My cat won’t stop yowling

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fierce jungle animalMy cat howls at night. Every night. Without fail. I’ve tried giving him food, fresh water, cleaning his litter box, playing with him before bed. He has toys he can play with on his own, but they’re just not interesting I guess. We’ve tried training him with a spray bottle, which he treats as a game. He hides under furniture and howls from there. I’ve tried locking him in various rooms but he’s started tearing off parts of the door. There’s nothing wrong with his health. I would prefer to just put in earplugs and ignore him, which has been the only somewhat effective method, but my roommate won’t, and my roommate is starting to hate both me and my cat.

I know why he howls. He’s bored out of his kitty mind, and I feel bad for him, but I can’t get up at four in the morning, every morning, and play with him. I’m a full-time student with a job — I need sleep. My cat recently escaped (he’s learned how to open the screen door), and with that brief adventure the howling has gotten worse. I would let him be an indoor-outdoor cat, but I live in an apartment with no way to install a cat door and it’s a block away from two very busy streets. I don’t want to get a shock collar. I don’t want to re-home him. I can’t get him a companion animal either, although I think that would help the most. Please help me. -Bird

What say you cat-owning Homies? We KNOW you are filled with tons of cat advice. How do you get a cat to stop yowling if you can’t let it out, you don’t want to shock it, and you can’t get it a companion?

Comments on My cat won’t stop yowling

  1. Dora used to be very vocal at night and here are a couple of things which helped us a lot:
    – playtime is at night. I start roughly 30 minutes before bedtime and I wait for her to be tired of the games to stop (it takes 15-20 minutes)
    – food time is right after playtime
    – bed time for the whole house comes next 🙂
    This way, she’s both tired and full, so she sleeps pretty well.

    Sometimes she meowls when the sun rises, which can get annoying in summer since it rises so early. When she does that, I make her come near me, pet/hug her for a short while, and usually she goes back to sleep (cuddled against my tummy-so cute!). Maybe your cat simply wants attention and cuddling, not play?

  2. One of our cats currently does this, and we’ve tried everything you have! Our guy, Ajax, does have a medical issue, but it’s not what causes it. The only thing that we’ve found that helps is completely ignoring his yowling so he gets no reaction out of us (no negative attention for you little jerk). He’s too smart for his own good, but he quickly figured out that he won’t get loves, cuddles, food, or get to play the fun game of being chased by a spray bottle if he yowls. It took a few days, and I felt so terrible for our neighbors, but it started to help. And we play with them and give them a very sizable ‘midnight snack’ before bed. My cats have also yowled when they’re cold, so turning up the heat a bit so they’re cozy helps a bit too. I have no new solutions for you, but you do have my sympathy!!!!! (And if you do have a magic cure, I’d love to hear it). Also, My Cat From Hell is helpful, and a bit hilarious. (Sometimes it makes us feel like we’re not such bad kitty parents after all) Good luck!

  3. Don’t know if its a viable option for you…but perhaps another kitty to keep him company? Cats are social animals and getting another helps a lot of behavioral problems.

  4. 1) Go to the vet. Any sudden change in behavior could be something medical.
    2) The Feliway diffuser can work for some cats.
    3) Physical exercise, petedge.com has AMAZING prices on cat trees and toys.
    4) No more food from a bowl. Cats are predators and therefore evolved a brain to work/hunt for their food. If you don’t have 3 hours a day to play with your cat, a food toy can provide mental and physical stimulation easily. Check out: aikou stimulo cat feeding station, and Premier pets (premier.com). If you feed canned food, small Kong toys (yes the ones for dogs) stuffed with canned food work amazingly well. Make it very easy in the beginning; often people put these puzzles on the hardest setting then get discouraged when their pet can’t figure it out right away. Your cat may not understand how to get the food out at first, but once he realizes that his only food source is these toys, he’ll pick it up very quickly.
    Good luck.

  5. honestly, this is why adopted two sisters. usually the two keep themselves occupied by attacking each other and running around. not TOO noisy. enough so myself, my husband, and our 3 roomates can sleep. but enough to occupy themselves.

  6. You might want to think about getting a second kitty to keep him company, he might yowl only because he’s lonely and bored. I know that this might sound intimidating, but two cats aren’t really that much more “work” food- and litterwise, and two cats can entertain each other while you’re working or sleeping or doing other important hoomin things 😉 I had the same issue with my cat, she spent all night scratching at doors and knocking things over, but ever since her friend moved in she’s so happy and they’ll cuddle or play peacefully all night.

    Personally, I think that having an “only cat” is not adequate or appropriate to the species at all. Contrary to popular belief cats are social animals even though they prefer to hunt alone. You can’t compare that to having a single child – kids get to spend all day at school with friends of their own species, whilst single cats don’t have anyone but their can openers for company which is blatantly frustrating. Yes, we can openers love our cats and will go out of our way to love them, give them all our attention, feed them and play with them, but basically we’re not cats and therefore we can’t understand them, groom each other, play and fight and interact with them in a genuinely “cattish” way. Cats will be cats, y’know… and we should give them what they need!

    Furthermore, I can only recommend getting a copy of Desmond Morris’ book “Catwatching”. It has lovely photos and taught me so much about understanding my cats and their body language, to distinguish between boredom, aggression, and pain, etc.

  7. Is he an only cat? Maybe by adopting a second cat (around his age) would help keep him occupied for the times that you’re not there (work or sleeping).

    My Enzie is sweet but she drove me insane at night. Basically, she wanted play time and I wanted sleep time. Toys didn’t work, playtime before bed didn’t work, and she was spaded (is that the correct term? I always get confused). The nonstop crying at night totally broke my heart.

    Ended up adopting a second kitty that was around her age. For the first week, they were pretty indifferent (like a “What are you doing here? My house! My human!” type thing. But after they got to know each other, it’s been awesome! So now at nights and while I’m at work, they play together, nap together, eat together, etc. We still do play time in the evenings, but once my hubster and I pass out, they go back to playing with each other.

    Just an idea. Good luck with the kitteh problem!

    • Yes!

      Getting a companion might seem intimidating at first, but to be honest, it’s no biggie. Two cats don’t need twice the space, and you won’t neet twice the scratching posts and thingies unless you really want to. BUT, you can buy (and use) larger-sized tins of cat food and litter which are WAY cheaper in total!

  8. Please please help!!! Same problem.
    I had two Egyptian Spyhnx (house) cats. My eldest boy recently died leaving his 5year old friend behind and alone. From that day he growls, like a dog, which isn’t too bad to put up with. He seemed depressed and lonely even trying to play with dogs that would pass the window. My heart was breaking for him so I reluctantly got two more Spyhnx, mother and daughter. 6 and 3. It has been 4 months and he is now only starting growling and slapping them. In between loving them and cleaning them (heads turned!). He now runs up all flights of stairs and yowls, down a set yowls, down another set and so on until he is at the bottom yowling in the doorway. It is so bad you can hear him taking two deep breaths before the massive long yowl.

    Yes i have tried everything!! Everything!! The above plug which made no difference whats so ever to any of them. Yes he is neutered. Yes he has plenty of toys both fun and challenging . Yes he has full access to the entire house. It’s three storys there is plenty of room for them. Yes he is healthy. Yes he gets solo time with just me. I take him to work and hes a different cat there. Yes his litter is always clean, in fact he has his own.

    At my wits end he is now doing it all through the night. I am sure the neighbours can hear him.

    HELP!!!

  9. Please please help!!! Same problem.
    I had two Egyptian Spyhnx (house) cats. My eldest boy recently died leaving his 5year old friend behind and alone. From that day he growls, like a dog, which isn’t too bad to put up with. He seemed depressed and lonely even trying to play with dogs that would pass the window. My heart was breaking for him so I reluctantly got two more Spyhnx, mother and daughter. 6 and 3. It has been 4 months and he is now only starting growling and slapping them. In between loving them and cleaning them (heads turned!). He now runs up all flights of stairs and yowls, down a set yowls, down another set and so on until he is at the bottom yowling in the doorway. It is so bad you can hear him taking two deep breaths before the massive long yowl.

    Yes i have tried everything!! Everything!! The above plug which made no difference whats so ever to any of them. Yes he is neutered. Yes he has plenty of toys both fun and challenging . Yes he has full access to the entire house. It’s three storys there is plenty of room for them. Yes he is healthy. Yes he gets solo time with just me. I take him to work and hes a different cat there. Yes his litter is always clean, in fact he has his own.

    At my wits end he is now doing it all through the night. I am sure the neighbours can hear him.

    HELP!!!!!

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