Very Vocal Cat

I’m looking for suggestions for one of my cats. I am a certified crazy cat lady but this kitty is killing me.

Spooky Spook has always been very vocal. He is now 15, and just lost his partner. However, he had a mixed relationship with his partner. She didn’t really like other cats but would tolerate their presence. She just wasn’t interested in a real relationship with any of them.

At various times throughout the last few years, Spooky has become extremely vocal at night. I’m a very light sleeper, so it wakes me up and drives me and my husband bonkers. He’s also been an anxious kitty, and since he lost his partner, he has been more anxious and more moewy.

Here’s what I’ve tried:

Making sure crunchy bowl is full and water is fresh (in the past this has set him off).

Spray bottle when he starts meowing at night. This used to help but now he just goes in the hall and meows.

Find cat and bring him to bed when he is meowing at night. Sometimes this works. He will perch on me or my husband, but not really lie down with us in bed. So I got him a raised cat bed that goes right next to my arm that is the same height of the bed. We’ve had since the spring and I only recently got him to start using it.

Locking cat out of bedroom. This is obvious, except that I can STILL hear him from the hall. Then I tried locking him in a bathroom, and shutting the door of the bedroom, and I could STILL hear him. Unfortunately, being locked up/out seems to make the meowing worse, and I can still hear him, so it’s not helping.

Catnip. When cat starts meowing, give catnip, hoping this zonks him out. Works sometimes.

Vet: Had bloodwork done a couple years ago to check for kidneys/thyroid etc., was totally clean. I’m taking him to the vet again and he will have another Senior Screen, but based on his appearance, the cat is pretty healthy. Good weight, decent coat (it’s never been a great coat), eating/drinking appropriately, etc. He’s also a big boy- 16 lbs, but not fat. Just a large cat.

He’s had some dry poops and I’ve seen some butt dragging so I started him on hairball med (which just lubricates everything) and he’s been better. Regardless, I don’t think that’s what’s causing the incessant yelling or has made him worse. If anyone has any tricks or suggestions, I would love to hear them. I didn’t have kids, but right now I feel like I have a 1 year old.

Hyperthyroidism can cause kitties to be very vocal at night, so definitely knock that one off the list.

At his age, dementia could also be a cause. Something to chat with the vet about?

A few darts I’d throw at the board in your shoes:

A pepcid trial. I’ve used it a few times when I’ve had a WTF issue, and it’s helped. Never crying at night, but I’ve had enough success that it’s made me think ulcery or acidy bellies in kitties is more of an issue than we recognize. I’d try 2.5 mg in his dinner for a couple weeks & see if it changes anything.

An anti depressant. Anxiety may be driving his crying. Prozac or whatever alternative your vet would recommend.

Cerenia. It’s an anti emetic, but it’s also effective on visceral pain. It’s he’s got something brewing in his belly…like maybe a bit of pancreatitis, or a touch of IBD, just enough of either to cause some pain, without producing big, obvious symptoms…it could help.

Pepcid you can get OTC (I like the generic Walgreens option) but the other two come from the vet. You might need a good relationship with a creative vet for the cerenia, but the antidepressant isn’t much of a stretch for this situation.

Is there a place in the house where you can’t hear him? You might consider setting up crate for him with a litter pan & a nice cushy bed and putting him to bed there at night. We have one that goes to bed like that because he’s not trustworthy at night, and it works great.

Good luck!

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I used to take my cat to a cat specialist (until they tried to bleed me of every penny to my name… I know vet medicine is an expensive, thankless job but oy vey).

She said high blood pressure can cause nighttime vocalization, too.

My cat has always been awful about it, even in his younger years. I have no answers. I know two things that make it worse, though. In his old age, he’s been prone to constipation, which definitely makes it worse. Also, his toys— sometimes he gets playing with his favorite one in the night, then carries it around the house howling.

I’m definitely looking to knock hyperthyroid off the list, and while it’s been worse since his partner died, to some extent he’s always done this.

I meant to mention about the anxiety meds- I’ve thought about talking to the vet about this in the past. I’ll definitely bring it up at his appointment. He’s just an anxious sort. I mean, I didn’t name him, but he’s spooky spook for a reason.

Oooh, I have a curious spooky kitty story:

I have a 3 yo cat that I’ve raised from 4 weeks, when she was found in a barn with no momma. She was a SWEET kitten. Liked people. Snuggly little girl. She was spayed at the appropriate time with no apparent issues, but after that she just wasn’t really interested in people and if approached, was more likely to bolt away than let herself be picked up. I wasn’t sure if the trip to the vet just really freaked her out, or if something happened with the anesthesia where she lost a few brain cells, but she was a different cat. But she was overall healthy with no problems, so what do you do?

Earlier this year, she popped a pancreatitis with a whopping white count. No clue what triggered it, but she was really very ill. She came around with steroids & antibiotics, and she’s been healthy since. We also treated with pepcid, zofran, cerenia & mirtazipine.

What’s been a real head scratcher: she’s FRIENDLY again. She seeks out people for pets. She doesn’t bolt if you walk up to her. It’s such a huge change.

I don’t know what happened here, but the drugs have seemingly changed her personality & outlook on life, which is just SO curious. Did she have a low grade infection from the spay? Some chronic inflammation? Did she have gastric ulcers all along (even though she was always a good eater??) Or was the pancreatitis chronic and low grade with no symptoms but pain?

It’s been such a weird thing, and it’s made me think about those “spooky” kitties differently. Cats are just such stoic little creatures, and there’s so much we don’t know from a veterinary perspective.

Not that you’d want to load up your guy with steroids & antibiotics just because, but it might be interesting to think about his spook factor as a symptom, instead of just who he is.

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He’s lonely and looking for the cat you lost.

Get a new buddy and he’ll be quiet(er).

I went through this with a Siamese who lost her buddy, who coincidentally was named Spook. You do not want to live with a lonely Siamese.

Have you tried changing his food? Maybe it’s making his tummy hurt.

Also, if he’s all alone now, he’s probably really lonely.

Earplugs work well, in the mean time.

When one of my cats was doing that I got her a fountain that she pretty much attacked (in a good way) when I set it up. Yowling stopped. Apparently she was thirsty and the regular water bowl was no longer satisfactory.

LOL.

I tried ear plugs. I could still hear him. UGH. Maybe I need better ones.

We have 2 others cats. He doesn’t like them. One of them really avoids him and the other one could care less but doesn’t seem to be interested in a LTR. I’m after my husband to get 2 kittens but since we still have 3 I’m not sure how that’s going to go.

He has a fountain. And he uses it. I always make sure it is full of fresh water and his crunchie bowl is fully loaded with crunchies before we go to bed. And not the half crunched ones either- legitimate, fresh, whole crunchies.

Half crunched crunchies are the bane of my existence.

I’m actually thinking about trying another food, but I don’t think he has belly pain. He’s happy to let you rub his tummy if you are cuddling him, and he rarely vomits.

I do think he might be lonely. I think in the past he would start running around and yeowling and would find the other cat and then would calm down. He does this during various times of the day, but it’s just most irritating at night.

We actually got one of our other cats for the 3rd cat when she lost her partner, but she didn’t take to him like we hoped. So I’m hesitant to get him a new friend since the last time we did this it backfired. He did this sometimes when his partner was still alive too, so I’m not sure if having a companion for him would solve the problem. In the meantime, I’m encouraging him to use the cat bassinet and my husband and I are reaffirming our excellent decision to not have children.

Have you checked his hearing? From my research on my own two senior cats, they can sometimes meow more, and more loudly, because they can’t hear themselves well enough to adjust their own volume.

The suggestions you’ve been given here have been on my list for my kitty’s next checkup, re Prozac, and Pepcid. She has always been a fairly spooky kitty; in her old age she is becoming VERY vocal.

Our best to you and Spooky Spook.