Have you been wondering why your kitty begins howling, as the clock strikes 12 at night? Welcome to the cat-parents club. Take heart. You are not alone. Cats become noisy for different reasons at different stages of their lives. Let’s look at a few possible reasons behind your kitty’s annoying habit and explore a few ways of getting her to stop.
Why Does Your Kitty Meow At Night?
When your cat is young, she may want to play at night, keeping you up by meowing and howling in the wee hours. As she grows up, her hunting instincts may start kicking in. And she might meow and howl in frustration or elation as she spots and tries to hunt down an insect or a rodent, waking you up from slumber.
Sometimes your cat may just howl for attention and reassurance from her humans. Cats meow in the day time as well, it’s just that in the dead of the night it sounds way louder and demanding. Sometimes cats cry in the middle of the night out of boredom or when they feel anxious, probably from a change in routine or anything new in their environment.
Are You Encouraging Her Nightly Operas?
Our pets are extremely intelligent creatures and learn to behave based on our reactions to their behaviors. Every time you get up at night to check on your howling cat, worried that she may be in some or the other form of distress, you are unknowingly rewarding the nightly crying behavior. Your kitty will learn fairly quickly what she needs to do, to get your attention. You will have, in a way helped establish this behavior pattern in your cat.
If she gets used to being fed at the wee hours of the morning, for instance, she will start demanding to be fed at that time every single day. (Weekends and holidays included!) She would have successfully trained you to respond to her crying by waking up and feeding her. Whether you like it or not!
Is Your Kitty Getting Older?
If your cat is getting older, she may find it easier to call you to her rather than coming all the way to you. Your older cat will need you not just for food and shelter, but she will also need for you to reassure her every now and then. If you have an older cat, it might help not to leave her alone at night, and keep her close to where you are sleeping or give her access to your room for her to feel safe and secure and not start howling for your attention.
Older cats may meow louder also due to a loss of hearing sometimes, and it may be a good idea to have her hearing tested by her vet. Even her eyesight may be getting frail and it may help to keep night lights on at various locations so that she can move around independently without getting confused or lost. Older cats may also get more vocal due to physical ailments and sometimes serious underlying medical conditions. Age related health issues are common in older cats and it may be a good idea to get clarity on her health from her vet and help her deal with the illness accordingly.
Here’s How You Can Break The Habit
1. Give Her A Routine To Follow
Routines are important for our pets. Your kitty needs a routine to feel safe and relaxed. So, plan to build routines around your kitty’s playing, sleeping and feeding times. This is will ensure that she doesn’t get stressed or start meowing at an ungodly hour. It’s a good idea to include a fairly elaborate play session right before bed time to expend your kitty’s pent up energy and get her tired enough to sleep when you do. Right after the play session would be a good time to feed your kitty a part of her evening meal (that you have held back). Your tired and full kitty will groom herself and want to sleep right after that.
2. Keep Her Entertained
Keeping your kitty occupied is important. She needs to have things to do once she is up. Giving her plenty of toys and hiding some of them for her to find them can be a good idea. You can also leave paper bags and cardboard boxes (an all-time favorite with cats) for her to play with. This way she will not get bored or ask for your attention. What can also help is having runs, perches and cat trees at various places around the house to keep her well exercised and tired. You can also hide a few of her favorite treats in different places. This will keep her entertained and motivated throughout the time you’re asleep.
Don’t Yield Just Yet!
The important thing to remember, when you’re trying to get your cat to stop howling and meowing at night, is to not give in to her appeals and continuing to ignore her. And ignoring her means not paying any heed to her, and not reacting to her loud pleas in any way. The message that needs to be sent to her is that howling or meowing doesn’t get her what she wants. During this (seemingly difficult) time, you may need to use ear plugs or headphones to not let yourself be bothered by her cries. After a few (or more) failed attempts at it, she will simply stop.
If you give in sometimes and ignore her at others, she will only get confused by your mixed signals and that’ll only worsen the situation.