Early morning meowing

I have a 14 yo neutered male cat that has started constantly meowing early in the morning, usually about 5am. He has always occasionally done this but lately it is almost every day and getting very annoying.
I did have my Mother move in with me in October so there has been a bit of change in the household.

Sometimes he sounds like he is in pain but you look at him and his body language and demeanor is his usual. He is eating well w/weight up a bit since April (0.9 lbs). Of course, he sleeps all day so lately I have been making sure he plays before I go to bed. His playing leaves a bit to be desired. He mostly just lays and swats at the toy (da’bird) with his paw. I have been setting a timed feeder to open early am but he mostly ignores the food (kibble). This morning, I heard him eating some kibble in my room (my other cat’s feeding station) then he started in with the meowing. I shut him in my room so my Mom can sleep and he just kept going. I finally let him out of my room and went for the water squirt bottle and he finally shut up. But could I go back to sleep…no.

Any ideas to circumvent this behavior are welcome.

TIA Susan

IME, the most common advice for this (assuming that food/water/litter needs are all met) is that they are seeking attention. Any reaction to the meowing (positive or negative) is exactly what they are seeking. In which case, the best you can do is to ignore them for as long as it takes. Get everyone earplugs! Perhaps experiment with some new toys that might motivate better play before bed.

Our cat won’t tolerate closed doors - which is a real nuisance for guests who understandably would like privacy. Nothing to do but ignore the meowing (it does end eventually) or open the door!

I thought being awaken at whatever hour they decided was the right hour was simply part of owning indoor pets.


That is what my dogs would tell you.


It could be a symptom of any number of health problems that he might be having, so it might be a good idea to have the vet take a look at him.

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Yes, he hasn’t been to the vet for a little over a year. Over the last couple years, Dad was ill and passed away, then Mom needed a heart procedure, then her little dog got ill and had to be pts then COVID. My other cat is going next week for her thyroid check to see if her methimazole needs adjustment. I can’t get any weight on her.

Oscar, the seemingly healthiest, kept ending up at the bottom of the list.

As far as doing what pets do…yep. They train us well. This has been another level :pouting_cat:.


Sorry, I missed this reply when on my phone. I’m afraid this is what it is. He is the same. I shut him in my room to try and give my Mom peace and he just went at it. He calmed down when I let him out (and threatened him with the spray bottle). He is an attention hound and yes, positive or negative, he doesn’t really care.

I am going to pull out my ear plugs tonight. I don’t usually go to bed until 11-MN. 5am is waaay too early for me.


as mentioned this can be a sign of health issues ; hyperthyroid, blood pressure ( and kidney) cardiac as well as breakthrough expression of old Toxoplasmosis lesions in the brain. I think it is his turn for a visit to the vet

Being a typical cat, the more you thwart him the more noise he has to make. To let you know how he feels. I say let him meow and once he finds out he gets no attention he may stop. Beyond that, I don’t know what to tell you.

I have two cats that do the middle of the night thing. Silver gets up about 3-4am and has to drag her favorite toy thru the house while rrrrowing and yowling at it. This goes on for anywhere between 10-20 minutes and then she stops and goes back to bed. The other one - Oliver - hoo boy. Usually about 4a he will get up and go get a drink and then start playing with his toys. But it’s all this howling and roaring and shrieking and you can hear him batting the toy while he charges thru the house and up and down the stairs (like a herd of Shetland ponies). Plus he will make all the racket with the toy stuffed in his mouth so it’s this semi-muffled ruckus. I need to get an audio of him sometime as it’s hilarious.

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I totally agree he is owed a vet visit. However…assuming he is fine…
Mine are not allowed in my room and their inconvenient hour yowlings can occur for any number of reasons, including:

  • Their feline brother, who should be indoor only but knows how to open doors if not locked has snuck out and “I KNOW HE IS OUT THERE!!”
  • You have slept in five minutes and “MY DOG SIBLINGS ARE IN THERE AND IT IS TIME TO PLAY!!”
  • “Hey listen… it’s 4am and I know my food bowl is 3/4 full, but in the event of an apocalypse how bout you just fill it up in case”

Assuming there’s no medical cause, complete ignorance is the best path.

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Ralph does the rrrrrowing and yowling every night throughout the entire house just before he settles down to sleep on me. He goes down to the main floor for a bit to eat and drink, picks up a pom pom to carry during his ritual then bolts up the stairs and jumps into our bed to drop the pom pom on me.

John Coltrane does his version in the early morning(no pom pom), he’s much quieter and wouldn’t dare jump on the bed in fear of irritating Ralph.

Ella has her version each night as well which only lasts a few minutes of very loud meowing then she comes to bed with Ralph and I. Ella also wakes up from a deep sleep and meows very loudly until she sees or hears me, it’s almost like she’s afraid that she’s alone and is scared. She had a horrible life before I rescued her, the vet didn’t think she was even 6 weeks old when she found me.

I think it’s normal, I know that there is nothing health wise wrong with them as they’ve been doing it for years. I believe it’s a combination of a territorial ritual
/pay attention to me.

None of these behaviours bother me, it’s their way of communicating. If I wanted to stop it I would try different distractions.

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:rofl: so true

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Aren’t cats nocturnal? It is you who wants them to sleep at night.

Sammy did that once and when I took him to the vet he had a urinary tract infection and was hyperthryroid. He would howl and I’d go look for him to see if he was having trouble urinating but he wasn’t and would look at me like I was crazy.

I’d rule out health issues and go from there.

Well, we have had 2 blissfully quiet nights.

I have been engaging him more over the day with a good (well, for him) play session with Da’ Bird before I go to bed.

I believe all the noise is primarily attention seeking but will for sure get him to the vet soon. He is overdue. He has always done some nighttime meowing but I think he turned it up a notch since there is two people he is trying to get attention from? He finally got up and sat with Mom last night. She will gladly give him attention if he quietly sits with her (vs tromping around on her lap).

Thanks for all the info. I will update after our vet visit.



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