Are you being driven to distraction by night-time meowing? Or perhaps you’re concerned that these nocturnal vocalizations are a sign that all is not right with your beloved feline? There are a number of common reasons why your cat is likely to be meowing and a few simple strategies to help you both have a quiet and restful night’s sleep.
Why is your cat meowing at night?
Not sure how to get a cat to stop meowing at night? The first step is to understand the reasons for your cat’s night calling. There are several likely causes. That includes:
- Boredom – Some cats don’t get the stimulation they need during the day. Active play before bedtime can help them to sleep better at night.
- Body Clock – Cats are naturally more active at certain hours of the night. They are what’s known as crepuscular, which means they’re most lively at dusk and dawn.
- Illness – If your cat is constantly meowing at night, it could be a sign that it’s unwell. Keep an eye and an ear out for other signs that your cat’s in pain.
- Ageing – Cats can become disoriented as they age. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), which is a condition brought on by age, can have a variety of symptoms including meowing at night.
- Trapped Inside – If your cat is used to spending its time outdoors but is kept inside at night, it could feel trapped. Letting your cat out - as long as it’s safe to do so - will give it the chance to expend its energy outdoors.
How to get a cat to stop meowing at night: 5 tips for a quiet night’s sleep
Reset your cat’s internal body clock
Younger cats have the tendency to be more active at night because their instincts tell them that it’s a great time to hunt. You won’t need us to tell that having a cat on the prowl at 4am is not ideal. Fortunately, a little ‘hunting’ before you go to bed i.e. playing with its favourite cat toys, could help to tire your cat out and reset its body clock. Pushing your cat’s mealtime back will also ensure your cat stays fuller overnight.
Give them plenty to eat and drink
Depending on your cat’s feeding schedule, it might be a good idea to feed them just before bed, ensuring that they’ll have food and water available throughout the night. Within reason, of course, as maintaining a healthy diet is just as important. If your cat isn’t on a particular feeding schedule or diet, having some treats or food toys hidden about the house might keep them engaged and full until the next day rolls around.
Read our guide to our favorite healthy cat snacks to find food that will benefit your cat nutritionally and provide the high-quality protein it craves.
Keep your cat busy during the day
Having too many cat naps during the day will reduce the amount of sleep your cat gets at night. The key is to keep your kitty as awake and as active as you can during daylight hours. Making a food puzzle is a simple and effective way to increase mental and physical stimulation during meal times.
If you’ve been out of the house most of the day, you should make time to play with your cat in the evening. Just like us, they need interaction and companionship. Without it, they can feel lonely, anxious and bored at night, which could lead to some early morning meowing while you’re trying to sleep.
It’s worth noting that cats do have an extended sleep schedule compared to many other pets. It’s not uncommon for cats to sleep for around 15 hours during the day, expending their energy at night. In spite of domestication, cats are essentially still predators by nature, and their most active times are typically around dusk and dawn!
Ignore the night-time serenade
If your cat is well fed, watered, played with and physically fit, completely ignoring its behaviour is likely to be your best course of action. If you suspect your cat’s meowing is a cry for attention, it needs to learn that no amount of noise will get you out of bed.
In the short-term, this tactic could be a bit of a bumpy ride, as the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. However, if you’re patient, within a week or two, your cat should get the idea. A good pair of earplugs could be a worthwhile investment during this noisy period of development!
Some cats also use this tactic to bargain for more food, but a healthy cat should have their food intake regulated to some degree. Letting them goad you into more food or changing your schedule will teach them that it’s an effective tactic to be used again and again.
Clean out the litter box before bed
Your kitty is no savage. They can actually be very finicky about their bathroom habits, and like us, they prefer a fresh, clean environment to do their business in. Ideally, you should scoop your cat’s litter box twice daily, with one of those cleanouts being just before bed. That could be all it takes to keep your cat happy and quiet at night. You should also give your cat’s litter box a thorough clean at least every other week. Here’s more on how to prevent litter box problems.
Create a safe night-time environment
As cats age, their night-time vision and cognitive function can deteriorate, making them feel vulnerable and less confident as they move around the house. That anxiety is a common cause of the whaling and meowing you’ll hear at night.
This problem can be easily solved by making your home more cat-friendly at night. Placing nightlights around your home, particularly near potential hazards like stairs, is a very simple step you can take to stop your cat meowing at night.
Put your sleep first!
We all love our kitties immensely, but that doesn’t mean we should put up with their meowing at night. Hopefully, one or a combination of these techniques will give you the uninterrupted sleep you crave!
At BCP Veterinary Pharmacy, we provide everything veterinarians and owners need to care for their cats. That includes BCP VetChews, Topical Products and many more. Shop online and place your order today.