Night time howling in older cat

My old cat is 15 years old. Was in the vet in December for bloodwork and a physical and they found nothing wrong. She has started howling and crying at night. First I thought she might be hungry- as our dog steals food and maybe she wasn’t getting enough to eat. Then I thought she might be lonely as we lost our other 2 cats in December so she’s by herself at night.

Now I’m wondering if something is going wrong that the bloodwork did not show. Any suggestions?

She cries around 4-6 am but then sleeps for most of the day but it’s disruptive to my sleep. She goes to my door and cries.

One of my cats at 18yo started this after her sister passed away * If we are not awake or not in the house.
She would also wander around in the dark rooms late at night, I presume looking for her sister.
( Yes, she was given the opportunity to view her sister before burial.)
We chose to keep her in the bedroom with door closed at night to stop the wandering howling.
She continues to howl EARLY morning til fed some dry food to hold her over til 7 breakfast.
Only way we found to cope with this and not make everyone crabby.

Good Luck

yes, nothing showed up on vet work in her case either

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Does she stop if you get up and feed her? Our 15 year old needs more frequent, small meals. She does her “lost kitty” meow sometimes, too. Could also be a touch of dementia.


Has the cat been tested for hyperthyroidism? This can make a cat seem agitated and also hungrier than normal. Sometimes hyperthyroidism is tricky to diagnose, because the T4 level can fluctuate. I once had a hyperthyroid cat that tested normal T4 the first time. That fooled everyone into thinking her thyroid was normal even though she had vague symptoms. A few weeks later I took her back to the vet because I just didn’t believe the test results, and that time her T4 was so high the machine couldn’t read it.

It’s also possible that your cat is grieving the loss of her companions or that she is showing signs of dementia or some other neurological problem. IIWM, I’d take her back to the vet for a thorough workup, especially for hyperthyroidism.

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That cat guy on T.V. dealt with a client like this, although the cat was a bit older. It was so interesting. He explained that it was very possible that the cat had a sort of dementia so he had the people add a couple more food and water stations and another cat box in other rooms, as well as a bed in several rooms. It completely worked with the howling and with the problem they were having with the cat not using his litterbox consistently. Apparently, the cat would forget where his bowl or bed or litterbox was and become distressed.


You’re right on with the dementia. My inherited upper teens ol gal forgets things so easily.
She has now decided she wants to be a completely outdoor cat and refused to come in on her own anymore. If the weather is nice I allow her to stay out cause she at least stays up close to the house. But if it rains or gets cool, I have to catch her and bring her in. She was once a 25- 30 lb.pampered Persian who looked like a bowling ball when she came here. Not exactly a cat you’d trust to have outdoorsy skills. But she loves being an outdoor kitty so I try to accommodate her wishes since she’s so old now.
I also have to try to watch her eat cause she forgets where everything is. With dementia, you have to think for them as part of their brain went out the window. And when she gets confused at night in the house, she yowls too.
Just like we do with old people, we allow them their elderly quirks.

I have one of those, too. She is about 20 and has other cats and likes to sleep on my bed with the rest of the gang. BUT every night at about 4a she’s up and dragging her favorite toy thru the house and howling at the top of her lungs. If I tell her “Silver! Stop!” she will come to my door and make little murrp noises at me and then back down the hall to drag the toy around for a few more minutes before she comes back to bed. I would love to see what’s going on in her head. It only lasts about 15-20 minutes fortunately.

OP, what happens if you ignore your girl? Does she just keep it up?