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Cat meows INCESSANTLY when we go upstairs at night time, even when all lights on and still active

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Melanie Smith, Nov 27, 2019.


  1. Melanie Smith

    Melanie Smith PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all
    Our cat begins loudly meowing for between 30 mins- 2 hours every single night when our family head upstairs to wind down for the evening.

    The meows are long, quite loudly pitched.

    This is usually at 9-10pm, we are all still usually active until around 12-1am, i.e., landing and bedroom lights on, pc and laptops on and often talking.

    We consciously leave the landing lights on for longer these days as to appease him. It doesn't seem to help all that much.

    We also encouragethe cat to come upstairs by talking to him, sometimes nudging him up the stairs or in extreme cases where it's been going on for hours, carrying him. To our dismay he VERY often ends up going back down or sitting in the middle of the stairs for up to an hour more after getting him up. (Sometimes he'll sit literally 4 stairs down from the landing and refuses to come and join us)

    This has been going on for years and it's reaching a ridiculous stage. I wake up very early for work and his extremely piercing and loud meows affect my sleep. We have used Feliway, cat nip infused toys and always leave food for him. There are also no barriers for him coming up the stairs (except the psychological ones).

    When he eventually comes up he sleeps in his bed just outside my mum's room, it's always this same 2 hour opera routine until finally giving in and sleeping (seemingly comfortably) in the same spot. Sometimes he cuddles my mum before hand or sleeps on her bed).

    Could someone explain why this is happening? Have you ever had a cat who's behaved in this way? How was the problem solved?

    He's a neutered 9 year old British Shorthair indoor cat. He's of a fairly anxious disposition anyway but especially during this bed time routine (which never changes).
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Melanie Smith and welcome :)

    If this has been going on for years it might not be easy to resolve it without the help of a cat behaviourist, who would visit your home, meet your cat and observe him.

    However I am happy to give you my thoughts. :)

    It sounds as though your cat feels he's been abandoned when the family heads off to bed at night.

    A few questions:-

    1/ Is the cat allowed access to the bedrooms in the daytime? If for years he has been accustomed to being barred from the bedrooms in the daytime, and being an anxious kind of cat, then he is unlikely to have the confidence to go upstairs of his own accord at night, even with encouragement.

    2/ When the cat starts crying does one of you immediately go to him, sit down next to him, stroke him and talk to him quietly to reassure him?

    3/ Is the cat in good health, and with normal hearing and normal vision? Has the cat had a check up at the vet since the night crying started?

    4/ Is he your only pet?

    5/ Does he have outdoor access? If he is shut indoors at night, does he have a couple of litter trays?

    6/ Does he have a litter tray upstairs which he can always access during the night ?

    6/ Is he fed supper just before the family go to bed?

    7/ Does he get a friendly fuss made of him by several of you, before you go off to bed?
     
  3. MissFluffy

    MissFluffy PetForums Junior

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    I don't know if this helps, but for years one of mine had a habit of jumping onto my lap and settling there the second I started thinking I might want to go to bed – it bordered on the supernatural, as if she was reading my mind. Another didn't stop me going to sleep, but would start meowing non-stop a couple of hours before I got up; she even learnt to trample all over the radio/alarm clock until she hit the "on" button and to throw my glasses around, as that was a surefire way to get me out of bed. Both mellowed somewhat with age though.
    My guess is some of them remain more nocturnal than we are and want attention at a time that's not really convenient to us, or just don't like the thought that we're going to "disappear", leaving them alone and bored at a time when, to them, the night is still young. If there's nothing obviously wrong with him (see chillminx's answer), yours might just have a particularly annoying way of communicating this. Or of wanting to be part of the family, really. Some cats are chatterboxes and can't know their voice is not pleasing to the human ear.
    If he's up for it, have you tried having a long playing session with him in the evening to help him let off steam?
    Also, I hear valerian has a calming effect after the initial excitement. I always mix some in with the catnip and most cats have ended up lying on the carpet, staring blissfully into the distance. They lose interest over time, but it will work again a few weeks later.
    Another possibility is you get stressed in anticipation of his meowing and he picks up on this. If all else fails, can you try having him stay downstairs for a few days, instead of serenading you from the landing? It may sound a little cruel, but if it helps you sleep better and be less tense about it, it might be all it takes to defuse the situation.
     
  4. Maureen67

    Maureen67 PetForums Newbie

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    I would first suggest ruling everything else out with a vet first.

    I am having similar issues. My cat howls at 4 am every morning and for about 20 seconds after I go to bed at night
    When this first started in December 2017 I assumed it was attention and left it a month. Turns out she had a thyroid issue. She had the operation to remove them in April 2018 an the howling stopped.
    It started again in December 2018 but I assumed it couldn't be the thyroid as she had already had them removed. I left it a few weeks and took her to the vet. At first we couldn't find anything wrong, but then it turned out she had a urine infection. This was sorted by April 2018. It started again a month later when we found she still had Thyroid issues from possible cells left behind. Started her on medication but the holwing still carried on. Poor thing has another urine infection, which we cleared finally but August 2018.
    The problem I have now is the 4am howling continues and we have pretty much ruled out anything major with blood and urine tests. She is 15 now and has had so many vet visits in the last
    2 years that I don't want to put her through anymore tests (scans etc).
    She eats, drinks an goes to the toilet normally and is still loving, but does not purr anymore. She is on her daily thyroid medication and a painkiller in case she had arthritus. Although that has made her a lot more quiet and less restless I really don't know what to do about the 4am howling. She often stops when I call her name.
    I have been to 3 different vets over the last 2 years and we can't seem to find anything wrong. She has hardly any of the signs on dementia so we don't think it is that.

    Any advice would be really helpful Thank you
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Maureen67 - past cats of mine started howling at night when they reached their senior years. When there were health issues they were treated, and controlled, but the night howling continued. Older cats, especially those with any health issues, feel much more vulnerable and needy of reassurance. These were cats who used to sleep on my bed at night but would get up and sit on the stairs and howl. I used to get up and sit on the stairs with them and talk to them reassuringly.

    What ultimately helped was having a room for them at night with an electric plug-in radiator on a low heat (in the winter), a cosy bed off the floor, tasty wet food in a timed autofeeder, and a closed door. I spent the first few nights sleeping in the room with each cat, and after that the cat was happy to be settled in the room at bedtime.

    I set up a Baby Alarm in the cat's night room and my bedroom, just in case, but each cat never cried at night from then, and was still snoozing in a warm room when I got up next morning. .
     
  6. Maureen67

    Maureen67 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you. I'll give them a try

    As she is 15 I did wonder if it was because of her age.
     
    Gallifreyangirl and chillminx like this.
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