Cat Crying

by Paul
(Salt Lake City, Utah)

photo by Mel B.

photo by Mel B.

I need help with my elderly cat's crying. My cat who I have had for 14 years has started to meow with a low tone very loudly all through the night and morning while my family and I are trying to sleep. He has food and water available. He is an indoor cat only. We only have the one cat, no other animals. He is free to roam during the night and goes into all rooms and meows. What can I do for him? How can I stop him from doing this? He has been doing this for the last 6 months.

Hi, Paul,

When an older cat begins to exhibit this type of behavior, crying during the night, it is most often because he is hyperthyroid or has lost or is losing his hearing.

This type of behavior almost always has an underlying medical cause so he needs to be seen by a vet. The vet can do some simple tests to check his hearing. He or she will also need to do bloodwork to check for several types of diseases, but especially hyperthyroidism.

If your kitty is hyperthyroid, that is a very treatable disease and treating it may very well stop the crying. Regardless, it will save his life.

If it is from hearing loss, the vet will have some suggestions for you about how to help him cope with that. I can give you one suggestion to try immediately, but this should not replace going to the vet.

Leave a few night lights on around the house. If a cat can't hear well or at all, the darkness can be disturbing to them because when it is dark, they are missing two primary senses. Sight and hearing. Even though we often think cats see so well at night, they still have vision deficits at night just as we do.

Good luck. This is actually one of the better problems for your older cat to have if it is hyperthyroidism and/or hearing loss. There are many other untreatable diseases. I know that doesn't help you get more sleep, but take heart, there may indeed be an answer.

Thank you for writing,
Dr. Neely

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