Why Do Cats Meow at Night?

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A cat that makes it a habit to meow loudly throughout the night can definitely be annoying. But even though this behavior may seem unwarranted, there are several reasons why a cat may find the need to become more vocal once the sun goes down and you’ve gone off to bed.

Nocturnal Habits

Cats are typically awake at some point during the night as a result of their natural tendency towards being nocturnal creatures. So even though your kitty spends quite a bit of time awake during the day, he may still feel the need to have a little fun at night, even though this is an inconvenience to your sleep.

Related: How To Discipline A Cat (Without Losing Your Mind!)

If your kitty is up at night and tends to make noise by running around or meowing loudly, he may be trying to get your attention, he may want food, or he might want to play.

Younger cats, especially those that are less than 1 year old, are highly active at night, but a newly adopted kitten or older cat may cry out at night because he feels a bit frightened, lonely, and insecure in his new surroundings.

Kitties who like to sit at the window and look outside may see and hear things, such as stray cats or wild animals, that make them call out loudly.

Loud cats may also be looking for a mate at night, so simply spaying and neutering your pets might make a difference.

Potential Medical Conditions

Despite natural nocturnal behaviors and meowing to simply get your attention or to release energy, there are some underlying medical conditions that may cause your cat to become loud and vocal at night.

Related: How To Calm A Hyper Kitten

For example, if you get up to see why your cat is meowing and you find that he’s wandering restlessly throughout the house, he may be uncomfortable or in pain (especially if he’s also vocal during the day). In this case, it’s necessary to take your pet to the vet to be examined.

Another cause could be CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome), which can make a cat wake up and feel disoriented.

And if you have a senior kitty, he may be vocalizing because he’s losing his hearing.

What You Can Do

In order to get the sleep you need and help your kitty calm down and quiet down, you can try the following tips:

  • Interact with your cat by scheduling play sessions during the day and especially in the evening before bed. A tired cat will go to sleep with you and won’t have the energy to keep you up at night. Use toys that allow your cat to mimic hunting behavior, and play with your kitty until he appears tired and has had enough.
  • Give your kitty a meal right before you head to bed, as felines usually like to sleep after a large meal. This may also prevent your cat from asking for food throughout the night or before your alarm goes off. If this doesn’t work, though, you can use a timed feeder during the night. To avoid weight gain, talk to your vet about appropriate meal sizes if you’re introducing additional meal times throughout the night.
  • If you find that your cat craves attention and appears lonely or bored at night, getting him a companion kitty could be a good solution, provided that they get along and play with one another. But whether you have a single cat or more than one, simply closing the door to your bedroom at night can allow them to release energy and play without disturbing you.
  • Leave safe cat toys around the house for your kitty to find and play with at night. You may even want to leave some treats around for him to hunt down and munch on until it’s time for breakfast.
  • If your cat is older and becomes disoriented at night, leave on a night light here and there, place a warm cat bed in your bedroom so that he doesn’t get lonely, and take other steps to ensure he’s comfortable and relaxed.

Ultimately, if you want to break these nighttime habits, don’t reward your cat’s behavior by giving him attention, playtime, food, etc. After ensuring that your kitty isn’t injured or hurt, and figuring out why he’s meowing at night, it’s a good idea to ignore him because fulfilling his requests may motivate him to continue bothering you. In other words, to stop the behavior, your cat needs to learn that meowing gets him nowhere while you sleep.