common to aging cats it seems. Fascinating.

  72. judy trattner Says:

    How can I forward this to a friend: gretchenbunn@gmail.com It heped onsiderably. I thank you. Judy Trattner

  73. Vicki Bautch Says:

    Back again. Bella is now starting to lose her balance, she is starting to fall off the counter where her food is. I keep thinking she is losing more of her eyesight, but the crying is starting to drive my husband nuts! He keeps telling me it’s time to take her in, but I keep saying she is just old, and don’t put her down because of it. I can’t put her food on the floor because of the dog, but I don’t want to be blind enough to see the truth. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, just wants to be with me and quiets down in my lap. Also, started to go back to bed with me, and lay around my neck, as she always had done (makes me worry about that she’s telling me she’s ready to go?) I’m lost and scared, and getting ready for a major heart break. Any thoughts?? Is my husband right, or am I just trying to hold on to my beloved friend whom I wouldn’t want to suffer, but don’t want to lose.

  74. Vicki Bautch Says:

    Forgot to mention, my husband works 3rd shift, and the counter is in line with the couch, so Bella just hops along the couch and onto the counter. Glad you are all here at least to type to.

  75. kayvo Says:

    Vicki- Please take Bella to the vet for a check-up. I know you don’t want to hear what they may have to say, but you have no way of knowing what may or may not be wrong with her on your own. I hope she’s just getting older but she may be suffering. I’ve also had my cat for 16 years, and although the thought of losing her breaks my heart, I wouldn’t want her to suffer for me. I hope that everything turns out okay. Good luck.

  76. andie Says:

    My 17 year old has begun howling when i am not around.
    she was never one for “close” companionship until she reached around 14 years old. now she want’s to be around me alot.
    she has just started this new howling. it’s very strange hollow sound.
    glad to hear i’m not the only one out here.
    she seems to be in good health other than this. and she is always happy when i go check on her.
    (who’s training who????)

  77. DK Says:

    My 12 year old female cat, Fritty, has been “yowling” for me at night for several years. Sometimes she calls me in the evening but it’s mostly at night. It sounds like she is lonely and sad. She always calls me until I go in my bedroom (where she stays all the time). After I go in there at bedtime, she stops yowling. This has been our routine for years. She is very playful and seems very happy for such an old cat. I keep my electric blanket on all the time now and she LOVES is! She gets furballs sometimes but other than that she is fine.

  78. Lisa D Says:

    Wow…I had no idea sooooo many people were going through the same thing as me! My cat, Sadie, who is turning 16 in April has taken to YOWLING also. It’s been about 5 months now. It’s the same kind of yowl she does when she goes anywhere in the car…VERY ANNOYING!!! She does it all night long pretty much.

  79. SJ Says:

    My cat is 5 years old we’ve had her since birth. Her momma cat died a few years ago. She yowls mostly at night and will pick things up with her mouth and carry them from upstairs downstairs and drop them. Its so weird we have 4 cats and she is the only one who does it. Why do they do this? I have tried to figure it out for awhile and she is fixed so I know its not the in heat yowl.

  80. Kelley Says:

    My 10 year old femaile grey tortie Pidgen is such a sweetheart. She’s always been active and playful, always good around other pets, both cats and dogs, and loves to cuddle. Pidgen came straight from a barn litter, so I truly believe there’s a chance she is imbred…which makes me think dementia?

    Over the summer I relocated and she had to move a couple of times before we were both settled – I’m sure her constant yowling is somewhat stress related. My new roommate loves her nearly as much as I do – Pidgen is affectionate and a little clumsy which amuses us to no end. Pidgen’s been yowling since we moved into this new residence, as I said we assumed it was stress related and I took her to the vet. She doesn’t seem to exhibit signs of thyroid problems but based on some symptoms I’ve been reading about here I’m certainly going to pay closer attention and have her checked out regardless.

    The comments about seeming “lost” or disoriented really struck home. We have a small two bedroom one bathroom apartment, with her litterbox in the the utility room. She’ll be sleeping on my lap or next to me one minute, and the next will get up and walk into my bedroom or the bathroom and start to yodel. After reading these posts I’m starting to think her hearing is going, and I’m going to pay more attention to how loud I have to be when I get her attention – she comes running when I call her and everythings fine, until she wanders off again.

    Pidgen is still very active, playing with her fuzzy mice and chasing milk jug rings around the carpet. She loves looking out the windows to watch the birds and squirrels and twitters like I would expect when she sees them – but the all night (and day) yowling is getting to be a lot. I don’t think 10 years is old in cat years, but for her maybe it is. I definitely have a list of things I want to talk over with the vet and make sure there are no health concerns. In the meantime, my roommate is more than willing to get a “companion” kitty if Pidgen is found healthy…maybe she just needs some additional company. :)

  81. Barbara Says:

    I yowled with delight at finding this site and on reading some of the postings. Now I know what I have to look forward to.

    My 17 year old female started yowling about a year ago. As best as I can tell, she does it right after using the litter box (day or night) but not every time. She gives about 6-7 good yowls and then she is done until the next time. A few times I saw her yowling into the water bowl in the hallway which is right outside the room where the litter box is.

    At first I was worried that she might have a thyroid problem based on what other sites suggested so I had her checked out and after running the usual tests, the vet said she is fine and that elderly cats tend to vocalize more, etc. etc., consistent with what other websites say.

    I am searching the web again because as I heard her yowl this morning, I thought that it just doesn’t seem right that a cat (elderly or not) would emit such a loud, mournful cry without something being wrong– physiologically or psychologically. My biggest concern is that she might be in pain and that with a simple change of diet or medication, she would not do this.

    I am going to try to rule out undetected digestive issues since for the moment her yowling is mostly connected to litter box use. Of course, as I am typing this, she made a few small yowls while lying on the bed. I will need to observe when/where a bit more. My other elderly cat is 16 years old and I have heard her yowl once so far…

    For those of you who have to endure hours of yowling for no apparent reason (not hyperthyroidism, renal problems, grief over loss, poor eyesight/hearing or momentary disorientation), I feel for you and hope that there might be some relief for you soon. I am still intrigued and wonder if the older cats experience short-term lapses in memory causing frequent disorientation. That might explain why they stop when cuddled and then start an hour later or start in the middle of the night, perhaps when they wake up or the no apparent reason thing. This theory doesn’t explain why younger kitties yowl (or what to do about it). Good luck to you. In the meantime, I am going stock up on my sleep.

    And Gary, many thanks for this blog. I found reading others’ experiences so helpful.

    Barbara

  82. Lisa H. Says:

    OMG…my cat Balou is about 12 years old and likes to groan a lot. Theres a few issues going on I dont understand. He has a small Siamese named Chai to keep him company, i got him especially for Balou. But the groaning wont stop. So now i gotta make him a geriatric cat bed in my room i guess. I can’t sleep with him cuz he’s way too furry. We’re talking fur mats just with one sit. Its strange but i guess i understand, cats are very social and they all have their funky behaviors. Between the two of them i dont know which is worse, his groaning or Chai’s meowing in morning for breakfast. Doesn’t that drive you guyz crazy? What was i thinking?

  83. Jim Says:

    Honey is turning 18 next week–she’s a sweet, loving tonkinese…one of our 3 tonks. She started howling about a year ago and it has increased in intensity and number of times a day she does it. She is on thryoid medication for an overactive thyroid (seems to be one common theme) and is going deaf(another theme. But she is driving us crazy…anytime she is out of sight of us, day or night, she starts howling–an amazingly loud howl for a 6 lb cat. As soon as she sees us or we pick her up, she is loving and instantly purring. We are starting to believe it’s feline dementia. She has no trouble eating/drinking or using the litter box and the vet has run all kinds of tests–and she is physically fine. My chief concern is that she is not in pain…and that turly does not seem to be the case. She’s just getting old, and wants to be near us all the time. So we’ll just love her, feed her, and take care of her the best we can—and put up with the howling. Glad to see others are in the same boat…this is appparently very common…so we feel better that Honey is just acting like many old cats do. Thanks for sharing everyone!!

  84. Michelle Says:

    Oh, I am so glad to have found these postings! Our cat is 18 and has started the yowling. He has always been quite vocal but it has gotten significantly worse in the past few months. He expects me to get up at the same time on the weekends as I do on work days and is on the bed and yowling and walking all over me to get me up. He is not in pain and is happy when he is on our lap or hholding him. :) After reading these posts, I am wondering about the thyroid issue. He had an underactive thyroid and takes meds for it. Maybe it’s too much? I know that I should take him back to the vet but it is almost impossible due to his behavior. It took the vet and four technicians to handle him at the last visit. Horrifying for all involved! I will continue to watch these postings…thanks for sharing.

  85. Gillian Says:

    I am so relieved I am not alone with my yowling cat. Simba is almost 16 y.o. and has been yowling for 2+ years now. It began when I would travel for a week or more at a time. But recently it is ALL OF THE TIME. If Sim’s isn’t sleeping, he’s yowling. He was at the vet recently but everything was fine. I think I will check back with the thyroid.

    I have had some luck with a heated cat bed. He is much more comfortable, esp during the winter months. I would highly recommend one to anyone. I think it has given him a safe and comfy spot in the house.

    Other sites I have been on said to ignore the yowling at all costs because it is done out of attention seeking, but it is so sad I can’t bare to ignore him. Esp not if he is experiencing dementia in his older age.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing!

  86. Sally Says:

    Our three cats – mother and two daughters – all started yowling when there were about 16 years old. We have one surviving, and she will be 19 next month. The others died aged 18, one of respiratory disease and the other of a thrombosis.

    Our remaining cat is yowling more and more now. She makes the most incredible noises, day and night, usually when we are not in the room but not always. The only thing that stops her is when we pick her up for a cuddle, or at night when she jumps onto the bed with us.

    Sometimes my partner makes similar noises back at her, they can have quite a long conversation …

    She is quite healthy, not deaf or blind, eats and drinks normally. She does get a bit disoriented at times and I think that´s what causes the yowling. I guess it´s just one of the things that you have to put up with if you are lucky enough to have your cat survive to a ripe old age!

  87. Sandy Rollins Says:

    I have a 2 1/2 yr. old Persian spayed female. When she came into our home as a kitten, we had two older cats and one about 2 yrs old. She got along OK with the older cats, and really took to the youngest one. They played together and were good friends. That cat belonged to our grandson who lived with us at the time. He recently moved and took the cat with him. Now our cat howls half the night and sometimes during the day. Can she possibly be missing the other cat? Our grandson said his cat yowled all night for the first week, but now is doing fine. Tonight she led me to the front door, and when I opened it, she went right out and started sniffing. This cat has never gone outside in her life, but the missing cat did every day and came in through that door. She would come to the door and meow, and we’d go let her in. She never left our yard though, and my little one went sniffing into all the places she used to go. I can’t imagine cats having these kinds of feelings, but I wouldn’t put anything past them. She’s young and I doubt it’s medical, although I will take her to the vet if it goes on much longer. Anyone have this happen to them?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  88. Dana Says:

    I have a 19 yr old kitty who is on meds for hyperthyroid and high blood pressure. She loves to howl all hours of the day and night, really loud too. This is a problem because I work a midnight to noon schedule. I actually bought one of those ultrasonic bark control devices that emits a sound that humans cannot hear, and it has toned her down quite a bit. She still howls, but after a couple of loud ones that set it off she turns down the volume to her “inside” voice.

  89. irene Says:

    @Sandy Rollins:
    A long time ago, my oldest cat, Scooter died at 17 & her best cuddle-bug, Sneakers (She was 14 at the time), sniffed the house up and down looking for her. Yes, they will miss their house-mates & will look for them. A couple of suggestions is keep her busy, play with her cuddle her more or possibly (if you’re up to it) introduce a new friend. We have a multi-cat household & if the cats are used to other cats, MOST new comers take little time to adjust & vice-versa.
    Right now, my eldest cat, Bandit, howls just about every night…She’s 15 years old & the 2nd cat I ever had that did this & I’ve had many kitties live with me! She seems confused and lonely, and when we call her to come to bed, she quiets down to sleep…
    But, really! She sounds like a fire engine siren…
    We’ve tried a squirt bottle..it works, but only temporary… and I don’t like using it on her because I don’t feel it’s bad behaviour…so we’ve stopped. We’ve tried feeding her another good snack at bedtime to see if it wasn’t because she was peckish.. that didn’t work (but she was happy about the extra treat!)… so I think it’s partly dementia and old age setting in. She’s still 100% healthy in every other aspect, and way cuddlier than before. Lots of TLC for my old gal!

  90. Wesley B Says:

    @ SJ
    “She yowls mostly at night and will pick things up with her mouth and carry them from upstairs downstairs and drop them.”

    I forgot all about this!
    My older cat that died would do this on occasion. We had two orange fuzzy dice and he would move them about every other week up or down stairs and put them together. If we separated them, he’d put them back together within a day. I didn’t necessarily associate it with the yowling, but on several occasions we’d catch him with the die hanging out one side of his mouth and him yowling out the other.

  91. Amy Davisson Says:

    Hi everyone! I have an 18 year old persian cat. She
    used to howl very loud every night also! We
    started leaving a night light on for her. She has
    not howled since! It has really helped her. I think
    she would forget where she was at night and it
    frighten her. I hope this helps someone out there
    with their howling cat.

  92. Kevin Says:

    When our black cat (Dubh) got older he yowled. Now our gray cats (Annie and Bonnie, who were a few years younger) are doing it. Does seem to be an old-age thing. Happens mostly after dark, and they are usually upstairs (where we are not) or in the hallway. They usually stop when we call them (saying, “we’re in here, silly!”). They all seemed otherwise healthy. Maybe it is a bit of dementia. I think I’ll put out one more water dish, in case dehydration is involved.

  93. Diane Says:

    Wow, seeing this site saved my sanity. I have a 19 year-old cat who I took in from outside 1.5 years ago after an animal injured her eye so badly, it had to be removed. She is also very hyperthyroid but is on meds for it. Two vets could find no reason for the loud howling. SHE KEEPS ME UP ALL NIGHT NOW!! She yowls SO LOUD especially after using the litter box and after eating. I sleep with wads of those silicone earplugs — I cannot hear my alarm clock go off in the am with those but I can still hear HER. I will try the Rescue Remedy in the water and see if that helps. I bought a phermone diffuser, but she just stands next to it and yowls and howls her lungs out. The problem with her is that she picked up feral cat behavior living outside in a feral colony for so long so, while she LOVES being pet, her first instinct is to run away from me when I approach so she doesn’t get any petting and then is sorry she didn’t when I return to bed. I have another big cat, but he gets tired of getting up and going to her all the time so he just keeps sleeping now. I will also try the night light someone mentioned!! THANK YOU, Everyone! Nice to know I am not suffering alone.

  94. Patricia Says:

    Wow! I’m so happy to have found this blog. My 16 year old Himalayan started howling at night about 6 months ago. Since then she’s been to the vet a couple of times – outside of a bladder infection that he treated with antibiotics he could find nothing wrong with her. She is on K/D dry now since she was born with only one kidney (which I’ve been told is common in persians). She’s my second himalayan with just one kidney – the first had to be put down at around 6 or 7 due to kidney failure. This one seems fine and we can find no real reason for the howling. She does it only at night after I’ve gone to bed and stops if I call her and get her to come to bed. A few times she woke me up by sitting beside the bed and howling then she’d jump up on the bed and curl up if I called to her. I’ve read about the ones suffering dementia and this could well be what’s happening. I’ve had this cat since she was only a few weeks old. I want to do whatever I can to help her. I’m retired and living alone – its going to seem awfully empty after she’s gone.

  95. Deb Says:

    Ack we haven’t had decent sleep in 2 months. Our 17 year old part maine coon cat Lucy has started doing the long, gutteral sounding yowling now. She does it during the days and will go into our sons room that has a baby monitor in it and gets her yowling going through the house. Want to talk about loud? Try having it broadcast into 2 other rooms also. After reading the posts maybe I should get her thyroid checked out. I have had many cats in my life but never one that lived as long as her. Thanks for posting everyone. I don’t feel so alone!

  96. Jenifer Says:

    My 12 year old female recently lost her lover she’s known all her life. He passed away of kidney issues in November. I rescued another cat a couple months after he passed as I wanted her to have a companion, though she is not liking this new young cat at all. She does not wantt o sleep with me as the new cat does and she doesn’t like to be around him. It saddens me very much. About 2 months ago now, she began the loud howling/yowling. It’s only around 3-5am… never during the day,she still likes to play fom time to time and be held and very affectionate when she knows she’s about to be fed. I see many people are speaking of the hyperthyroid and will see if that could be an issue..?? I’m certain she misses her long time partner. I am just very confused as to why it’s only at night and when i wake to go comfort her, she starts snagging the carpet and just walks away from me or rubs up against my leg and then walks away..??

  97. JANICE QUALLICH Says:

    MY 20 YR OLD RUSSIAN BLUE STARTING THE LOUD YOWLING A YEAR AGO AFTER HER CAT MATE PAST AFTER 19 YRS TOGETHER. I FIGURED IT WAS LONELINESS. AFTER READING ALL THE POST HERE TODAY. I HAVE CONCLUDED THAT YES SHE IS LONELY, YES SHE IS OLD, AND YES I WILL TRY THE VET, THE NIGHT LIGHT, THE COZZY SAFE PLACE AND LET YOU KNOW IF THE YOWLING STOPS AT 4:30 IN THE MORNING. GOOD NIGHT ALL.

  98. Nancy Botero Says:

    OMG-my 18 yr old female cat started yowling almost 4 years ago. She was treated for a hyperactive thyroid when she was 8 (radioactive iodine treatment) and has been fine ever since. She is almost deaf, so I originally thought she yowled to try to hear herself, but after reading these posts it might be linked to kidney disease. I am curious to find out if anyone has sought a successful treatment? For me, it’s Ambien and ear plugs- any ideas for my cat?

  99. Tracy Sanders Says:

    HI EVERYONE, MY CAT IS 12 AND A HALF YEARS OLD AND SHE STARTED YOWLING LATE LAST YEAR IN THE NIGHT, AFTER LIGHTS OUT. SHE ALWAYS STARTS OUT ON THE BED AND ONCE THE LIGHT IS TURNED OFF, WITHIN FIVE/ TEN MINUTES SHE WILL GET OFF AND COME OUT INTO THE LOUNGE AND START YOWLING. I WILL TRY A PROPER NIGHT LIGHT. I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE A ‘MOTHERLY’ THING, BUT NOW I’M NOT SO SURE.

  100. DLT88 Says:

    An animal behaviorist might help some of these cases. I tried one after my senior cat was yowling so loudly day and night — no vet could find a reason for it. She was also hyperthyroid and on meds. Working with the behaviorist, her yowling periods seem shorter than they used to be but I only started a week ago. She yowls for 2 reasons — one is attention (easier to remedy) and the other is senior confusion (harder to remedy) but there are many things to try for both. I’m working on it. I don’t want to get addicted to those little 5-Hour energy drinks every morning and have earplugs always on my shopping list.

  101. Barbara Says:

    Note to Tracy: Just a suggestion — considering the yowling is relative to lights out it might be kitty cognitive dysfunction (Alzheimer’s). I’d have a Vet go through process of elimination to rule out kidney disease, hyperactive thyroid, etc. You’d want to intervene before anything progresses. Cats age, too. On the bright side, it might be nothing!

  102. Patricia Says:

    I wrote on here back in April. The howling continues…now, in fact, she tried sitting on my bed at 2am howling…that did not go over very well with me – so now she sits in the living room and howls. Makes no difference if the lights are on or off. As with a lot of Himalayans, Angel was born with one kidney. The kidney seems to be functioning well but the vet put her on K/D to help take the burden off that kidney. All is well and I guess I’ll just have to accept this howling as part of her old age….she’s 16. She sleeps on my bed most of the day and now I sometimes hear here howling (very softly) in there too. I sure would like an answer but there doesn’t seem to be one.

  103. Pelle Says:

    our 12~ish ragdoll has suddenly started howling at night. sometimes right as the lights go out, sometimes at 2 3 or 4 am, but some nights not at all. he’s in ok health, a bit cross eyed perhaps :) . both me and the wife are going crazy and are losing energy having to chase him down and stick him in our 2nd bedroom. well there, he will sit and howl at the crack under the door for a bit and then give up and go to sleep on the bed. as soon as a human comes for him he whine-purrs and bolts for his scratching post. in the mornings after being let out, he will run around roaring and purring.

    the best part was when I was awake reading some magazine, the wife was drifting off to sleep. I swear it was like he heard her breathing pattern change! as soon as I heard her falling asleep the cat would howl. she would grunt and turn and the cat was quitet. then repeat that about 10 times. I let the cat keep going bcs it was hilarious.

    anyway, putting in a room where he knows (thinks) humans can’t hear him, he settles down. I think he’s just bored and wants to play at night.

  104. Lynne Says:

    Thank goodness I found this site. My 14 year old cat lost her sister at Christmas and the yowling is getting worse. It’s only during the night & is usually if we have gone to bed and she wakes up downstairs alone. It is almost like a panic attack and we call her. She comes running upstairs a litlle breathless and when she relaises we are there we get normal miaows and she has a fuss.

    Will get the vet to check her out, but am now worried about going away on vacation and leaving her. My neighbours and parents pop in several times a day, but she will be alone at night. Someone suggested leaving the radio on for her, but she hates disembodied voices. She cries at the answer machine & bites if we talk on the phone.

  105. Rene Says:

    I have a 13 year old male cat called Jack, and he often just stands outside the front door…even after he has been fed….and yowls in a strange way; he often seems to form his throat into my name, i.e. Rene, and also “hullo”….so I believe he just wants to be noticed. He can feel himself growing old, and this gives him a sense of insecurity when maybe he loses his footing occasionally.

  106. Darlene Says:

    If your cat is yowling/howling, PLEASE take him/her to the vet! My 18-year old diabetic cat was doing that for months. Since her diabetes is under control, I figured it was because she’s deaf, getting older and she was feeling lost. It was mainly in the middle of the night. Turns out she had a urinary infection and her kidneys are failing. Since I gave her antibiotics and she is now getting sub-q fluids 2-3 times per week (just started last week), she has not yowled/howled at all. I feel so bad that I waited so long to take her to the vet.

  107. Anthea Says:

    This is great. After 2 years of our 5am alarm ( we get up at 0530 the interruption is timed brilliantly) my long suffering non-cat loving hubby nearly cracked. Sophie is adorable, 13 and yowls like a foghorn. I will get her thyroid checked, thanx.

  108. marion Says:

    My Birman, now 16 years old,started to howl loudly about a year ago,when he wanted something.ie. to be let outside or come in , food etc.I realised he had become slightly deaf so put it down to that. However, just recently he has started to howl for no reason as far as I can see. As previous people have mentioned, he is particularly bad from about 9pm to midnight,(now!)and wanders all round the house, and in the garden, yowling very loudly, if I pick him up or fuss him he stops temporarily, but strugles to be released so he can start all over again. He has been examined by a vet who is reluctant to do any tests yet,as his symptoms are so vague. I was told he was not in pain but I suspect he may have a thyroid problem but don’t really want to start giving pills till I have too! Anyway, it is a relief to know I am not alone, I love him dearly so if it is all ‘par for the course’ then so be it! He thankfully settles down when put to bed at his usual time ,just before midnight (he won’t settle sooner) and at last all is quiet, so thank you to all those sharing my unnerving experiences for peace of mind (of sorts!)that old age catches up with us all! Goodnight..sleep well……

  109. Glynis Barnett Says:

    Very interesting reading these posts, my 14 year old cat started howling about 6 months ago, which coinsided sadly with my husband passing away, I thought it was because she was missing him, however, I realised recently that her hearing isn’t very good but didn’t connect it with her howling, it seems a common factor for many of us, so I guess I’ll take her to the vet to see if anything can make her more comfortable.

  110. Rachel Says:

    My 15 year old tabby, Joe has done the yowling thing for a whil, but the last week it has got out of control. I have recently moved and the first 2 weeks he was fine, but this being the third week, sleep has been murdered. I have even been sleeping on the sofa with him as he refuses to enter the bedroom, but no, he still yowls and wails. We are at the end of our tethers. I will take him to the vet for a check-up but it has become unbearable.

  111. Tina Says:

    I’m glad I found this site… We have a 20 year old Siamese who has taken to howling most of the night. He’s always been pretty vocal but it’s increasing these days. We’ve been through many changes in the last two years. We had a baby, moved into a smaller house and he lost his litter mate. However he seemed to be ok with all of these changes, until recently. His howling has been keeping all of us up, and now with a two year old and a new baby on the way I’m anxious it might get worse! Not just that, but he’s now defecating in my 2 year olds room and in the living room and I’m wondering if he’s also urinating places and I just haven’t found them yet.. We just bought a new house and are planning to move in a month, plus with the baby coming too, I’m not sure what to do.. Any suggestions??

  112. Carleta Says:

    Max, my 17 yr. old cat yowls at night, around same time each night! He’s going to see our vet tomorrow and hopefully he can figure out what is wrong. Max is my buddy but we are getting NO sleep. I’m the one who has to get up and go into the living room where he is. I end up finishing the night on the couch. Not my idea of a good night’s sleep.

  113. kathy Says:

    Wow, this is great to get some useful information from so many experiencing the same thing.
    We have had Mini since a kitten, she is now 14, and she is my baby. We got another cat 6 years ago, she was elderly when we adopted her. She passed away last year, and since then Mini has started yowling in the middle of the night, only once every so often, this year however I have had to go away three times and the yowling appears to increase while away.
    However we are at two nights in a row now, which is unusual, I will book a vets appointment tomorrow, I am now concerned about her kidneys.
    We thought she was missing her companion, this maybe so, and we were going to get a kitten, now I think we should hold off on this until I get her checked out.
    She seemed surprised tonight when I was there to answer her yowling, so I am hoping it’s not a lost/senile moment.

  114. Janet Says:

    I have an older siamese who has been through many households since my mom died-she was diagnosed with kidney failure and is on special diet-she purrs, she eats, she prances around house and seems fairly happy-she’s always been a cat that growls and hisses at everyone except her one owner-but now she pees outside litter box-no medical reason-she’s had all tests-its behavioural -so I keep her in one room away from my two cats and the rest of my house-I let her wander my house when I am home and can watch-but confine her at night and while at work-She yowls all night-well from about 3-5-and she yowls very very loudly and sounds angry-she even bangs the door. The vet said she’s not in pain-when I open door she runs out into living room and struts her stuff so I think she isn’t in physical pain-but emotional. Shes at least 14 but maybe up to 20 I do not know. She has no front claws (she came to my family that way ten years ago) She is known in my family and at vet as a cat that you can’t touch-she growls and hisses and acts almost feral-but with her one human-she is sweet as can be and the most affectionate cat -I’m doing best I can to show her I love her-I will take out on harness once a week for a stroll-but she really hates being couped up in room. When I let her out unattended she pees in the corner next to my other cats -cat post. She also harrasses them-wants to eat thier food which is a no no she is on special diet-

  115. Patricia013 Says:

    My third post here but I think I’m beginning to understand my cat’s howling. I believe she may be losing her eyesight. I’ve notice while playing with her with a tiny flashlight she sometimes cannot seem to find the light to follow it and other times she’ll pounce on it as usual and chase it around the room. Also, she has begun to go into my dark bedroom while I’m in the living room and she will howl – I’ll call her and she’ll come running out and everything is okay again. Lately she’s been defacting in the living room and I’m wondering if she just can’t find her litterbox. I find this so strange since she has been using her litterbox since she was 7 weeks old! She only has one kidney and vet put her on special food but says she is okay outside of that. She’s a Himalayan who was always very quiet but for the last year or so I haven’t had a full night’s sleep – she’ll be 17 in Feb.

  116. Ed Says:

    I too am very glad to have found this post. My cat Kitty and I have been together for 18 years and this past year she began howling at night. She is pretty quiet during the day but will start some of the most blood curdling screaming you’ve ever heard after sunset. I’m a physician and in older, demented patients we call this kind of nocturnal disorientation “Sundowning”. So I’ve wondered if this part of dementia in older cats. My cat also has renal insufficiency, and this seems to be a common issue among many of the posts as well. I’ve been concerned that these cries are cries of pain, but when I go to her she seems quite content and happy. So I’m glad to see we are not alone in this.

  117. Melanie Says:

    My cat started howling intermittently through the night last December–she’s almost 17yrs old now. My husband and I haven’t slept through the night since.I had her checked out by the Vet..no health problems..I’ll bring her into our bed–she runs down stairs..I let her in and out of the house..if outside she howls outside our window…I’ll feed her..I give her medicine every night…nothing seems to work!! We’ve had it. She’s not the same cat she used to be. We love her dearly but are now thinking of euthanasia. We both drive for work and don’t want this sleep deprivation to literally kill us.

  118. cheryl Says:

    My 15 year-old Tabby howls and appears to be disoriented when she does this. Often it happens around 3 to 5 AM. What seems to calm her is to put her in a contained space (like the bathroom) and play music on the radio for her. She still yowls at times but the music seems to calm her anxiety.

  119. Tina Says:

    My 17 year old cat Sassy howls most nights. I think it might be that her blood sugar levels fall, which wakes her up, causing her to become confused and giddy. She settles back to sleep again with a dish of warm milk or carnation cream. Sometimes a warm mashed weetbix helps, too. I also give her a spoon of anchovy paste or liverwurst pate for a quick fix. Hope this helps others.

  120. Tina Says:

    Continued;
    Sassy has been totally blind for over 2 yrs, is on a vets renal wet food diet, and 1 Neo-Mercazole tablet daily. I noticed she was not laying outside in the sun, so she may be vit D deficient, and have started taking her out for 10 mins each day. I have just had three full nights of uninterrupted sleep – Bliss! Good-luck all.

  121. Terrie Says:

    Thank you, Tina. I’m so glad to know there are lots of people out there with nightwalking cats and I’m going to try your outdoor remedy and see if we get some return to normalcy around here. We had a little earthquake about 6 weeks ago (something we never have) and when I came home from work my 20 year old hyperthyroid cat was hiding under the bed. Since then he’s under the bed everytime I come in the house but he comes out to be social when he hears me. However, at 3am like clockwork he wakes up, crawls out and howls until I find him, fill his feed dish and wait while he goes out on the porch for a few minutes. We’ve started referring to him as the troll. Then he goes back under the bed and he’s fine the rest of the day. He doesn’t seem sick; he just seems to find comfort there. I’m going to try taking him outside with me for a few hours when I’m home and denying him access to his bed cave each evening for a while. Maybe a full feed dish and some milk before bed and we’ll sleep through the night. Today is day one and he seemed to enjoy being out as long as he was within site of me.

  122. Christine Says:

    As I read through all 120 blogs, I realized that my spoiled 18+ year old kitty is among friends in her early morning yowling spree. She just recently started, and when we go to her, she appears to be purrrrrfectly happy, and happy to see us. I’ll try the nightlight suggestion tonight and see if that makes a difference….maybe she’s lost in her own house.

  123. Deedee Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a 11.5 year old male bengal who has recently began meowing and scratching on surfaces in the bedroom to wake us up. Every single morning between 3:00 and 4:00AM, he either meows loudly, howls, or walks up to the bed and taps on the bedskirt until someone gets up to baby him or feed him. I have no idea why this is now happening after all these years. I’ve had him since he was 4 months old and he is such a good kitty. I limit his food portions because he was overweight and has a tendency to over eat and vomit. So I feed him small amounts but more frequently throughout the day – and this has stopped the unpleasant surprises on my floor.

    I take Cairo out for play time and he is really good about staying close to me in the backyard. Yesterday, he was out with me while I worked on my garden for about 45 minutes. I have toys all over the place for him and I even play hide and seek with him. Over the last year, I have managed to get his weight down from 17 to 14 pounds, as recommended by his vet. He looks a lot healthier now and he really is a spoiled baby. I love him dearly but my husband and I are so frustrated with the disruptions at night.

    This morning, I got up at 3:58 AM to feed him and would you know that 10 minutes later he started up again. He stopped on his own and jumped in the bed with us. At 5:15ish, he started up again but we needed to get up for work anyway.

    I know this may sound cruel, but I bought a double barrel watergun and kept it on my nightstand. For a few days, I squirted him each time he started up and he would just run out. I felt bad and threw the gun away. Now, a month later I am feeling the need to get another watergun. This morning, my husband told me that we need to get rid of him but I said hell no. I will never give him up but I don’t know what the issue is. Cairo is up to date with everything – his vet says that he is in good health especially with his weight under control.

    One last thing – we always encourage Cairo to sleep with us. I never close him out of the bedroom. Sometimes if we try ignoring his meows, he will jump up on the bed, walk on top of me, and tap me with his paw. One time, he even bit me when I did not respond to his taps. Is my cat going crazy? He never bites. He is turning into a bully but I love him so much and I don’t know what to do. HELP!

  124. Marci Says:

    We just recently lost one of my kitties buddies. Ever since the loss, my 13 yo kitty howls every night. She has also lost a significant amount of weight over the past few months. I worry that she may have hyperthyroidism as previously mentioned in other comments. Thank you all for this info.

  125. Moonpenny Says:

    Hi, it’s fascinating reading about other yowling cats.

    My very chatty, but almost semi-feral 21 year-old calico tortie is slightly arthritic, virtually toothless, going deaf and her eyesight is deteriorating, but is otherwise remarkably healthy. There is normally someone working at home during the day, but if she thinks she’s alone. She goes ‘on patrol’, yowling at the top of her voice. Once she sees you, it stops. She doesn’t always like to be fussed, just be in the same room.

    Strangely, she never yowls at night,but prefers to sleep outside in the summer and in the back porch during winter, so perhaps we just don’t hear her.
    Every day is a bonus now, so as long as she’s happy, so are we!

  126. JANICE QUALLICH Says:

    LAST MAY 15TH I WROTE IN ABOUT MY 20YR OLD RUSSION BLUE AND HER YOWLING A NIGHT. WE NEVER DID FIND OUT WHY SHE WAS DOING THAT, BUT SADLY “GRAY GRAY” PAST WAY OCT 17TH AT 21YRS OF AGE. MOM AND DAD DID SOMETHING RIGHT FOR HER TO HAVE LIVED SUCH A LONG TIME. IN SHORT, LOVE THEM AND CHERISH EVERY MOMENT YOU HAVE, GOOD OR BAD. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR HER VOICE AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. NITE NITE MY LITTLE GRAY GRAY.

  127. Rose Says:

    My 18 year old Desi, a lovely tabby started yowling when she started Thyroid meds. It’s usually at night so I pick her up and we go off to bed. She does not yowl again during the night then. The first time I was afraid something was very wrong. My Vet says it’s common with thyroid meds.

  128. Vicki Says:

    I called a pet psychic once about my 18 year old C.C. yowling. She “talked” to C.C. and advised me that when the yowling starts, she (C.C.) is disoriented. Like most others on this site, it happens nightly (early mornings actually) when in a dark space. When I call her name or go to her, it is like she is startled to find me. Psychic and Vet advised that it would continue to get worse as she ages. C.C. is perfectly healthy otherwise.

  129. Tecolote Says:

    Our 9 year old cat, Emilio (aka Mimi), lives outdoors with his brother, Taz. Because both Mimi and Taz spray, we have not been able to bring them indoors to live. About 9 months ago Mimi began yowling. Mimi yowls mostly at night but sometimes also yowls during the daytime. My daughter who lives in my home, reports that the yowling keeps her up at night. About a year and a half ago, my husband and I moved out of the house where Mimi and Taz live with — so there have been significant family changes for the cats to adapt to. Emilio had a full senior blood panel and it came back normal — so there are no thyroid issues. The vet thinks it may be feline hyperthesia and has prescribed gabapentin – which has significantly helped but it is not a good long term solution for us given the cost and the fact that my daughter is in school and unable to care for the cats like we did. Mimi has also been throwing up a lot. I am concerned that he is in pain and that there may be something wrong (cancer? something else?) that the blood panel would not pick up.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  130. Ange Says:

    My cat is 15/16 years old. He has been on Clomicalm for years, but still exhibits strange behaviours. In the last year or so he has started wandering round the house miaowing/yowling, like others here have said about their cats. We recently lost one cat – the two of them had been companions since our other cats were euthanased,one in 2003 and one in 2008. Is grief a possibility? Also, is dementia a possibility, given his history with Clomicalm?

  131. Dgkftl Says:

    We have an 18 yr old Siamese who has yowled for many years now, but not always. She seems to be in good health; maybe losing her hearing a little. One twist on her yowling, which is like many other posts here mostly in the middle if the night, is that she seeks out a small Elmo doll that she’s had since she was a kitten and carries it around in her mouth while she’s doing her yowling. We thought it might be that she thinks she’s mothering a kitten, or maybe senility. Either way, she’s very loud.

  132. margaretbannerman Says:

    Hi, My cat Theo yowls every now and again she is 20yrs old and today the yowling lasted a long time, in fact it got me out of bed and as soon as she saw me and I hugged her and fed her she stopped and leaped all over the furniture, and I think she forgets where she is and is happy when she sees me or my husbandand now she is fast a sleep, and she sleeps along time these days.

  133. Lesley Says:

    I have this problem also. A dear old lilac burmese approaching 21, no thyroid problem, some medicated renal and liver problems. But overall a happy cat who purrs, eats and sleeps like most cats. Reading through these replies it would seem that most of the ailments nominated are coincidental rather than causal. Maybe old cats just yowl because they’re old and a bit senile and deaf and have failing sight (now I’m worried about me – do I yowl at night?:@ ) If I call her very loudly she has no idea where the sound is coming from any more, but when she gets a fix (usually because I move in front of her) you really can see relief on her face. So I’m happy to accept that she’s just old, like my approaching 17 and 15 Jack Russells, and I’m a carer.

  134. Brenda Says:

    I’m so glad I read every post here. I will have more patience when I am routinely wakened with the nightly yowling. We have a 20 year old Burman named Shugie (her color looks like white and brown sugar) and the sweetest cat ever. She sleeps quite well during the day, eats great and has always passed her health check ups with flying colors. I will be taking her to the vet to make sure there is no tooth decay, kidney failure or thyroid issues. After reading these comments, I am realizing that this seems to happen to elderly cats.

    Like so many other cats she makes a loud curdling howl that says I’m mad and everyone needs to know it. She seems to choose either the hallway connecting everyones bedroom, my bathroom that echoes oh so nice, or downstairs where she paces the sliding glass doors looking for prowling cats that pass through HER yard.

    Because of her age I know her days are numbered and we will miss her sweet and playful disposition. I can’t say I will miss being wakened in the wee hours with a blood curdling howl.

  135. Deborah Says:

    I have a yowling 14-1/2 year-old cat, Ann. My daughter and I have been at a loss as to why she was doing this, and unable to describe the sound to other family members. Luckily, my daughter discovered this blog, at 4:00 a.m. this morning. She said, “Mom, I emailed you something about yowling cats”. So, I’m writing this at 5:00 a.m. Ann has been jolting us awake for the last month with her resounding yowls. Her cries are LOUD! My daughter and I call it her “rebel yell”. The worst is when she comes up behind you (undetected) and belts one that can be heard all over the house. She’s at her best when she does 3 or 4 in a row in rapid succession. It’s quite startling. When we pick her up and hug her, she purrs and seems quite happy and content. My daughter and I function like a tag team. I’ll keep Ann in my bedroom when my daughter can’t take it anymore, and vice versa. Ann used to be so quiet and easy going. But now, she’s quite the unruly character. We love Ann and just want her to be happy. I hope it’s just medical and can be corrected with medication. Otherwise, we are prepared to hear her call to arms throughout the night!

  136. Sabrina Says:

    I have always adored cats ever since I was 4 years old. They are really sweet, affectionate and beautiful animals and I have always been around them my whole life. I am 17 years old now, and me and my family have three male cats, who are all neutered and de-clawed. Cocco is roughly 10 years old, Patches is roughly 9 1/2, and Cujo is turning 3 in Febuary 2012. Recently, Cocco, the oldest, has been waking everyone up during the night at around 3am-5am because of him randomly crying. Sometimes, I will call his name, he will walk freely into my bedroom, stop crying when he sees me, and then walk out and start crying again. I am not sure if he is just anxious about where we are, or if he is hungry at that time. He does not do this every day, but he does this at least once a week. Because he is getting older, I am trying to persuade my mother to take him to the vet to get him checked out in case there are any underlying health problems that we are unaware of, but she just says he is fine. However, I think the over active thyroid could be the problem, since he has only just started this two or so months ago. He also has portrayed another symptom, which I don’t know if it is related to the crying. He has started pulling out his hair in chunks when he grooms himself. He does this almost every day. Again, I want to take him to the vet to see if he is probably anxious or depressed to see if this is why he pulls out his hair. He has been pulling out his hair ever since we got Cujo, the almost three year old. I am guessing he is anxious about having another cat in the family. My mother won’t take him in though. I love Cocco to death, he is my little baby. Other then these two symptoms, plus being overweight, he is perfectly healthy. His hearing is still good, he has good eyesight, and he eats and eliminates without difficulty. I would be devistated if anything happened to him; I had him since he was 6 weeks old. He is very affectionate, does not growl or bit, loves to be petted and have his belly rubbed, and he sleeps with me every day, either in my bed or on the couches. Should I take him to the vet myself if my mother won’t? Or is there anything I could do for him besides medical attention? I don’t know what to do. Please help me.

  137. Sandra Says:

    My almost 8 year old Oriental is suddeny meowing very loudly (like in heat) but she is spayed. There doesn’t seem to be any reason and she still plays, purrs, eats, goes to the litter box normally. I had blood work done on her and everything is good except slightly high levels for her liver and pancreas, but not requiring any treatment. We can’t figure out why she has started to howl like this for the last several days. Only about 6 or 7 times a day and only one or two big, loud long meows. No other symptons. Any ideas?

  138. Chris Says:

    I have read all the posts on here. We need a permanent solution to our yowling, deaf 3 yr old cat who is physically fine. We are seriously considering a larygectomy if we can find someone to do it. Is that soo terrible? It seems it’s either that or giving her away – but that seems a worse alternative for an otherwise loving cat. Anyone else done this or know anything about it?

  139. domique Says:

    Hu? My female cat is a black and white 25 “”"” year old cat. Can’t believe it. She’s howling at night too. Now my Maine Coon who’s about 16 is doing it too. I get no sleep. Its every hour. Starting at about 4 am. The Maine coon now has to sleep near the old coot. They’re both very healty. The old coot doesn’t have good hearing though. When I get up multiple times to bring them on the bed near by they jump off. I hardly sleep at all now between the both of them. Water and food are readily available. Oh well. I guess there’s no known answer on how to reslove this. I now point at them and tell them NO… But I know this isn’t the best way to handle it???? ANYONE?????

  140. Patricia Says:

    I’ve posted here before…this is just a strange follow up. My 17 year old himalayan, Angel has been howling during the night for almost 2 years now. Recently, my son moved in until he could find a new apt. He sleeps on a sofa bed in the living room. Since he’s back, Angel has been quiet at night! Could it be these cats simply wander off in the dark and are crying because they are confused and can’t find us? She’s been to the vet twice and her health is not bad for her age.

  141. Tina Says:

    RIP Sassy Cat – She died peacefully Nov 2011.
    Other tips to making your cat comfy at nights are:
    A hot water bottle placed near your cat under a blanket.
    A small plate of raw or half cooked Liver.
    Brushing/massaging your cat all over with a babies hair brush. I found the pet ones too harsh on her skin.
    Clip your cats toe nails regularly. If you are unsure a vet will do this for you.
    If Sassy was shaking her head a lot, I used to wrap a soft tissue around my finger and gently clean the first part of her inner ear. Some cats may or may not like this.
    Hope all your cats settle soon. Keep all your remedies coming.
    I just have my 12yr old silver tabby cat ‘Charisma’ now, who I am hoping does not become a howler. It is very distressing on WE owners.
    All the best in 2012!

  142. Carol Says:

    We have “Mandy”, an almost 21 year old tortoise shell who was originally a feral kitten machine. At about 5 she adopted herself to us and we had her spayed and made an insulated house with heater built for her. When we moved 11 years ago she came with us and stayed. 4-5 Winters ago when it was bitterly cold, she came inside to eat and did not want to go back out. She has lived inside since. She has never been a loud vocal cat – except for her purring. But in the past 4 months has started yowling at various times – after eating, after the litter box, even when she is sleeping in her bed. She at times stands staring at the TV (on or off), she wanders into the different rooms and yowls. The vet has already advised us that her kidneys are slowly going into renal failure. She still eats well but drinks more water and uses the litter box alot more now. She has a growth on her eardrum that they do not wish to remove, as the vet says he would have to put her under to do so and at her age, fears she may not wake up. So we clean her ears and put drops in (the discharge stinks)every 2 days. She does have arthritis so she is not jumping off things as much these days. We know that she has lost her hearing and think her eyesight is going, as well as, unfortunately, we think she may be getting dementia. She still weighs about 11 lbs – that has not changed in the past 2 years, but we know her time is coming. We lost a 15 year old “Smoker” in March 2011 to kidney failure. Many people say they do not know when is the right time – believe me – your pet knows and you will see the signs when it is time.

  143. Natasha Says:

    I am considering getting a walkie talkie or speaker type system, so that no matter where in the house she is yowling, I can call to her from my bed. This way I don’t have to get up and find her. She usually stops as soon as she hears my voice, so I am hoping this works!

  144. Takeda Says:

    We have a Maine Coon cross named Kiwi. We adopted him (with that name) when he was 8. We’ve had him now 7.5 years and at the ripe old age of 15.5 he yowls a lot! Never when we’re in the same room with him though. It sounds absolutely pitiful! It pulls on our heart-strings something fierce.

    We’ve had him checked out by the vet and they are astounded at how young he is. Very strong with excellent agility, good vision, hearing, etc. He can’t clean himself as well and has thinned a bit especially around the neck but otherwise doesn’t show his age.

    He just yowls … not terribly loud, doesn’t wake us up often. I find I feel a compulsion to call out to him and that usually quiets him down. During the day he sleeps on our bed. During the night he sleeps in the living room on a couch or chair.

    We have another cat now 7 years old that we adopted when she was 14-months. She is an incorrigible cuddle-monkey and hogs our attention crawling into our laps incessantly. She tends to sleep on our bed too so that’s why I think he doesn’t at night.

    I wish I knew what to do but I guess I’ll just have to give him a lot of cuddles. Trouble is he doesn’t like to be picked up but loves to cuddle. So if I can I grab him and he settles right down for cuddles purring (for him loudly). He barely tolerates my wife since we adopted the new cat, now 5+ years ago … but will hang out with most anyone else once he gets to know them … and I swear he looks at my wife at these times to spite her!?

  145. Charles Says:

    Wow! After several years, it’s amazing to see this post is still so active. I’m also amazed to find so many explanations for the sad “crying” we are experiencing with our two year old male cat, Elijah. We got him from a friend when he was old enough to leave his mom, about 8 or 9 weeks. We had a beautiful orange Tom cat that possibly fathered Elijah and his siblings. Tom eventually warmed up to him and they played together off and on for a couple of years. (Neither were neutered). Tom recently passed away and in the past few days, Elijah has started crying, almost wailing, at various times, day and night. I’ve found he mostly wants to be loved, held, rubbed, etc. It makes me miss Tom even more to know Elijah is still morning for him. I took my 9 year old little girl to the Animal Shelter a couple of weeks back and let her pick our a new cat (8 month old Little Buddy) because she too is still mourning the loss of Tom. I think Elijah is a little jealous but curious. We are going to have both cats neutered, as they are in and out of the house and tend to wander into the adjacent woods. Hopefully, they will find companionship with each other and Elijah’s wailing will stop.

  146. Jamal Says:

    wow it’s not just me
    well i have three cats one male two female only the male screams and its always at night in winter my cat is only 2 and he’s ginger. i always leave my door tiny bit open . he doesn’t like getting picked up though but he does stop. i have a weird story though i believe my cat has been cloned. one day i was sat At the computer when there where two gingers they looked EXACTLY the same. one sat on sofa one at the window. all the cats i have except for one (the mum) where born in my house. WHO IS DA GINGER ONE!

  147. Matt Says:

    Add us to the list. Our 18 year-old Maine Coon, Mia, will pick up a toy and wander through the house at night yowling. It is INCREDIBLY loud. She only does it at night, and has no health problems. I think, having read the above comments, she probably gets a little disoriented at night. Usually she stops if one of us sits with her for a few minutes. Surprised to see how common this is!

  148. John Says:

    I wish I had found this site a few years ago. My beloved kitty Albee began howling and did it for several years before I lost her at age 20. So glad to find out she wasn’t in pain. I now have three older cats, and dread the day any of them start yowling. But.I wanted to mention how wonderful ut is that so many owners oun here have been willing to endure this for tigeir pets instead of giving up. They give us so many years of joy that we owe it to them to take care of them as best we can. On behalf of everyone’s yowlers, thanks!

  149. Suzanne Says:

    Our 18 year old male cat has been diagnosed with failing kidneys. The vet hasn’t said how bad, I think because she knows how emotional my mother gets. However, he was kept overnight for fluids and tests, and now he has to go in every week to get fluids under his skin. We have had many cats over the years so we are pretty familiar with different types of behavior, however this one is somewhat unique. In the last couple of years he talks to us constantly, telling us when he wants to eat, when he wants to go out in the yard (for just 1 minute then he wants to come right back in again), and he also tells us, or commands us, to sit on the couch with him and pet him. He would love us to do this all day if we had the time. He started a strange habit over a year ago that he will only drink water out of small buckets in our spare bathtub and never next to his food dish. He even would stick his paws in why I don’t know. Recently he stopped that completely and now only drinks from the dripping faucet which we let leak continuously. The distressing part is when he goes up to the bathroom, usually after he eats, he will jump in the tub and start this loud gutteral deep screechy yowling. I have never in my life heard such a sound, not even from a feral cat in heat or one getting ready to fight. He does it for about 30 seconds and ends with one soft regular meow. If you call to him loudly from downstairs he will stop right away. I’ve watched him without him knowing and he doesn’t look like he’s in pain before he yowls, he’s just sitting there in the bathtub and then he starts to drink from the faucet. I’ve interrupted him and splashed the water in the bowls to try to get him to drink but he just sits there. Maybe he gets confused, but why only in that one specific spot near the faucet? He goes there for a purpose because that’s where he gets his water so he must know where he is. Is it because he is so thirsty? Then why the big production beforehand? Why doesn’t he just drink wherever there are water bowls then? He has gotten his appetite back since his visit to the vet which is a good think, but now that he eats more he also goes up to the bathroom more and makes those horrible sounds. It’s very upsetting because we know he is not well and that his time with us is limited, but hearing these terrible noises only upsets us even more. I just wish I knew what was going on and that the water thing wouldn’t be such an ordeal with him.

  150. Krissy Says:

    I just wanted to say, I know someone who’s cat yowls at exactly 4am too, kind of strange! No one knows why she picks that time, but she is an older cat as well.

  151. Cami Says:

    Wow, I am so glad I found this blog. My domestic shorthair – tortoise shell cat “Chili”, 16 years old, just began to yowl in the middle of the night, a couple months ago, almost routinely at 3am. Some nights, she does it one or two more additional times but it is for sure at least one time each night. She is healthy, eats and drinks well. When we hear her, if I can’t find her immediately, either my husband or I yell out “SHUSH Chili !” And she stops immediately. If she sees me while she’s yowling she also stops right away, almost like she’s embarrassed I caught her. I just noticed a couple days ago she may be having trouble hearing, so I have to look into that more. I just am happy to hear so many of you have experienced this with your cats as well….I am hoping there are no additional health issues related to this new habit, I love my Chili soooo much!!!!

  152. Jo Says:

    Our 18 year old male domestic cat has recently been yowling at night.
    Our 17 year old female Russian Blue sadly passed away last week from renal failure after being quite unwell over the last couple of months. Their night time routine was to sit out together on our large deck; they both had their own sleeping place at opposite ends of the deck.
    Occasionally our female cat would spend her evenings inside with us & we started to notice that on these evenings our male cat did not yowl. However when she was out on the deck he would yowl while standing very close to her, as if he was calling us out onto the deck to check on her, or he was upset. Since her death there has been no yowling.
    This puts quite a different spin on what we thought were the reasons for his yowling. He is diabetic, but there was no consistent change in his blood glucose. He also has hearing loss & we had begin to think that he may be in the early stages of dementia. He has regular check ups at the vet & there seems to be no physical reason for the yowling.
    He became very affectionate to her during her illness. We now feel that his yowling had an emotional cause; that he wanted us to check on his companion or that he was vocalising his distress because she was unwell.

  153. Colette Says:

    I have an almost 16 yr old buff tabby who has kidney issues and arthritis. She’s been yowling at night for a while but more so lately. She will also vomit once in a while and it’s not because of a hairball. I’ve read that the yowling can be due to hyperthyroidism; also, vomiting and restlessness are symptoms. I guess it makes them hyperactive, so those symptoms make sense. I haven’t had the thyroid tested yet, but I may if things get worse. For those who have cats with kidney issues, check out a product called Tripsy at petwellbeing.com. It has helped my cat tremendously!

  154. Eleanor Says:

    I have a 15 year old cat on Azodyl and while she is doing okay, she YOWLS really load at the water bowl and sometimes at the litter box. I’m going to give the Tripsy that Colette recommends and will post later if it helps with the Yowling.
    I love my cat, and I’d also love to get some sleep sometime soon (I know some of you can relate).

  155. Holly Says:

    I hope someone can shed some light? Im so overwhelmed with my poor kitties! I treat them as my kids and its just me and the hubby of 13 years.
    My apologies because this is going to be long… :0)
    My tubby 16 lb orange 15 yr old cat is yowling after using the litter box and even just at times when its quiet and he cant see us (even tho he knows we’re home). sometimes I wonder if he can hear me bc sometimes it seems like can’t. He used to weigh 23 lbs. …ps we have another sweet boy 12 yrs old who has recently developed a sarcoma (aggressive spreading tumor that is in a spot thats not operable :,(
    He is also using the litter box for urinating (alot of urine btw) but recently he gets out of the box after #1 and immediately goes #2 next to the box! I think he is even leaving small stool in front of the doors in the lower level. Their 3 boxes are down there in the bathroom we dont use.
    I just had him to the vet for tests bc he was straining a bit, his stool was runny and dark for a few weeks and he was extra thirsty -but otherwise ok… He was EVEN making the diarrea into the box! I kept him well hydrated and watched him closely. I suspected hyperthyriod.
    A complete blood panel shows hes in great shape, even his kidneys- which older cats can have issues with. The vet told me he had a ‘formed-normal stool’ in there. What?? I was shocked since not more than 12 hours ago it was runny and had been that way for weeks.
    He has a lexating patella injury to his back knee so he has a gimp to his walk.
    I have tried changing the food gradually from a weight controll/hairball blend to a senior blend of aims….FOR BOTH. The vet then wanted me to try this expensive purina that cats were supposed to love…they both hate it. I feed them 1/3 of their food 3 times daily. His stool now is a mix of soft light to regular colored but still a tiny bit soft. I think because the mix of the 2 foods are those colors. Tomorrow their food will be all aims senior.
    Both cats have had intermittent vomiting after eating so I used laxatone, thinking ‘hairballs’. And the 12 yr old cat had harder stools and used rugs when I slacked on scooping the box. No the old man will not scoop or clean up their mess, weak stomach.
    Im constantly cleaning up vomit and stools and its so difficult to figure out which one is doing what. Today I added a 4th box and put it where he keeps going on the floor. I have been scooping daily.
    He’s not going on the rugs in there, he doesnt seem to be stressed or marking or anything like that. He’s a laid back easy going cat. He used to always use the box no matter what, he even used to cover the other ones stuff for him! …(he just came in here whining a bit, sounds like he’s asking me a question lol. Meoww?)

    Complete blood count results were normal
    Stool sample was ok with no parasites or worms (either cat)

    …So my questions are …Why is he going #2 next to the box when he goes in there for #1 first? Especially when he was feeling sick he still used it for #2?
    …Can anyone suggest the best food for senior cats?
    …What is the best litter for a 2 cat household? (was using scoop away but they made it extremely perfumy so I now use pet co house brand. low dust and smell. they seem to like it. 1 of the boxes in there right now still has the old litter in case they wanted it, neither use it anymore.)
    …Is the volume of urine high bc he holds it some so he doesnt have to make many trips down the stairs? As the vet noted, his kidneys are great.
    I really am glad I found this page, Its settling to hear others experienced similar things and great to read what they’ve done and the outcome. I truly hope someone has an idea :)

  156. Missy Says:

    Holly,
    I have an older cat, almost 18 who started doing the opposite of what your cat is doing. She would pee outside the box and yes next to or in front of but poop inside. Because of her age and possible arthritis a vet suggested switching her to a litterbox filled with shredded paper and/or newspaper because it is softer. I also cut out the front of the litter box so she only has about 2″ to step over. She has been accident free for a year.
    Also, I had a cat that was in renal failure for 6 yrs, just lost her in Feb. at age 16. She could not tolerate the RX food and puked all the time. The only food she could eat is Trader Joe’s canned cat food. I am not sure why but it worked and it is inexpensive.
    Good luck!

  157. Jamie Says:

    I feel so much better knowing i’m not the only person who has googled “my cat is very old and howls.” She started it at night after her brother passed. I is the weirdest thing to see. She also has taken to starring at my mom all night long. Like and inch away from her face, eyes weird open, and just starring.

    Does anybody have any advice or guidance? The poor thing sounds so lonely and scared? maybe leave a light on for her?

    Anyone have tips of stopping her pee accidents? Or where to get rx food cheaper?

  158. Mimi Says:

    Gary. My Sister has a cat name Berthold he lost his hearing he 14 years old she like too know why he crys now witch he never ever did that before. Mimi

  159. Eleanor Says:

    On April 2 I wrote that I would try Tripsy. While researching Tripsy I came across another product by the same manufacturer called Resthyro for cats with hyperthyroidism. As my cat is 15 and semi-feral she is not able to go to the vet due to extreme behavior issues. I’ve had cats for a long time so my “educated” guess is she has hyperthyroidism and renal failure. Anyway, she has been on Tripsy and Resthyro for 10 days now and is actually “Yowling” less. Additionally she has been on Azodyl for about 6 months and it certainly helps with the renal failure. Previously I had a cat with renal failure that took Azodyl for about 4 years and did quite well on it. This cat cannot be pilled, so I break open 3 capsules a day and mix it in with her canned food. This appears to work well even though the recommendation is to have the cat swollow the capsule.

    Hope this helps someone. I’ll post again in a month and let you know if I think the Tripsy and Resthyro is still working.

  160. Patricia Says:

    I posted on this site a few times. My 17 year old himalayan (who was always quiet as a mouse) started the night time howling about 2 years ago. I tried everything…took her to the vet a couple of times…he did tests – nothing is physically wrong with her. I tried just about everything, including leaving lights on in the livingroom and then resorted to earplugs for myself – closing my bedroom door only made her howl louder. Lately I’ve discovered that if I sleep with my door open and keep a 25 watt light in my room she is quiet all night. She will either sleep with me or in my doorway but it seems as long as she can see me I can get a quiet night’s sleep. I just had to adjust to sleeping with a light on in my room. Hope that helps someone else.

  161. Jill Says:

    Our 18-year-old female black cat has been yowling for nearly a year. She began doing it at night, but now does it all the time – sometimes more frequently. She will walk out of the room we are in, sit down and start wailing. We call to her or walk up to her, and she stops and makes a MMrp noise. We are wondering if there is any medication she could take for anxiety or to calm her and make her feel happy. She has been examined several times by her vet and he says she is physically fine for her age.

  162. Dondi Says:

    Ok so older cats I see here, but my cat is only 6 1/2 and he howls at night, he has the run of the house and even when we put him in our room or my son’s room he still howls.
    I have tried everything, and the vet says he’s fine, I did not check his Thyroid, but everything else is normal blood tests and all.

  163. Barbara Says:

    Dondi: If his yowling is not usual, if he has an increase in appetite/thirst, seems overactive or apathetic, overgrooms or doesn’t groom as much, vomits, has diarrhea, etc., you might consider having the vet check his thyroid level.
    Though hyperactive thyroid generally occurs with senior cats age 10 or over, my cat developed it at age 8. He underwent the radiology treatment; and that cat lived to be the oldest cat I ever owned (age 19).

  164. Kathy Says:

    I have a 8 month male part siamese and persian. He is not a loving cat. He doesn’t like to be petted. He yowls loud and roams from one room to the other yowling. We got him when he was 6 wks old. Why doess’t he like us to pet him. And why does he yowl?

  165. Chris Says:

    I have an 18 yr old cat howling when alone and at night. I read the all the writes in. I believe most of you are right about my cat. Tiger is a sweet cat fill with love as he gotten older. We got him at 4 months a wild, scared, and not fed cat. We gave him a forever home and has stay with us, even when we moved. Our cats are our family not throw aways. Tiger has live longer than any of his buddies. Two cats and a dog. He has a new buddy for about a year and half. Only one day of hissing but took to her like she was here since day one. We comfort Tiger when he howls and understand a little better why. Just feeling bad that he is getting old but aren’t we all?

  166. Janet Says:

    I have a siamese cat -shes approx 16-20? Age unknown. She is also urinating all over and has kidney disease. She has been through many changes in the past couple years with my mom dying and being moved from family to family. Vet told me the urinating is territorial. I have two other cats. After trying everything I finally decided to put puppy pee pads in the corners of the room. She does use litter box but if I let her out of room unattended she pees on the carpet in corners of my house. She is partially deaf and has some vision issues. She yowls at night and when I am home but I leave her in the room. I do take her out but i have to watch her closely-babysit-she will attack other kitties and pee. So when in room she yowls horribly. When I walk in she is fine-sometimes though she seems to forget where she is and if I’m in same room she may yowl until I get her attentnion. She likes to play and still eats and drinks and does use litter box as well but carpet (pee pads now) also. She is driving me crazy. The peeing and the yowling-it wakes me every night. I feel so bad for her-the room is small. Very tiny. It does have a cat post, a little soft recliner chair, her litter box and some toys and her food and water-she goes out on harness sometimes but is getting more fearful in her older age of outdoors. My quesiton is I really dont know if I should have her put down. On one hand, I feel she is not very happy but then I think of all the cats in cages at shelters and think what is so bad about her life. I dont know what to do.

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