Why Do Cats Cry at Night – Exploring 11 Reasons That Might Play a Role



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One of the issues cat owners may face is their cat crying at night. Cats can call out of boredom, be on a different cycle than you, or they might be adjusting to a new condition in your home. There are many reasons for a cat to cry at night, which can be equally frustrating.

Why Do Cats Cry At Night. A grey cat with orange eyes crying, with a dark background.

But, if you know why your cat is crying, you can help them work through any issues, which means more uninterrupted sleep for you.

Having lived through almost every reason for a cat to cry at night, I will help you by discussing many of them. Read on for the 11 top reasons why cats cry at night.

Cats Get Bored

Cat meowing is often an indicator of boredom. If it is just you and your cat in the house, there is a chance that it is under-stimulated and needs some attention or physical activity.

Indoor cats have this problem most. Increasing its activity level throughout the day will help reduce your cat’s nighttime meowing.

Hormones Affect Cats

Like humans, your feline friend will undergo physical and physiological changes over the years. This is often why pet parents have a cat yowling or crying at night.

Meowing at night can signify that it is going through physical changes. However, this behavior often subsides when the cat comes to terms with the changes.

Cats Mark Their Territory

Just like large outdoor cats, domestic cats are very territorial. They are more active during the night. They aren’t completely nocturnal, but that is the time of day (or night) when they carry out many of their ‘chores.’ They prefer to be alone and protect their territory and who they allow in it.

One of those tasks is guarding their territory and watching for intruders. Your cat’s cry at night can be particularly loud if it wants to let other cats know that it is in its territory to keep them away or if it wants to scare off a threat (which could be a shadow it mistakes for a foreign entity).

Your Cat May Have Medical Issues

Your cat’s age is a significant factor in medical issues. For example, nighttime meowing can be a sign of illness.

Many cats cry when they experience even the slightest bodily discomfort.

Kidney problems or overactive thyroid issues don’t show on the surface, but they cause the animal internal discomfort. So if your furry friend has started meowing at night, take them for a medical checkup.

Cats Can Have Cognitive Dysfunction

Dysfunction can range from physical issues with the cat’s brain to mental disorders. But, again, a veterinary checkup will help outline any medical reasons and will also make it easier to diagnose depression, anxiety, and stress.

Sometimes a change in routine and accommodation, short active play, or a lack of socialization can cause stress and anxiety, leading to nighttime crying.

Natural Cat Cycle

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dusk and dawn. Therefore, they have a different body clock than humans.

If you notice your cat being overly active, meowing, and yowling at these times, understand that it is part of its nature. 4 a.m. could be its mealtime!

If you want it to sleep more consistently, try to increase daytime activities so it has fewer naps during the day.

Your Cats Age

Cat behavior changes with age; older cats aren’t as loud as younger cats. This is because they have gone through all their physical development and are more accustomed to their surroundings.

You might get a cat meow occasionally, but it will be far less frequent as it grows. Its diet will also change with age. Giving it more food or fresh water might help it get through the night more comfortably.

Cats Looking For Mates

Unless you have had your cat fixed, mating will cause night calling in both male and female cats.

Excessive meowing can also be for your attention, so ensure you get enough one-on-one time with your feline friend.

Again, this is less of an issue with senior cats. If you don’t plan on getting the cat fixed, finding a suitable mate is the only alternative to stop the meowing at night.

Cats Need Fresh Air

Cat meows can also mean that it wants to go out. Like humans, your pet can also feel trapped and crave fresh air. If you have been neglecting your outdoor time for a few days, it is likely to get frustrated.

Have a hearty play session with your cat as often as possible and allow it to spend time outdoors daily to keep it fresh and energized (if your local bylaws allow it). Outdoor catteries can be created for your cat if you have enough space.

Your Cat Has A Dirty Litter Box

Cats are easy to box train but can be picky about their litter box. For example, if it is loud at night, it might be a sign that the litter box is full and has nowhere to relieve itself.

Try to clean out the litter box before you head to bed; this should reduce your interrupted sleep!

Disturbance Preventing Your Cats Sleep

Late-night cats’ meowing can also be because it is unable to sleep. For example, it might be hungry, thirsty, or just disturbed by some noise preventing it from going to sleep.

We need a comfy environment to get good rest, as do cats. Sometimes other cats in the vicinity might be the issue, and the nighttime vocalizing is a self-protection strategy.

Try to insulate the environment for them as best as possible so they feel comfortable and secure at night.

Final Thoughts on Why Your Cat is Crying at Night

A cat crying at night will give many cat lovers heartache. Luckily, you can do many things to remedy this situation and prevent it from happening. If you hear your cat making a noise at night, try and understand what could be causing the issue and look at all the possible factors discussed here.

Now that you know some reasons for excessive meowing from your four-legged companion, you can support them through any stress, medical issues, or anything else affecting them and help them get a good night’s sleep.

Before you go, you may find these articles helpful:

When To Neuter or Spay A Cat

When Do Cats Stop Growing?

How Good Is A Cat’s Memory

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