Why is My Cat Meowing a Lot?

Updated: 12/21/20232-4 minutes
Cat meowing

If you’re a cat owner whose cat won’t stop meowing—especially at night—your situation is not uncommon. A cat meowing loudly and repeatedly may not necessarily be cause for concern, however.

The behavior, known as night vocalization or night calling, can be a problem if it’s a sign of discomfort or if it’s disturbing your rest. 

It’s widely known that cats are night owls. It seems the moment we switch off the light, they start sprinting around the house—like they have the cat version of the dog zoomies.  

When they’re engaging in their nighttime antics, they may also meow a lot, too. Sometimes, your cat meowing at night can be disruptive and get in the way of you getting some much-needed rest.  

If your cat does this and you’re asking yourself, “why does my cat meow at night and what can I do about it?” there are some good answers to these questions.  

Why Does My Cat Meow at Night? 

If you have a cat meowing a lot at night, it’s only natural that you’ll be wondering why they do it. Here are six common reasons your feline friend might be doing this: 

1. Cats Are Naturally More Active at Night

Your cat’s meowing at night may have a lot to do with the fact that they are naturally more active at certain hours of the night. Although it’s popularly thought that cats are nocturnal, this isn’t always true.  

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are naturally most active at dusk and dawn. Although many cats do adapt to the routine of their owners, this crepuscular tendency means your cat may be especially active in the early hours of the morning, when the rest of the house is asleep.  

Younger cats have an increased tendency to be active at night, as their instincts tell them this is a great time to hunt. As they mature, though, it is likely their rhythm will adapt to the rest of the household, which may hopefully mean less cat meowing at night.  

2. Your Cat May Be Bored or Understimulated

Cat howling or crying at night may be because they’re bored or because they haven’t tired themselves out during the day. Active play before bedtime may help to ensure they are more tired at night, as will trying to keep their minds active and happy during the day.  

In short, cat meowing at night can essentially be attention-seeking behavior. Although it is important to attend to your cat’s needs, constantly complying with their ploys for attention will likely lead them to engage in it more frequently. If your cat is constantly seeking attention at inappropriate times, try not to give in too often.  

Indoor cats need ample opportunities for play and exercise throughout the day, so toys, cat towers and other items are essential. Otherwise, you may find they have a lot of pent-up energy when you’re heading off to bed. 

3. Overactive Thyroid or Kidney Disease

If your cat is meowing at night or on a frequent basis, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian to check up on their health. This is because excessive vocalization, including at night, can be a sign of overactive thyroid or kidney disease in cats.  

4. A Symptom of Aging in Senior Cats

Aging can affect all of us, and cats are no different. As they age, it is possible the effects of aging on the brain can leave your cat disoriented. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is directly related to the effect of aging on a cat’s brain and can have a variety of symptoms, including excessive meowing at night. It’s worth seeing your veterinarian to rule out any complications.  

5. Yowling Could Signal a Cat in Heat

Many of us have heard the loud sounds of a cat howling in the late hours of the night. This is oftentimes the sound a cat in heat will make when calling for a male. 

You can curtail this natural process by neutering your cat, which also eliminates the stress of unexpected cat pregnancies.  

What Can I Do About My Cat Meowing at Night?

As always, the first step when your cat meows excessively at night is talking with your veterinarian, who can make sure there’s nothing physically wrong. They can also give you advice on things that may help with reducing the instances of your cat’s night meowing.  

For more tips on cats and kittens from our pet experts, check out our Pet Expertise page. 

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