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Cher
Cher, Cat Behavior-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20964
Experience:  40+ years Cat Behavior Consultant; Vol. Vet Asst.
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My cat is 18 yrs old. She sleeps in our bedroom most of the

Customer Question

My cat is 18 yrs old. She sleeps in our bedroom most of the day. She has dry food available all day and I feed her a can before we go to bed. I have done this most of her life. Recently she has begun to loudly meow after eating and then proceeds to meow loudly through out the night. Normally she would snuggle with me and go to sleep. This loud meowing is waking us up all night long. We are exhausted and would like to understand what is happening.
I could lock her out of our room but shes alone all day and I fear she would scratch at the door and meow at that instead, still keeping us awake. Any insights would be wonderful.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Behavior
Expert:  Cher replied 11 months ago.

Hello, and welcome!

Thanks for your patience; I'm sorry that you did not receive an earlier reply. Different experts are online at various times and I recently logged in and read your question.

From the symptoms you described, it's possible that your cat has developed hyperthryoidism, a medical condition that senior cats are more prone to. This can cause hyper-vocalization, especially at night. Here is more information:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/hospital/services/Companion/Internal/conditions/felinehyperthyroidism.cfm

There might be another reason she is meowing so loudly after eating and at night and is not snuggling with you on the bed; she could be developing CDS or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome--this is like dementia or Alzheimers in humans. This happens to some older cats and makes them feel afraid/insecure or disoriented, especially at night, so they meow out of panic; they forget where they are. However, if her sight or hearing is not what it used to be, this could be another reason she feels frightened; when she meows, her voice sounds 'different' and not like her own, so she keeps meowing because she wants to hear the sound she recognizes. Here is more information:

http://www.manhattancats.com/Articles/CDS.html

It's also possible, if she's not jumping up on your bed, that she is beginning to have difficulty jumping and wants to come up and snuggle with you, but can't; this may be caused by arthritis or weakness in her hind legs due to possible diabetes, another medical condition to which older cats are prone.

These are just a few insights for you to check out in person, with her vet. A routine senior blood panel, including a thyroid test will provide more diagnostic tools. There are medications to treat all these conditions, should they be necessary.

For the moment, try using a cat calming pheromone called Feliway. This comes in a plug-in, which resembles a plug-in air freshener, but it has no scent to humans; only cats can detect it. Here is more information:

http://www.feliway.com/us

I agree that you should not close your door, because this will upset her further and all cats hate closed doors! However, you could leave night lights on around the house and a tv or radio on low volume in another room, so she feels like she has 'company' when it's dark and you're sleeping and she feels 'alone.'

There are also prescription medications that may help her feel calmer and sleep when you sleep/stop the meowing, but at her age, I like to consider prescription medications only as a last resort. If nothing else works, this is another item to discuss with your vet.

I hope all works out well, and you're able to get some sleep!

Please let me know how she's doing and what the vet's findings are. Thanks!

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Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply' for clarification or additional information, if needed, and I will be happy to continue.

Warmest regards ***** ***** Holidays,

Cher