How to stop kittens from crying

First-time parents are familiar with trying to answer the question, “why is the baby crying?” But this question becomes even more challenging when the baby is of a different species—a new kitten. Crying in kittens can mean many different things, but it’s important to keep in mind that if your kitten is crying or whining, there is a need that must be met.

Here are some of the common reasons your kitten might be crying, and how to help her find relief.

Your Kitten Is Lonely

Kittens are curious creatures with high energy, and they require lots of mental and physical stimulation while they’re awake in order to be happy. If a kitten is constantly crying, they may be looking for your attention or calling out in search of another kitten or their mother—especially if they were just adopted.

Make sure to carve out plenty of time during the day to play with your new kitten. If you have the means and are ready for the commitment, you might want to consider adopting an additional kitten so the felines can provide each other with companionship. Many experts strongly recommend adopting kittens in pairs.

Your Kitten Is Lost or Confused

New kitten parents may be tempted to give a kitten full run of the house, but for a young animal, it can be confusing or even scary to have such a large territory. If a kitten is crying, she may be lost and calling out for help because she does not recognize her surroundings, or doesn’t know how to get back to the litter box or cat bed.

New adopters should give kittens a smaller “home base” for the first week or two so that the feline can comfortably acclimate to the space. Once the kitten has developed confidence about her new territory, she can gradually be allowed access to more and more of the house.

Your Kitten Is Hungry

Just like human babies, kittens are likely to cry out when it’s been too long between meals. If a kitten is crying for food every day, consider your feeding schedule and determine if you are providing frequent enough feedings.

Young kittens develop quickly and should be fed ample amounts of wet food to aid in their growth. While a strict feeding schedule might be appropriate for an adult cat, kittens need to be fed when they’re hungry—so increase the quantity or frequency of feeding if you suspect that the kitten is crying for food. Once a kitten reaches 3 or 4 months of age, it is more reasonable to expect them to be able to follow a feeding schedule.

Your Kitten Needs to Poop

When kittens are first getting used to using a litter box on their own, it’s not uncommon for them to be a little fussy about pooping. Kittens under 8 weeks old will often meow before or during defecation, and that’s okay as long as the kitten is not straining or uncomfortable.

If a kitten is crying out every time she poops, or is pushing and struggling to use the litter box, bring her to the vet to make sure that there is not an underlying medical issue. Constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems must be taken seriously, especially in a young kitten, so don’t delay if you suspect that the kitten is unwell.

Your Kitten Is in Pain

You’ll know it when you hear it—the shrieking cry of an injured animal is hard to miss. If you hear a piercing, shrill cry from a kitten, this is a sign that she is in serious distress. This can occur for a number of reasons, such as a limb being stuck in an uncomfortable position or a tail being stepped on accidentally.

Immediately address the source of the pain and assess the situation to see if further care is required. Seek help from a veterinarian if you suspect that the kitten has an injury.

Your Kitten Is Sick

A kitten’s sorrowful cries could be an indication that the kitten is sick. Illness may not always be visually obvious to a caretaker, but a kitten’s cries can indicate that something is causing her distress. If a kitten seems vacant or fatigued and is crying, you’ll want to seek medical attention immediately.

It’s also important to remember that cats and kittens don’t always express their distress audibly. Much of the time, illness is actually expressed by becoming lethargic or silent—not by crying. The most important thing is for kitten caretakers to be watchful anytime a kitten’s behavior dramatically changes, whether they’re crying at the top of their lungs, or retreating into silence.

How to stop kittens from crying

You always want to be sure that you are doing the right thing to support your pet the best way that you can as a new kitten owner. One of the ways that you can do so is by making sure that you are attentive to your kitten’s needs.

Your kitten uses a variety of ways to communicate with you. One of the most blaring, in-your-face reasons is by crying. If you’re noticing that your kitten is crying, you’re likely worried that something is wrong with them. Before you panic, be sure that you look into what could be causing this first. Oftentimes you will find that nothing is really wrong.

Of course, if you are noticing that your kitten is crying nonstop, it’s recommended that you contact a trusted vet. This will prove to be helpful for a myriad of reasons. First of all, it will give you, their owner, peace of mind that there’s nothing wrong.

In addition, if something actually does require attention, your kitten will be able to get it in an expedient manner. You can also ask your vet what you can do to make your kitten stop crying. Just remember: there’s a reason why your kitty is crying, and it’s because they have a need that isn’t being met.

Today, Pawp is going to share some of the reasons why your precious kitten might be crying. This article will run through these reasons and share why they occur. By the time you’re done reading, you’re going to have a much more robust understanding of why kittens cry and how you can help them.

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How to stop kittens from crying

The top five reasons your kitten is crying

It is always possible that there’s some other reason why your kitten is crying that is not included on this list. That being said, a lot of the reasons why kittens get upset are included.

As a reminder: you don’t have to wait until your vet opens the next day if your kitten starts wailing during the middle of the night. With Pawp, it’s actually possible to see a vet whenever you need. These telehealth visits for your pet are effective and simple. Talk to a vet on-demand and vet advice immediately. Pawp is in the business of being peace of mind.

Your new kitten is lonely

No matter how wonderful your home is, your new kitten is going to miss their littermates and their mother sometimes when they’re transitioning to their new lifestyle with your family.

This is exacerbated by the fact that kittens are extremely curious and active creatures. They have a lot of energy, and in order to keep them happy, you will have to give them a lot of mental and physical stimulation, too.

Therefore, if you’re noticing that a kitten is crying non-stop after you bring them home, it is likely due to the fact that they are looking for either their mother or another kitten around. They could even be seeking your attention.

There are several ways that you can tackle this. For one, if you have the resources to adopt a couple of kittens from the same litter, you can certainly do that. This could help ease loneliness.

Just remember that each kitten needs their own litter box: they do not enjoy sharing one. Getting a pair could prove quite rewarding — for both you and the kittens, too. They’ll have someone else to communicate with and will definitely feel less alone.

In addition, you can take steps to help. Carve out quality time during the day that you can spend with your kitten. During this time, it’s highly recommended that you play with them rather than simply sitting next to them on the couch.

Your new kitten is hungry

It turns out that kitten babies and human babies actually might have more in common than you might think. Kittens cry out if they’re hungry or if they feel it has been too long in between their feeding times.

If your kitten is routinely crying out for food (every single day), you might want to look into your feeding schedule and the cat food you’re feeding them. There’s a chance that you’re not feeding your new cat frequently enough. In this case, you should make adjustments. You can also talk to a vet about their feeding if you’re unsure.

Your kitten is developing quickly during this period of time, and you should be giving them an ample amount of wet food. This will aid in their growth. And of course, while a strict feeding schedule is a necessity for an older cat, kittens require some more flexibility. In other words, if you see that your kitten is hungry, feed them. When your kitten is around 3 to 4 months old, then they’re more likely to be able to follow an actual feeding schedule.

Your kitten needs to defecate

Another common reason why kittens begin crying is that they need to poop. Nevertheless, it takes a while for a kitten to get acclimated to using a new litter box, so don’t be shocked if you find that your cat is fussy about this at first.

To create the ideal litter box, Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson recommends keeping a “shallow amount of litter like one to two inches” instead of a deep amount. She also says that while a “majority of cats prefer large boxes that they can easily enter, kittens are so tiny you want to make sure they can get in and out of the box.”

In addition, kittens that are younger than 8 weeks will often meow before or after they go to the bathroom, and that’s normal. Just be sure that your kitten does not appear to be uncomfortable or straining. If your cat is constipated, there are solutions.

But what about if your new cat is crying out every single time they poop, and they’re pushing and having difficulty using their litter box? Bring your pet to the vet so that they can quickly check them out. They will ensure that there is not an underlying health problem.

It is always important to take diarrhea, constipation, and gastrointestinal distress seriously when you have a little kitten. It’s better to err on the side of caution and bring your cat to the vet sooner rather than later.

How to stop kittens from crying

Cats are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and nocturnal (active at night). Even though cats are wired for activity at the same time you’re snoozing in bed, you can reset your cat’s body clock with a little patience and diligence

Jackson Galaxy from the TV show My Cat From Hell recommends providing toys throughout the day while you’re away. Active play can between naps can help your cat stay alert during the day. When night falls, schedule a hearty play session with your feline friend to further tire him out. Follow playtime with his evening meal. Pushing your cat’s mealtime back will help minimize his crying for a midnight snack.

If your cat is a free feeder and grazes throughout the day, changing this behavior could prove a wee bit more challenging.

“If you allow them to graze all day long, not only do you not have a chance of affecting their behavior even a little bit, but you’re also not allowing their body to process foods in a natural way…If you’re free feeding, stop and establish a meal time,” Galaxy said.

2. Provide essentials like food and water.

Middle-of-the-night meowing could be your cat’s way of letting you know she’s hungry or thirsty. If you follow Galaxy’s advice to feed later in the evening, say around 9:30 p.m., nighttime crying for food should end. Make sure to fill your cat’s water bowl before turning in for the night, too. That way they’re not calling out for a drink at 3 a.m.

3. Scoop the litter box before bed.

Cats prefer a fresh and clean litter box when they go about their business. So a dirty litter box could be the reason your cat is crying at night. Try scooping before bedtime so your furry friend has a clean place to do business. Aside from daily or twice daily scooping, your cat’s litter box should be dumped every week and the box washed out thoroughly with a safe, environmentally friendly cleaner. A glistening litter box will help keep your cat happy and quiet at night.

4. Give your kitty plenty of playtime and affection before bed.

Some cats cry at night out of loneliness, boredom, or anxiety. Especially if you’ve been away at work all day, your cat needs interaction and companionship. Without one-on-one time your furry friend will become stressed and lonely , and he’s likely to let it be known when you’re right in the middle of REM sleep.

Spend time with your kitty in the evenings. Lavishing a cat with love and affection should be fun and rewarding, right? So grab a laser, ball, or wand, and get ready to romp.

5. Use nightlights around your home to help senior cats with dementia or vision issues.

Being able to see their surroundings can help an elderly cat with visual problems or impaired cognitive function feel less fearful and more confident, which should help tone down night-time caterwauling.

6. Refrain from responding to your cat’s night-time meowing.

If your cat’s needs are being met and you suspect the night-time vocalizing is linked to his desire for your attention, ignore him . As hard as it might be, shrugging off the behavior with neither a hush nor an admonition will teach your cat that no amount of unnecessary meowing will get you out of bed.

Will this tactic work? Yes, but it might take a couple of weeks. In the interim, you might invest in ear plugs.

7. Check for lights or sounds that could disturb your pet.

An annoying noise or even light filtering in through might be the cause of all that meowing outside your bedroom door. Remember that cats can hear sounds of up to 64,000HZ — compared to 20,000HZ for humans and 45,000HZ for dogs — so you may not even hear what’s bothering your kitty. LED lights and flickering computer screens might also disturb your cat during the night. Try shutting off your laptop to end the caterwauling.

Losing sleep because your four-legged companion won’t stop meowing warrants immediate attention. First up, figure out why the behavior is happening, and then set out to resolve it so that you and your kitty can finally get a good night’s sleep. ? ?

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Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they’re hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations — such as yowling, hissing, and growling — to communicate with each other. Meowing is reserved for their communications with people.

Of course, the amount of meowing varies by breed and even cat. Oriental breeds, especially Siamese cats, are known as great “talkers,” so anyone who doesn’t like meowing probably should steer clear of these breeds.

And some cats just seem to like to hear their own voices, while others seem to want to carry on a conversation with their owners. If your cat is talking a little more than you’d like, try to figure out the cause first. Once you know the reason, you can then work to get your cat to meow less.

Why Does My Cat Meow So Much?

Cats meow for many reasons, from the serious to the attention-seeking. They include:

  • Illness. The first step is a thorough checkup by your veterinarian. Numerous diseases can cause a cat to feel hunger, thirst, or pain, all of which can lead to excessive meowing. Cats also can develop an overactive thyroid or kidney disease, both of which can result in excessive vocalizations.
  • Attention seeking. Despite what some people think, cats don’t like being alone a lot. Cats often meow to initiate play, petting, or to get you to talk to them. If you want to cut down on attention-seeking meows, stop responding when it happens. Only give them attention when they are quiet. If they start to meow again, look or walk away. But don’t ignore your pet. Spend quality time each day with them, playing, grooming, and talking to them. A tired pet is a quieter pet.
  • Wants food. Some cats meow every time someone walks in the kitchen, hoping to get a bite. And many cats become very vocal when it gets close to their feeding times. If this is your problem, don’t feed your cat when they cry. Wait until they are quiet to put down food, and don’t give them treats when they meow. If this doesn’t work, get an automatic feeder that opens at set times. Now kitty will meow at the feeder and not you.
  • Greeting you. Many cats meow when their people come home, or even when they just meet them in the house. This is a hard habit to break, but look at it as kitty saying they are happy to see you.
  • They are lonely. If you pet spends too many hours a day alone, think about getting a pet sitter to enrich your pet’s life. Put a bird feeder outside a window they can watch. Leave foraging toys out with food inside. Get them a kitty condo and rotate different toys that you leave out for play.
  • A stressed cat. Cats that are experiencing stress often become more vocal. A new pet or baby, a move or changes to the home, an illness or the loss of a loved one can turn your cat into a talker. Try to discover what is stressing your pet and help them adjust to the change. If that’s not possible, give your cat extra attention to help soothe them.
  • Aging cats. Cats, just like people, can suffer from a form of mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, as they age. They become disoriented and often cry plaintively for no apparent reason, especially at night. A nightlight sometimes can help if your cat becomes disoriented at night, and veterinarians often can prescribe medications that help these symptoms.
  • Cats that want to breed. If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, then you’re going to hear a lot more noise. Females yowl when in heat, and males yowl when they smell a female in heat. Both can be maddening to live with. Getting your pet spayed or neutered will prevent this.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t ignore it without making sure there’s no problem. Although you don’t want to reward meowing, sometimes cats meow for good reason – they can’t reach their litter box, they’re trapped in a room, the water bowl is empty. Check on them when they meow to determine if it’s something you can safely ignore, or a problem that must be corrected right away.
  • Don’t punish a cat for meowing. Hitting, shouting, and spraying cats with water rarely work to quiet a meowing cat in the long run, but all those actions will make your cat distrust or even dislike you.
  • Don’t give in. If your cat is used to getting what they want from meowing, they are going to meow more, and louder, when it quits working. In other words, it will probably get worse before it gets better. Just keep rewarding quiet behavior and ignoring meowing, and eventually they’ll get the idea.

Show Sources

ASPCA: “Cats and Excessive Meowing.”

Adams, J. How to Say It to Your Cat: Understanding and Communicating with Your Feline, Prentice Hall Press, 2003.

Hotchner, T. The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know, Gotham Books, 2007.

As precious as kittens are, dealing with nonstop meowing can be quite a headache, especially if it’s the middle of the night and you have to be up early for work. Thankfully, a few minor adjustments can usually keep your kittens quieter — and happier, too, for that matter. Phew!

Step 1

Pay no mind to the vocalization. Kittens often cry, yowl and meow in order to get attention from people, even if that attention is not quite the positive kind. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, attention is the primary motive behind feline vocalization issues. The kittens may want attention in the form of a petting session, or in the form of yummy treats courtesy of you. If you do not believe that the kittens are in any way suffering from pain or illness, allow them to meow it out. Although the kittens may stop meowing once they realize that it is getting them nowhere, it will likely also work as a long-term plan. As tempting as it may be to acknowledge their “talking,” teach them that being silent works a lot better.

Step 2

Acknowledge your kittens’ interactive needs. Happy and satisfied kittens are the key to quiet kittens. Kittens thrive on interaction, not only from each other, but also from humans. Set aside time for some meaningful and quality interaction with your kittens every day, whether you stroke their wee backs as you watch television at night or encourage them to chase after the laser pointer. If kittens are stimulated and get sufficient exercise, they will be much less likely to act out and cry.

Step 3

Organize your kittens’ feeding schedule. If you are uncertain about how often to feed your kittens, speak to your veterinarian about putting together a healthy, nutritious and suitable meal plan for your fur balls. The ASPCA recommends feeding kittens between three and four times a day, depending on their exact age — if they are between 6 weeks and 6 months, that is. If you only feed your kittens at specific times of the day, the little ones will rapidly learn that crying for food is a pointless act. Never get off track from your feeding schedule. If you do, it will only teach the kitties that crying for food indeed does work sometimes.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

The cat’s meow is her way of communicating with people. Cats meow for many reasons—to say hello, to ask for things, and to tell us when something’s wrong. Meowing is an interesting vocalization in that adult cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at people. Kittens meow to let their mother know they’re cold or hungry, but once they get a bit older, cats no longer meow to other cats. But they continue to meow to people throughout their lives, probably because meowing gets people to do what they want. Cats also yowl—a sound similar to the meow but more drawn out and melodic. Unlike meowing, adult cats do yowl at one another, specifically during breeding season.

When does meowing become excessive? That’s a tough call to make, as it’s really a personal issue. All cats are going to meow to some extent—this is normal communication behavior. But some cats meow more than their pet parents would like. Bear in mind that some breeds of cats, notably the Siamese, are prone to excessive meowing and yowling.

Why Cats Meow

These are the most common reasons why cats meow:

  • To greet people. Your cat can be expected to meow in greeting when you come home, when she meets up with you in the house and when you speak to her.
  • To solicit attention. Cats enjoy social contact with people, and some will be quite vocal in their requests for attention. The cat may want to be stroked, played with or simply talked to. Cats who are left alone for long periods of time each day may be more likely to meow for attention.
  • To ask for food. Most cats like to eat, and they can be quite demanding around mealtimes. Some cats learn to meow whenever anyone enters the kitchen, just in case food might be forthcoming. Others meow to wake you up to serve them breakfast. Cats also learn to beg for human food by meowing.
  • To ask to be let in or out. Meowing is the cat’s primary way to let you know what she wants. If she wants to go outside, she’ll likely learn to meow at the door. Likewise, if she’s outdoors and wants in, she’ll meow to get you to let her back inside. If you’re trying to transition a cat from being indoor-outdoor to living exclusively indoors, you may be in for a period of incessant meowing at doors and windows. This is a difficult change for a cat to make, and it will very likely take weeks or even months for the meowing to stop.
  • Elderly cats suffering from mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, may meow if they become disoriented—a frequent symptom of this feline version of Alzheimer’s Disease. For more information, please read our article on Behavior Problems in Older Cats.
  • To find a mate. Reproductively intact cats are more likely to yowl. Females yowl to advertise their receptivity to males, and males yowl to gain access to females.

Take Your Cat to the Veterinarian

A cat who meows a lot should be checked thoroughly by a veterinarian to ensure a medical condition is not the cause of the cat’s distress. Numerous diseases can cause cats to feel unusually hungry, thirsty, restless or irritable—any of which is likely to prompt meowing. Even if your cat has a history of meowing for food, you should still have her checked by your veterinarian. As cats age, they’re prone to developing an overactive thyroid and kidney disease, and either one may result in excessive meowing.

Helping Your Cat Be Less Vocal

Before you try to curb your cat’s excessive vocalizing, you need to determine the cause. Look at the circumstances around her meowing and make note of what seems to get her to stop. It may help to keep a log book so you can look for any patterns in when she becomes especially vocal. Once you identify when she’s likely to meow excessively, try these suggestions to help her control her vocalizations:

The first night with a new kitten or puppy is a very exciting time. We want cuddles and kisses and we want them now! But we’re forgetting one important thing. Our new pets have just been separated from their mum and siblings and brought into a new world filled with unfamiliar sights and scents. So if you’ve just decided to add to your family, we have put together a few tips and tricks to help you get them settled into their new home.

How to stop kittens from crying

First Night Home with a Kitten

Kittens can be separated from their mothers after 8 weeks old which is age equivalent to a 4-year-old child. That is why it is so important to make sure you have set up an inviting and comfortable environment. First of all, as hard as it might be, you should resist the urge to let your new pet in the bed with you. You don’t want any devastating incidents to occur during the night. Instead, you should set up a sleeping area in a safe room within the home. We suggest a laundry room fitted with a comfortable bed and a lot of blankets. You should also have small bowls of food and water placed a small distance apart (cats don’t like their food right next to their water) and of course a litter tray.

How to stop kittens from crying

First Night Home with a Puppy

Puppies can be adopted after they’ve reached the 8-week mark. This age is generally equivalent to a 14-month-old human, so needless to say they need a lot of extra care. During the first few weeks, a good idea is to set up a crate as a temporary bed and line it with lots of blankets and a toy. You should never isolate your puppy, instead position the crate near your bed, either in your room or the hallway. You may be tempted to keep them in their own room when they start to cry and howl, but complete isolation at this young age can cause detrimental anxiety and behavioural changes. So although you might lose sleep for a few nights, you should be patient and let your pup self soothe. This way they won’t begin to associate crying and howling with the reward of cuddles and attention. As hard as the first few nights will be, it is all worth it in the end.

How to stop kittens from crying

Whining & Crying

It is completely normal for kittens to cry on their first few nights in a new environment. A good idea is to warm up a blanket to mimic the warmth they would get from their mother so that they feel more at home.

You can also use a warm blanket for puppies, as well as toys to comfort them. Another helpful tip is to keep them up and take them for a short walk before bedtime so that they are sure to have a good, long sleep.

Toilet Training

Now is the fun part… Toilet training. A good tip for toilet training your kitten is to use the same brand of kitty litter that was used at their first home. Any familiar scents are a bonus, and this just might speed up the toilet training process. Also, once they’ve used the tray for the first time, it is a good idea to leave their droppings there for the first 24 hours. This will help them recognise where to continue toileting in the future.

For puppies, it is highly likely they will go where and when they need to go for the first few weeks. But this doesn’t mean you can’t start toilet training. When you notice any toilet needing behaviour, quickly take them outside on a leash and let them go in the garden. The earlier you start, the sooner they will catch on and the fewer carpets you’ll be cleaning!

How to stop kittens from crying

When arriving home with your adorable kitten, your first instinct may be to lavish them with endless cuddles but it’s actually best to give your kitten some space. First, set up a sleeping area and allow your kitten to explore and get used to its new surroundings. Your kitten will need some time to get to know you and settle into their new space. If you follow our guidelines below, your kitten will soon happily adjust to your family and be sleeping peacefully through the night.

Where should my new kitten sleep?

A secure and comfortable room like the laundry is ideal, or you might even want to consider a pen or large crate so that you can control your kitten’s movements at night. Kittens love to be nice and cosy, so make sure there are lots of blankets, and that the bed has reasonably high sides to provide extra warmth. Make sure your kitten has access to a water bowl, food, and litter tray near their sleeping area. This room is your kitten’s space and they need to feel comfortable in order to adapt to your home.

Comfy cat bedding

Should I let my kitten sleep in my bed?

As tempting as it may be, avoid letting your kitten sleep on your bed or with the kids. As well as being dangerous for your kitten, cats carry some diseases that can be transmitted to humans. To avoid injury, it’s best to keep your kitten in a secure space while you’re both sleeping. If you allow your pet to roam free while they are young, you may find it hard to enforce bedtime in the future.

Should the light be left on or turned off?

Remember, cats can see in the dark a lot better than you or I can, so your kitten will have no problem finding what they need, even in minimal light. However, you can leave the light on or provide a night light on the first night while they adjust to their surroundings. An interesting fact about cats is that they love to be active at both dusk and dawn, so it will take some effort on your part to get yours to adapt to your schedule. Turning out the light when you go to bed can help to establish the sleep patterns with your home. This is very important if your kitten is going to become a happy member of the family.

What should I do when my kitten starts crying at night?

It’s almost inevitable that your kitten will cry for at least the first couple of nights when you bring them home. Remember, they’ve just been removed from their mum and littermates and they’re bound to feel a little bit lonely. The best thing you can do is keep your kitten feeling as safe and warm as possible. A great tip is to put a hot water bottle in their bed, as the warmth will help your kitten to relax and feel more comfortable – just make sure the bottle is covered and not too hot! Please do not use boiling water from the kettle.

Conclusion

If you take the time to provide your kitten with a safe and secure sleeping environment and encourage them to adapt to your sleeping patterns, your pet will become a well-adjusted cat in the long run. These helpful suggestions we’ve provided should get you on your way nicely. If you’re experiencing trouble getting your kitten to sleep at night, please book in a behavioural consultation at your local Greencross Vets who will be happy to help you resolve your problems.

How to stop kittens from crying

As you probably already know, cats make a variety of noises. Some breeds, such as Siamese cats, are known to be naturally noisy, but any cat can meow loudly for a number of reasons.

Although you may find excessively loud meowing to be annoying, it may also be an indication that your cat isn't feeling well.

Pay attention to your cat and what else is happening while it’s crying. If you can figure out the reason for your kitty’s loud meowing, you might just be able to stop it.

Why Do Cats Meow Loudly?

Aside from body language, meows are a cat's primary mode of communication. A meow can come in many forms and for many different reasons. Most healthy cats are usually attempting to communicate something when they meow. For instance, your cat may be trying to tell you that it's hungry, stressed out, scared, excited, or that it simply wants some of your time and attention.

How to stop kittens from crying

The Spruce / Emilie Dunphy

Meows may also sound slightly different from one another based on the reasons behind them:

  • Scared or angry meows are typically louder than other types of meows. These meows can be somewhat intense and frightening at times and, depending on the source of your cat’s fright or anger, either short-lived or prolonged.
  • Meows or cries in response to pain may also be loud and are an obvious sign that your cat is in distress. Quite often, this type of meow is low-pitched and mournful sounding. It may be repeated throughout the day or only when your cat is engaged in a specific activity that causes pain,   such as trying to use the litter box.
  • Hungry meows usually go along with being excited. If your cat hears a treat bag crinkling, the can opener buzzing, or food bowls clanging, it may come running and start meowing out of excitement. Then again, if your cat knows it’s mealtime and you’re distracted by something else, the reminder meows will likely get louder with each passing minute.
  • Attention-seeking meows are indications that your cat may want to play with you or be petted. For example, your cat may get excited and meow loudly when you return home from work.
  • Many cat owners are also familiar with night meows; if your cat is nocturnal, it may meow loudly while you’re trying to sleep to induce you to play.

Deafness

Some cats are born deaf, whereas others may become deaf over time. A deaf cat may not even realize it’s making a sound when it meows. This makes it very difficult to interpret what the cat is trying to tell you through its vocalizations.

A deaf cat's meows are often much louder than those of a non-deaf cat as well because it doesn't know it's deaf and can't control the volume of its voice. This might be really obvious when your deaf cat can’t see you and is trying to find you.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Similar to people who have Alzheimer’s disease, your pets can develop cognitive dysfunction as they get older. As a disease process, it’s not completely understood. But it may cause your cat to appear confused and to vocalize more than it used to. Some cognitively dysfunctional cats also stare while meowing loudly, especially at night.  

How to Stop Loud Meowing

If you think you may have pinpointed the reason for your cat's loud meowing, then you may be able to stop it by making a few changes to its routine and environment.

Cats meow (and don’t meow!) for a number of reasons. When they’re kittens, they mew to their mothers when they’re cold, hungry, or scared. As they get older, they learn other ways to vocalize and interact with other cats, usually by yowling or hissing. Meowing is an adult cat’s main way of communicating with you and other people. But if your cat is constantly meowing, it can become a major annoyance.

If you’re constantly asking yourself, “Why is my cat crying?” and “Why does my cat meow so much?” then you’re in the right place.

The first step to get your cat to quiet down is to figure out why your cat’s meowing. A cat crying for attention will require something different than a cat crying in pain. Here are a few of the most common reasons cats meow continually and how you can get a cat to stop meowing so much.

How to stop kittens from cryingDidgeman/Pixabay

They’re lonely and want to chat with you

The problem: If your cat spends long hours at home alone, she may be lonely. While kitties are not the most social animals, they do enjoy company from time to time. Your cat may greet you when you come back home or consistently meow when she walks in the room. Some cats like to mimic humans and join in regular conversations, too.

The solution: To quiet her down, consider leaving out some toys to entertain her while you’re gone. You can get a kitty condo or interactive toys. You can also put a bird feeder outside her favorite window to attract birds and provide hours of entertainment, or play a video created just for cats on YouTube.

They want food

The problem: Is your cat crying nonstop anytime someone enters the kitchen? She is probably begging for food, even if it’s not her usual mealtime. Some cats can become very vocal when they believe it’s time to be fed.

The solution: To train your cat not to do this, don’t feed her when she meows. Instead, wait until she’s quiet to put down her bowl. Don’t give her treats when she cries to you. Over time, she’ll learn that being quiet means food time. You can also try using an automatic feeder, which releases a portion of food at a set time every day.

How to stop kittens from cryingjingoba/Pixabay

They want attention

The problem: Some kitties meow at you when they want attention. Cats enjoy being around people and may start talking when they want you to play or pet them. Does your cat want attention? To prevent her constant meowing, give her attention only when she’s quiet. If she begins meowing again, look away or stop what you’re doing.

The solution: Be careful not to ignore her. Your cat wants to spend time with you! She needs quality time every day for playing, grooming, and chatting. Schedule time with your furry friend, whether she’s meowing at you or not.

How to stop kittens from crying

They have a medical problem, or they’re stressed

The problem: Numerous diseases and ailments can cause your cat to be hungry, thirsty, or in pain, resulting in excessive meowing. Kidney disease and an overactive thyroid are just two such medical conditions. Stress can also cause a cat to be more vocal. If you’ve moved recently, added a new family member, or gone through any other significant life changes, your cat may be feeling stressed out, making her meow more.

The solution: This can be a severe problem. If you suspect your cat is in physical or emotional pain, schedule an appointment with your vet for a full checkup. They can give you tips for how to calm your anxious kitty or create a complete treatment plan to relieve your cat’s pain.

How to stop kittens from cryingPitsch/Pixabay

They’re getting old

The problem: As cats age, they can begin to experience cognitive dysfunction and mental confusion. Just like older people, they may become easily disoriented. This can cause a cat to cry more frequently, especially during the night.

The solution: Sometimes a nightlight can help your cat feel more comfortable if she gets disoriented at night. However, this issue is best handled with a vet’s assistance. They can determine if aging is causing your kitty to meow. Additionally, they can prescribe medications that can alleviate her symptoms.

How to stop kittens from crying

They want to breed

The problem: If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, she will be very vocal when she wants to breed. Female cats are often louder than males. They will yowl when they’re in heat (about one week every month), and males will yowl when they smell a female cat in heat. Both, however, can be very annoying to live with. To prevent this sort of meowing, get your cat spayed or neutered.

The solution: While cats’ meowing can be aggravating, it is a sign that they are unhappy. Whether they simply need more attention or require medical care, you should not ignore your cat’s cries. When your cat meows, be sure to check on her to figure out the reason for the noise.

Once you know why your cat’s meowing, you can help solve her problem. You may need to set aside time to play with her or schedule a vet appointment. But with this guide, stopping your cat from constantly meowing will be a little easier.

Is your kitten crying more than usual? She may be trying to tell you something important!

How to stop kittens from crying

If your kitten has been meowing a lot, you may be asking “why is my kitten crying so much?” Cats use vocalizations to communicate with their human caretakers, so some crying is perfectly normal for your kitten. However, if you feel that your kitten’s crying has become excessive, it may be a sign that there is a problem you need to address.

Too much crying is not only a nuisance, but can also mean that your cat is uncomfortable or in need of something, which may be as simple as giving them a little extra of the best kitten food if their meowing is the result of a rumbling tummy. Check out these four most common reasons why kittens cry, and see if any of them sound like your kitten!

Crying for attention

The most common reason why kittens cry is because they are seeking attention from their owners. Kittens are active and highly curious creatures that are constantly on the go, and they want to be part of whatever you’re doing, too! As pet owners, we frequently reinforce this behavior by simply petting, talking to, or picking up our kittens when they cry. By giving our kittens this type of positive reinforcement, we teach them that crying is a great way to get our attention. Even negative attention, like yelling or scolding, is still attention and can inadvertently reinforce the crying behavior.

To help curb this attention-seeking behavior, make sure you’re spending plenty of time one-on-one with your kitten every day – using the best kitten toys to play and bond can be a great way of doing this. If your kitten is still constantly crying for attention and being a nuisance, resist the urge to react – either positively or negatively – as this will only reinforce the behavior. Instead, wait until your kitten is quiet and calm before you reward her with some cuddles for good behavior.

Crying for food

Cats are notorious for their late night demands for food. If your kitten is crying, it may be because she is hungry. Young kittens naturally know that they should cry to let their mothers know they are hungry. If your kitten is crying for food, it is important to first make sure that you are feeding your kitten enough food for her current age and weight, and that you are feeding a kitten food that is complete and balanced to ensure she is getting all the nutrients she needs as she grows. If you’re unsure what or how much to feed, your veterinarian is a great resource to guide you. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best kitten diet and can also advise you on how many calories to feed per day to ensure your kitten is getting plenty of nutrients for growth.

If your little one has already eaten their main meals, been given a few of the best kitten treats and still continues to beg for food, be careful not to reward this behavior by giving your kitten more food – this only teaches her that begging for food works! Instead, ignore the behavior or redirect her onto another activity, like playing with her favorite toy. It can also help to use an automatic feeder to dispense measured portions of food at specific times of day, so that you are no longer the source of the food and your kitten will be less likely to bother you for a snack.

Crying due to pain or discomfort

A less common, but no less important, cause of crying in kittens is pain and discomfort. Your kitten may be crying because she doesn’t feel well, she is in pain, or she’s simply uncomfortable in some way. If you suspect your kitten may be in pain, it is important to take her to the veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination, and may recommend some additional testing such as x-rays to look for injuries or blood work to rule out certain illnesses.

Once the cause of your kitten’s discomfort has been diagnosed, your veterinarian can prescribe pain medications and other treatments to help get her back to her old self again. It may even be something as simple as your little one’s new chompers starting to push through, in which case a few of the best kitten teething toys may be all that’s needed to resolve the crying.

Never give your kitten over the counter pain medications or any medication not specifically prescribed for her. Many of these medications can be toxic pets, especially to tiny kittens! Always consult your veterinarian before giving your pets any new medications, supplements, or home remedies.

Crying due to boredom

Similar to crying for attention, crying due to boredom and a lack of mental stimulation is one of several common kitten behavior problems. Kittens need exercise and active play time with you daily to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated. Kittens also need plenty of environmental enrichment – such as toys, climbing structures, scratching posts, hiding places, and other things to explore – to keep them active and entertained.

If your kitten is crying due to boredom, providing more one-on-one play time with you and increasing her environmental enrichment should solve the problem. For ideas on how to keep your kitten busy, learn how to play with a kitten or check out the OSU Indoor Pet Initiative for great suggestions to keep your indoor cat from getting bored.

Why is your kitten crying? There may be many reasons

A kitten may cry for many reasons, such as to seek attention, to beg for food, because they are ill or in pain, or even because they are bored. Your kitten’s cries are often perfectly normal behavior, so don’t worry too much if the crying behavior is not excessive. However, if your kitten’s vocalizations are extreme or if you think your kitten might be in pain, don’t hesitate to take your kitten to a veterinarian for evaluation. Your veterinarian is your best resource to help you determine whether your kitten is crying too much and he or she can help you find and address the underlying cause of the problem.

How to stop kittens from crying

It’s widely known that cats are night owls. It seems that the moment we switch off the light they get straight to sprinting around the house –like the cat version of dog zoomies. When they’re getting up to their night time antics they may also meow a lot too. And, sometimes your crying cat can be extremely disruptive and get in the way of you getting your much-needed rest.

If your feline friend does this and you’re wondering why does my cat meow at night and what can I do about it? We’ve got the answers to your questions! Here at Purina, we’ve put together this guide to tell you all you need to know.

Why does my cat meow at night?

If you have a cat yowling at night, it’s only natural that you’ll be wondering why they do it. There are six common reasons why your kitty may be doing this, including:

1. Cats are naturally more active at night

Your cat’s crying at night may have much to do with the fact that they are naturally more active at certain hours of the night. Although it’s popularly thought that cats are nocturnal, this is not strictly true. However, they are crepuscular – meaning that they are naturally most active at dusk and dawn. Although many cats do adapt to the routine of their owners, this crepuscular tendency means that your cat may be especially active in the early hours of the morning, when the rest of the house is asleep.

Younger cats have an increased tendency to be active at night, as their instincts tell them that this is a great time to hunt. As they mature, though, it is likely that their rhythm will adapt to that of the rest of the household, which may hopefully mean less cat meowing at night.

2. Your cat may be bored or unstimulated

Cat crying at night may be simply because they’re bored – or because they haven’t tired themselves out during the day. Active play before bedtime may help to ensure that they are more tired out at night, as will trying to keep their minds active and happy during the day. Your cat meowing at night can essentially be an attention-seeking behaviour.

How to stop kittens from crying

How to stop kittens from crying

Why won't my kitten stop meowing

Some cats and kittens are more vocal than others, but there may be a reason as to why your kitten is constantly crying. Read on to find out why your kitten won't stop meowing.

A cat's meow is a language developed exclusively for humans, and not other cats. Generally, a meowing cat or kitten wants something, whether this is food, attention, or even access to a room or outside. Some cats are more vocal than others, it doesn't mean he is unhappy, but there are some ways that you can try to reduce the crying.

Firstly, cats are independent animals and they need to have free access to food, water and space. Switch your kitten onto ad-lib feeding, preferably from an activity or puzzle feeder like the Trixie Cat Activity Fun Board. Keep the feeder topped up at all times, and make sure you don't feed meals or more food on demand.

Your kitten may also be keen to explore the big outdoors. Providing he is microchipped, vaccinated and neutered, give your kitten free outdoor access via a cat flap, preferably a microchip one that prevents other cats from coming in. Read more on when to introduce your kitten to the outdoors.

Lastly, your kitten may have learned that if he miaows loud enough, he will get some kind of response from you, and therefore will naturally associate this with the intensity of his meow. Although your kitten's consistent meowing may be hard to resist, try to avoid finding ways to satisfy your kitten when he is crying. If you try offering food treats, play or cuddles, when he is miaowing at you then you could be inadvertently rewarding this behaviour.

It might also be worth mentioning that your kitten won't stop meowing and crying to your vet, who will be able to check him over for any health conditions that may cause him to be more vocal. After all this, if your cat is still crying at various times throughout the day, then this is probably just a matter of his personality; he is a talkative cat, which can be a very endearing quality!

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    How to stop kittens from crying

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    Although some breeds of cat — like the Siamese — are very talkative normally, a kitten crying is never normal and points toward something that is wrong. Here are some of the most common reasons why your kitten may be crying, as well as what you can do about it.

    Loneliness
    Your kitten may cry because they feel lonely. This could be because they’ve just been separated from their litter mates through adoption. If you have more than one kitten or pet, your kitten may also be calling for them.
    When you hear your kitten crying, go to them to see what is wrong and give them some time and love. Spending some time to play with them is not only good for your kitten’s development, but also good for your bonding and for building trust.

    Confusion, feeling lost
    Young or new kittens, who do not yet know the layout of the house may cry when they get “lost” and isn’t sure how to return to a spot that feels familiar to them. It will take a few days for your new kitten(s) to discover the layout of the home, so don’t worry. You can be sure, however, that once they do, they will make ample use of the space inside the house and inside their outdoor enclosure!

    Hunger
    Sometimes kittens will cry when they are hungry. If you’ve just adopted them, you may be feeding them on a different schedule than they were used to at the shelter or breeder where you got them. It’s therefore always a good idea to make sure what, when, and how much the shelter or breeder was feeding your kitten.
    If your kitten really isn’t keen on eating the food that you bought for them, try a different flavour or different brand. Over time you’ll get to know whether your kitten likes fish flavours like tuna or salmon or whether they prefer chicken or beef. There will also, most likely, be one brand of food that your kitten will like as a kitten and as an adult.
    If you are at work during the day, leave a bowl of dry food out for your kitten to nibble on when they do get hungry. (Don’t leave wet food, as it may spoil, especially in hot weather.)
    If you are afraid that you are not feeding your kitten enough, or you are struggling to feed your kitten, it’s best to contact your vet to rule out any underlying illnesses, worms or parasites.

    Using the litter box
    Many kittens, when they are either still young or are just starting to use the litter box, will meow or cry when they defecate. While this behaviour usually goes away, it is important to keep an eye on them just in case. If your kitten is straining, seems in pain, or has diarrhoea, there is another problem and a vet visit would be in order.
    While it may be as simple as the food being too rich for your kitten’s tummy, diarrhoea can very quickly cause dehydration and become life threatening. It is, therefore, better to visit the vet sooner rather than later.

    Pain or sickness
    No cry of pain or sign of sickness in kittens should be left unattended; as they may lead to more serious health problems or illnesses. Even if you step on you kitten’s tail, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on it for any limpness. The reason for this is that damage to the tail’s nerves can cause bladder problems. If you do notice any limpness, get your kitten to the vet and tell them what happened.
    Cats are known for hiding illness and pain, making these difficult to diagnose. The good news is that kittens are less adept as their adult-counterparts in hiding pain or illness.

    If you notice that your kitten is in pain, has a fever, or simply doesn’t seem like themselves, it’s best to get them to the vet for a thorough check-up.

    It’s hard to know though, what your cat is ever really meowing for. But you will definitely recognise when they are meowing for food.

    Signs your Cat is Meowing for Food:

    • When they meow, they run to their food bowl/where they know their food is kept.
    • When they meow, they don’t stop until you feed them.
    • They meow and sit next to their bowl and look down to their bowl.

    It’s okay to feel frustrated and annoyed, especially if you try your best to ignore your cat when they are making demands, but they still won’t give in. However, even though it is difficult, it is advised that you try your best to ignore them and avoid feeding them every time they meow. Overweight cats do have a much shorter lifespan and don’t have as much quality of life as healthy cats. Ensure you are avoiding Pet Cremation at Pets at Rest QLD for as long as possible.

    How to Stop you Cat from demand-meowing:

    • As discussed above, even though it is tricky, try your best not to give into their demands. Also try to enjoy their meows and think of it as them trying to have a chat with you.
    • Hide their food, and their food bowl when it’s empty. Hiding their food and their food bowl will at first lead them to feel a little confused, and they might continue meowing. But after a while, they will realise that they have no control over their meal times and only you will feed them when you want to.
    • Get into a routine! Feeding your cat at random times throughout the day and night gives them the impression that you will feed them whenever. However, if you only feed them once in the morning and once in the night or similar, they will accept that there are only specific times that they are fed.
    • Only feed your cat when they aren’t meowing. When your cat isn’t paying attention, and isn’t meowing, fill their bowl. This impresses upon them that you will only feed them when they don’t meow. Slowly but surely, they will stop meowing or food, as they learn they will only bed fed if they aren’t meowing.
    • Invest in an automatic feeder! This could be the quickest and easiest solution to your problem as your cat will slowly learn you know longer control their meal times. Ensure that you fill the automatic feeder when they aren’t around so that they still remain sure you aren’t controlling their food.

    Now that you have the perfect tips to help your cat stop demand-meowing, you can enjoy your furry friend without any frustrations or anger.

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    We got a new kitten today, a 8 week old ginger male. It's very loving but very clingy. Just for a couple of days we are shutting it in the kitchen, as it hasn't discovered it's litter tray or food. It's also a good place to seperate him from my daughter.

    The kitten keeps crying ALL the time when we are not with him or holding him.

    Will he get better when he adapts to his new home.

    oh, poor little thing – have you given him a nest with a warm water bottle?

    just think he's used to sleeping in a heap of kittens and probably missing his mum – just like a new baby he is completely dependent, so crying because he fears he's been abandoned (and might starve!)

    I will give him a hot water bottle tonight, thanks for the suggestion. It will get better wont it?

    Agree with bedding and hot water bottle but also if you have a ticking clock put it under bedding as the kitten will think it is it's mothers heartbeat.

    Good luck, hope you get some sleep

    Our kitten was like this for approx 3 days when we got him. Try hot water bottle covered in towels next to you on sofa, stroke him now and then, and gradually move him bit further away til he gets more confident.
    Dont shut him in kitchen, poor thing is missing his mum and needs lots of love.
    Ours was really clingy to start with, after a couple of weeks he was fine.
    You could also try wrapping ticking clock in with warm towels, just make sure the alarm is switched off, or you'll be peeling him off your curtains!

    Our dog was like this when we got her as a pup, sounds daft but i gave her one of my dds soft toys to cuddle into, she loved it, try that.

    WOuldnt shut him in the kitchen, he is very young. Lots of cuddles and love will help.
    He will get easier he is just finding his way.

    yes, furry soft toy to cuddle really helped my kitten to settle in.

    Poor little chap, 8 weeks seems really young, he's just a baby. Is that the usual age for taking kittens home then?

    Do you have anything fake fur that you could put in a box or his basket? Cats generally love this, really love it and will knead and dribble all over it usually!

    Agree the hot water bottle is good – except make it with hottish tap water only, not boiling, and cover. Kittens can overheat.

    As for litter training – try PLONKING him in it and gently digging a hole in the litter with his paw, then place him over the top. Do this a few times. They are programmed to dig and cover their soil so it stirs their pre-progammed brain cells! You might feel daft but it does work.

    We shut one of our new kittens in the bathroom at night for the first week, for her own protection from the other cats, except we put her in her cat carrier (with the door left open obviously), as the carrier has a roof she seemed to feel very secure. Good luck!

    I would lock him in the kithen at night, or you will be finding poos and wees in interesting places. When we first got our kitten at 8 weeks, he was so scared he couldn't even mew with any sound (we thought he was mute) – he's already be seperated form his mum -he was a rescue kitten. I just couldn't take a baby from it's mum.

    8 weeks is too young isn't it?Should he not be with his mummy. Get a kitten-bjorn!

    Our cats love old wool jumpers. They knead and dribble into them for ages.

    8 weeks is the minimum but it's fine, FairyMum. Some pedigree breeders won't let their kittens go before 12 weeks minimum though.

    They are still very vulnerable at 8 weeks and need a beady eye for quite a while! One of ours got a claw stuck in the sofa while we were in the kitchen and was dangling for at least five minutes. Imagine if we had been out! That is why the kitchen or bathroom is a safer environment initially, as there is less for them to harm themselves on. Goes without saying to put the loo seat down in the bathroom first .

    Thanks for your replies. Poor little kitten lost his mum a few weeks ago, she disappeared.

    I do have some fake fur things, and I'm sure one of my kids will have a teddy.

    Just out of interest, how long do kittens take to settle in?

    Maybe co-sleep. Definitely too young for controlled meowing

    It depends on their personality, some are very cheeky and adaptable from the start whereas others are not.

    Your little kitten is definately missing his mum and a plush toy or fake fur item will undoubtedly help comfort him.

    Kittens should adapt within a week or two especially if you establish a pattern for them ie tray, water, food and bed always in the same places. Physically placing them in their tray or bed from time to time helps, otherwise they don't learn these facilities are available for them!

    I am also fanatical that our cats shouldn't be thirsty ever and always have 3-4 small plastic tumblers filled with water around the house, small tumblers are a lot easier than saucers to deal with and cats seem to prefer them to saucers too. I also show our new kittens where the water is!

    If you have a cat bed, they like them to be in the corners of a room with good visability (on the corner of a landing is ideal).

    I am cat mad as you can probably tell and probably put far too much thought into their comfort, although mine are not spoilt as such with fancy food or anything I can't help myself in ensuring they never suffer a moment's unnecessary discomfort.

    Can you go back and get one of the other kittens from his litter, preferably the one he played with most? They settle so much better if they have a companion.

    He needs lots of cuddles and company, just like a baby. But, this stage will pass so rapidly, and he won't be anywhere near as clingy in a couple of weeks.

    Did you know that cats like humans have several types of meows or cries? Determining which type of vocalization can help us interpret what your cat is trying to tell us. Since people describe the same cry the different ways, video is often helpful for figuring out what our feline friends are trying to tell us.

    How to stop kittens from crying

    The generic “meow” can mean almost anything. While “chirps or trills” may be a queen trying to get her kittens to follow or a cat trying to get their human to follow them. “Chattering” is that cackling sound that cats make while watching birds or other animals at the window. Growling and hissing are sounds that tend to speak for themselves and warn us not to touch them. But the sound most owners are concerned with is the long drawn out cries that seem to get louder and longer at night. These cries do indicate some form of distress (perceived or real). Crying also varies with breed and even cat to cat.

    Since many types of crying are normal for our cats, the focus of this article is the kitty that suddenly starts to yowl.

    If yowling starts or progresses, have your cat checked by your veterinarian. There are many normal reasons for yowling, such as the mating ritual. But there are other medical conditions that can cause this sound, and your cat may be trying to tell you something. Help your veterinarian by keeping a diary of when the crying is occurring and what the cat is doing.

    How to stop kittens from crying

    Some aging considerations such as decreasing vision and hearing can cause crying. Using a night light can help decrease disorientation they may feel if they wake up in the middle of the night. Providing a bed time ritual too so they sleep in a familiar place each night can decrease anxiety and make sleep time better for all in the house.

    Your veterinarian first will need to rule out medical causes, especially in the older cat. Anything that causes discomfort or pain can also cause vocalization. That includes arthritis, bladder infections, diarrhea, or even constipation. Your veterinarian also will look for certain diseases such as hyperthyroidism, hypertension, or cognitive dysfunction that are known to cause increase crying. If any of these conditions are found, they need to be treated and then if the crying continues we need to consider behavioral issues.

    Things such as arthritis have both medical treatment and environmental changes that are needed. Be sure it is easy to get on furniture (using ramps or stairs), being sure the litter box is accessible in both location and ability to get in and out. The location is very important because if it is too far away or too difficult to get to; a cat may start eliminating outside the box. An older cat may cry at the top of the basement stairs because the litter box is down in the basement and the cat is painful going up and down stairs. The type of box is important too. If it is painful for your cat to climb into the box, that may initiate some crying. Be sure it is an open area with one side of the box low enough that the cat can just walk into the box.

    If medical concerns have been ruled out, then it is important to figure out what your cat is trying to tell you. Some examples of when and why cats cry are:

    • Greeting you when you come home. Hard to stop but not usually something that lasts long. And when you think about it, it is a nice thing.
    • Wants food (begging). Be careful not to reinforce this behavior by feeding them when they beg. You want to reward them when not meowing at you. If it is during the middle of the night you can consider first moving the evening meal to just before going to bed and an automatic feeder to pop up at the time they usually start crying.
    • Loneliness. There has been a lot written lately about environmental enrichment. The importance of having things to keep your cat occupied and entertained. Interactive toys, bird feeders at a window or rotating multiple toys are some of the things we can do to help with alone time. Another cat in some cases may help. But keep in mind, a second cat will not take the place of interaction with their human. You will have two cats that both need interactive time.
    • Attention seeking also goes along with loneliness. Play time every day is important whether you are home all day long or at work. Cats will cry to initiate playtime. Here again be careful not to reinforce the crying association with playing. Leave or hold off play until they are settled and then initiate play time. Cats need exercise daily too. Once tired they will be more likely to settle down.
    • Stress is a large factor and unfortunately we can’t always figure out why our cats are stressed. Some stressors are obvious, a move to another home, a new pet or illness or loss of a companion (human or animal). Other stressors can be an animal coming up to the window or door and we never see them. If stress is suspected sometimes some investigating will be needed. During that time offer some reassurance to the cat. Other things such as pheromone (ex, Feliway®) may help. Even some medications may be prescribed to help.

    If your kitty is meowing more than before, start keeping some notes. You live with your cat and know them much better than anyone. The next step is a check-up and then work with your veterinarian and together you may be able to help with the crying.

    We’ve all seen the memes since this COVID-19 pandemic started about dogs who have had enough of you walking them, thank you very much. And in turn, the cat memes are all about them wondering when we are going back to work and giving them their much needed personal space back. We get it. Dogs tend to be goofy and friendly while cats are, ahem, a bit more discerning about their company. The truth is, though, cats have plenty of different personality types, and many of them do experience separation anxiety. This is particularly true of cats who were orphaned. And with many of you going back to work if you haven’t gone back already, it’s a good idea to know the signs of separation anxiety in cats.

    What Are the Signs My Cat May Be Experiencing Separation Anxiety?

    While every cat has a different personality, the general signs of separation anxiety in felines are:

    1. Excessive meowing, crying or moaning
    2. Eating too fast or not eating at all
    3. Excessive self-grooming
    4. Elimination outside the litter box
    5. Destructive behavior
    6. Excitement upon returning from home that’s out of the ordinary
    7. Vomiting food or hairballs
    8. Trying to escape

    As veterinarians and pet owners, we know that some of these things can be frustrating, particularly the elimination outside the litter box. Many cat owners have gotten the “gift’ of defecation on the bed, in a shoe, or on an item of clothing. It’s important to remember that this isn’t necessarily a sign of spiteful behavior but can often mean that your cat is looking to mix their scent with yours. Cats believe they are also helping you find your way home. Instincts run deep!

    How to stop kittens from crying

    What Can I Do if My Cat Shows Signs of Separation Anxiety?

    Thankfully, there are things you can buy and actions you can take to minimize the anxiety your cat may begin to feel when you return to work or other activities outside the house.

    Some of the ways to minimize separation anxiety in cats are as follows:

    • Leave the radio or TV on a station that is often on when you’re there
    • Keep arrivals and departures low key (hint: Don’t announce, “Mommy is leaving!”)
    • Create a nook, safe haven, or refuge for your cat that is their safe space
    • Provide plenty of toys and/or puzzles for playtime while you are gone
    • Channel prey instincts by hiding food in toys that make them work for it
    • Start with shorter absences first
    • Provide a perch or “catio” so that your cat can see their favorite views
    • Consider a room diffuser or pheromones to provide a calming scent for your cat (check the safety of this with your vet first)
    • Remove departure cues (ie) put your keys in your pocket a few minutes before leaving)
    • Provide plenty of cuddles and playtime once home
    • For more serious cases, consider having a sitter coming for 1-2 play sessions during absences

    We cannot emphasize enough the importance of checking with your veterinarian when you see any change in your cat’s behavior before you chalk it up to separation anxiety, as early treatment of illnesses is crucial to cat wellness. For example, some cats go outside the litter box when they have urinary tract infections.

    In extreme cases, medication may be an option, but your vet will usually leave that as a final alternative. As the ASPCA notes: “Sometimes for cats, veterinarians will advise using pheromones or calming treats before prescribing medication. Always consult with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before giving your dog or cat any type of medication or supplement for a behavior problem.”

    If you have any other questions about this or how to deal with anxiety in your cat, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

    “Even with your head buried under a pillow, that meow can sound like an airplane during takeoff. The cat will relentlessly try to pass himself off as a rooster until you show signs of waking up to give him attention or feed him. Why? Maybe his internal hunting clock has been set to go off around dawn.”
    —excerpt from The Cat Whisperer

    It’s not uncommon for my clients at The Cat Behaviour Clinic to tell me that they have not had a good night’s sleep in several years. Their cats have been routinely waking them up all throughout their sleep by meowing at night, especially between the wee hours of 3 and 5 a.m. This common feline behaviour can occur because of a cat’s natural instincts, because of other factors at play, or both. Some cat breeds are chattier than others and breed disposition may also factor into night-time interruptions. A good night’s sleep has become a thing of the past for many cat owners and they are happy to get even four hours of sleep each night. Some of my clients have practically fallen asleep driving to work in the morning due to not getting enough sleep!

    Common reasons for your cat’s nighttime vocalizations:How to stop kittens from crying

    • Your cat’s internal hunting time clock is set for morning (between 3 and 5 a.m. to be exact) instead of in the evening time.
    • Your cat is not active enough during the day and therefore is more awake at night.
    • The last feeding of the day for your cat is too early and your cat’s body is waking him up early in the morning due to hunger.
    • Change of environment (e.g. you’ve moved to a new home and there is more light coming through the windows in the morning than in your previous home, which is waking your cat up earlier).
    • Change in schedule (yours or his).
    • You’ve reinforced the meowing at night behaviour by giving your cat attention which can prolong the meowing behaviour once it starts.
    • Health issues may be at play, especially if the behaviour has suddenly surfaced with no changes in the cat’s environment.

    What you can do to get your cat to sleep through the night and past the wee hours of the morning.

    Feed later in the evening. If you feed your cat on a schedule during the day, be sure to feed the last meal of the day a few hours later into the evening. Or, for example, it could be that you will need to divide your cat’s current last meal of the day into two servings—one being given at 5 p.m. and the last portion given at 10 p.m. This can help your cat feel more satiated throughout the night and into the morning.

    Keep your cat awake more during the day. Enlist the help of a timed-feeder to feed your cat a few times a day. Spacing meals a few hours apart can help keep your cat awake more during daylight hours. No cat should go several hours in between meals during the day. There are timed-feeders available for both canned cat food and dry. Incorporating a food puzzle into the daily feeding—the Stimulo by Aikiou is my favourite—is also another option to help keep your cat stay awake more during the day. He will have to work at getting the food and this will take longer than simply eating it out of a bowl.

    Simply put, if your cat is keeping busy and is awake more hours during the day, he naturally will sleep more hours during the night and even later into the morning. This means more sleep for you too!

    Reset your cat’s internal hunting time clock. Getting your cat to “hunt” (aka: playing with cat toys) can be an important strategy to resetting the hunting time clock to evening instead of morning. To reset it to evening, use a wand toy (the Playful Panther is my favourite) to play with your cat in the evening before bedtime. It can take several days of this strategy before you start to notice any effect.

    Ignore the behaviour. Once the meowing behaviour starts, it’s important to not reinforce the behaviour by giving any form of attention to your cat. If you do, you can end up training your cat to meow even more and create a real problem. If your cat is accustomed to getting a response from you when he meows, once you stop giving him attention for the meowing behaviour he will try twice as hard to get your attention. This is called an extinction burst or the “it gets worse before it gets better” phenomenon. Be patient. This can last a few weeks, but continue to ignore the behaviour no matter what and it should get better.

    Medical Alert: Please have your cat checked out by your vet. Health issues that could cause cats to meow excessively include thyroid issues, kidney problems, diabetes, arthritis, tooth pain, or any other kind of pain.