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9 Reasons Why Cats Meow At Night and How To Stop It



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Most cat owners have experienced the mystifying phenomenon of their feline friend meowing persistently in the dead of night.

While this nocturnal serenade might seem random, there are actually several underlying reasons that could be triggering this behavior.

In this article, we will explore nine potential causes of nighttime meowing in cats and provide practical tips on how to address each one.

From hunger pangs to health issues, understanding these causes can help you ensure a peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your furry companion.

Key Takeaway

  • Cats may meow at night due to various reasons including hunger, seeking attention, changes in their routine, aging-related cognitive dysfunction, or underlying health issues.
  • To stop cats from meowing at night, ensure their basic needs are met before bedtime, maintain a consistent routine, provide enough daytime stimulation to tire them out, and gradually train them not to associate meowing with gaining attention or rewards.

Why Do Cats Meow?

9 Reasons Why Cats Meow At Night and How To Stop It

Cats meow as a means of communication, especially with humans. This behavior is partially learned, as kittens meow to get their mother’s attention when they’re hurt, cold, or scared.

As cats grow older, they continue to use meowing as a way to communicate but often replace it with other vocalizations like yowling.

The tone and urgency of a cat’s meow can change depending on what they want.

For example, a higher-pitched, urgent-sounding meow is typically used when they are hungry, while a different tone might be used when they simply want attention.

9 Reasons Why Cats Meow At Night and How To Stop It

Here are 9 reasons why cats meow at night and how to stop it.

Hunger or Thirst

Your cat might be meowing excessively at night because they are hungry or thirsty. Cats have a tendency to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and night. If their food or water dish is empty, they might be trying to get your attention to fill it.

Seeking Attention

Cats are naturally more active during the night. Your cat may simply be trying to engage you in play or seeking your attention. Providing them with toys or engaging in play before bedtime can help reduce nighttime meowing.

Loneliness or Boredom

If your cat is left alone for long periods during the day, they may become bored or lonely and become more active at night. Try to interact with your cat more during the day or provide stimulating toys to keep them occupied.

Health Issues

Excessive meowing can be a sign of health problems in cats. Conditions such as thyroid issues or kidney disease can cause increased vocalization. If your cat’s nighttime meowing persists, it would be wise to get them checked by a vet.

Old Age

Elderly cats can suffer from confusion or cognitive dysfunction syndrome, which can lead to increased nighttime vocalization. Providing a safe, comfortable space for your older cat can help alleviate these symptoms.

Change in Routine

Cats are creatures of habit, and any change in their routine can cause them stress, leading to excessive meowing. Keeping a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and bedtime can help minimize this behavior.

In Heat

If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, they could be in heat and calling out to potential mates. Getting your cat spayed or neutered can prevent this behavior.

Territorial Behavior

Cats can be territorial, and they may be meowing to warn other cats off their territory. Making sure your cat feels secure in their home environment can help reduce territorial behaviors.

Uncomfortable Environment

The cat’s environment might be uncomfortable. For example, if it’s too cold or too hot, this could be causing them to meow. Ensuring your cat’s comfort by maintaining a suitable room temperature and providing cozy resting areas can help address this issue.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Meowing At Night

Here is how to prevent your car from meowing at night:

Step 1: Establish a Routine

Cats are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. Establishing set times for feeding, playing, and sleeping can provide your cat with the structure they need to feel secure. Try to stick to this schedule as consistently as possible to reduce stress and confusion for your cat.

Step 2: Provide Plenty of Daytime Stimulation

Cats are naturally more active during the night, but providing plenty of stimulation and interaction during the day can help tire them out and reduce nighttime activity. This could include play sessions, puzzle toys, or even a window perch for bird watching.

Step 3: Feed Your Cat Before Bed

Many cats will meow at night because they’re hungry. Feeding your cat a small meal right before bed can help curb this behavior. Opt for high-protein foods that will keep your cat satisfied through the night.

Step 4: Create a Comfortable Environment

Creating a comfortable environment for your cat can also help reduce nighttime meowing. This includes maintaining a suitable room temperature, providing cozy resting areas, and ensuring that their litter box is clean and easily accessible.

Step 5: Check for Health Issues

If your cat’s nighttime meowing persists despite your best efforts, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. Conditions such as thyroid problems or kidney disease can cause increased vocalization in cats. If you suspect your cat may be unwell, schedule a vet appointment as soon as possible.

Step 6: Consider Spaying or Neutering

If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, they could be meowing at night because they’re in heat. Spaying or neutering your cat can prevent this behavior and has many other health benefits as well.

Step 7: Seek Professional Advice

If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still meowing excessively at night, it might be time to seek professional advice. A vet or a pet behaviorist can provide additional insights and strategies tailored to your cat’s specific needs.

Why Do Older Cats Meow in The Middle of The Night?

Older cats may meow in the middle of the night due to health-related issues, age-related cognitive dysfunction, hunger, or discomfort from conditions like arthritis or changes in their vision.

Older cats may meow in the middle of the night for several reasons. One common cause is health-related issues, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), kidney disease, or high blood pressure.

These conditions can lead to increased vocalization, including nighttime meowing. Another reason could be due to age-related cognitive dysfunction similar to dementia in humans.

This can cause confusion and disorientation, leading to loud meowing during the night. Hunger can also be a factor, with some older cats meowing to signal they want food.

Lastly, discomfort due to conditions like arthritis or a change in their ability to see around the home can also lead to yowling at night.

Is It OK To Ignore My Cat Meowing at Night?

While it might be tempting to ignore your cat’s meowing at night, especially if it is disrupting your sleep, it is generally not advised.

This is because cats often meow for a reason – they may be hungry, anxious, in pain, or experiencing a medical issue.

Ignoring their meowing could potentially overlook an important need or even a health problem.

However, if you’re sure that your cat’s needs are met and they’re healthy but they still meow for attention, you might need to resist responding immediately to help them learn that meowing won’t always get your attention.


Q: How can playtime before bed help reduce nighttime meowing?

A: Engaging in interactive play with your cat before bed can help tire them out physically and mentally, making them more likely to settle down and sleep throughout the night. It can also provide an opportunity for bonding and can help alleviate any pent-up energy that may contribute to excessive meowing.

Q: Should I ignore my cat’s nighttime meowing?

A: Ignoring your cat’s nighttime meowing may be helpful in certain situations. However, it’s important to rule out any underlying reasons for the meowing, such as hunger or discomfort, before implementing this strategy. If your cat’s meowing persists despite your attempts to address their needs, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further guidance.

Q: Are cats naturally more active at night?

A: Yes, cats are crepuscular animals, which means they are naturally more active during dawn and dusk. This can explain why some cats tend to meow or engage in more vocalization at night. Providing adequate playtime and stimulation during the evening hours can help redirect this energy and reduce nighttime meowing.

Q: What are some other reasons why cats may meow at night?

A: Apart from the common reasons like seeking attention or expressing discomfort, cats may meow at night due to medical issues such as kidney disease or cognitive dysfunction. It’s essential to monitor your cat’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any changes in their meowing patterns.

Q: How can I stop my cat from yowling at night?

A: To stop your cat from yowling at night, you can try similar strategies as reducing meowing, such as providing interactive playtime, creating a comfortable sleeping area, and ensuring their basic needs are met. However, if the yowling persists, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.

Q: Why do elderly cats meow more at night?

A: Elderly cats may meow more at night due to age-related issues such as cognitive dysfunction, pain, or discomfort. These factors can contribute to increased vocalization, especially during the quieter hours of the night. If you have an older cat experiencing excessive meowing, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian to address any underlying health concerns.

Q: Can litter box issues cause cats to meow at night?

A: Yes, litter box issues can be one of the reasons why cats meow at night. Cats may meow to express discomfort or dissatisfaction with their litter box situation. It’s important to ensure the litter box is clean, easily accessible, and located in a quiet area to mitigate any potential meowing associated with litter box problems.

In Conclusion

Cats may meow at night due to various reasons. Some of the common reasons include seeking attention, feeling bored, or dealing with separation anxiety.

Their natural instincts can also cause them to be more active during the night.

In some cases, health issues like thyroid problems, kidney diseases, diabetes, arthritis, or tooth pain can lead to excessive meowing.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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