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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 female spade cat has been howling periodically daily last

Customer Question

my female spade cat has been howling periodically daily for the last month, why?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat Behavior
Expert:  Cher replied 10 months ago.

Hello, and welcome!

My name is ***** ***** I will be glad to help with your question.

What is your cat's age and name?

Does she howl all the time or mainly at night?

Is she allowed outdoors at all?

Is she eating, drinking, eliminating and acting as usual?

Is she an only-pet?

Have there been any changes in the household or in your routine, in the past month?

Thanks for all your additional information and after you reply, please allow me some time to compose and send my detailed answer.

Warmest regards,

Cher

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

mookie, 14.5

howling periodically day and night

indoor cat

diet same and doing cat box the same

only cat

after the howling started the first week, I went on vacation for 12 days.my cat caregiver said she did it while I was gone and still doing it

Expert:  Cher replied 10 months ago.

Hi again, and thanks for your very helpful reply.

There can be various causes for this howling and I will go over them with you.

First, she could have diminished hearing, due to her senior age, and cats who are losing their hearing will howl/meow frequently, because their own voice sounds unfamiliar to them and they want to reassure themselves that it is they who are howling.

Older cats are more prone to develop hyperthyroidism and a symptom of this is hypervocalization (more howling, especially at night, but it could be at any time). Here is more information on hyperthyroidism in cats:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_hyperthyroid.cfm

Even though she may not have all the symptoms, it would be a good idea to have her evaluated in person by her vet and have senior blood work done, including a thyroid panel.

Some senior cats develop a condition called CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome); this is similar to dementia or Alzheimer's in elderly humans. Mookie might find herself in an area of the house that she doesn't recognize/doesn't seem familiar, and panic, calling for you to come rescue her. here is more information about this condition:

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

Something may have been 'brewing' in that first week, before you went on vacation, and the stress of you not being there, could have exacerbated the problem. She just may feel stressed or anxious due to something you're unaware of. You can get some Feliway plug in diffusers. These emit cat calming pheromones, undetectable by humans, and are very helpful in stressful situations. You can find them in any major pet supply store or order online.

http://www.feliway.com/us

Cats are also masters of disguise, in hiding illness or injury, so feel all over her body for any lumps, bumps, bruises, scratches, and look for any rashes or irritated skin. If she shows any pain response when you press on any of these areas, it bears further investigation.

It would be advisable to have Mookie seen by her vet and have the lab work done, so you can get a diagnosis and then, treatment, if necessary.

For the moment, try the Feliway, and give her lots of attention and love to reassure her everything is okay.

I hope all will be well with Mookie and please let me know how she's doing and what the vet tells you. Thanks!

Please kindly take a moment to rate my answer with positive feedback, so I am credited for my assistance. Thank you very much.

For any other questions about this, just click 'Reply' and I will be available to you, even after rating.

Warmest regards,

Cher

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

I really did not find your answer satisfactory

Expert:  Cher replied 10 months ago.

May I ask why, and how can I help you further? I named several specific conditions that can cause cats to howl periodically throughout the day and/or night, but in this case, there is no at home treatment, except to try to keep her less anxious or stressed, if she IS stressed, with the Feliway.

A vet has to assess her physical condition in person to rule out (or rule in) any of the conditions I suggested, or a different condition may be found which is causing her discomfort or pain, and then the vet can treat her. There are also prescription anti-anxiety medications that can be given for a short period of time to see if they are effective, but I prefer to suggest these as a last resort.

Older cats are also more prone to develop underlying medical conditions like diabetes, liver and kidney issues (in addition to the hyperthyroidism), so this would be another good reason for her to be seen by a vet and get lab work performed.

She could have a urinary tract infection or interstitial cystitis, which causes a burning sensation when she urinates and at other times, too.

Even though she's spayed, there could be strange cats roaming around outside that are making her nervous and giving the feeling that she must defend 'her' territory. This could be another reason for her howling--to warn them off.

I'm sure you understand that online, we are limited and can give suggestions, but an in-person check-up by the vet and blood work will provide more insight into the problem.

I'm interested in what exactly you were expecting, when you asked the question.

Let me know how I can help further.

Warmest regards,

Cher

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

I was not expecting downloads from the internet...I had already found those suggestions.

The cat whisper gave me the impression that the outcome would be more specific.

Expert:  Cher replied 10 months ago.

Hello again, and thanks for your reply.

My answer did not consist only of 'downloads from the internet;' I suggested certain problems may be present and included links to additional information so you could learn more about them. I do that in all my clients' answers, for their benefit.

You hadn't mentioned that you had already looked up the specific conditions I mentioned, on the internet and also, that you had sought the services of a cat whisperer. What did the cat whisperer tell you about Mookie's howling? What's bothering her?

While you posted your question in our Cat Behavior category, behavior and underlying medical conditions go hand in hand, many times. At Mookie's advanced age, there are many specific medical conditions that can be present, causing her howling, and as I mentioned, if all tests and the vet's hands-on exam show nothing abnormal, then the problem may be considered behavioral, and the exact reason may never be known. However, using over the counter calming remedies and/or prescription anti-anxiety medication suggested by the vet, may curtail her behavior.

The first place to start, is with the vet, lab work, thyroid panel and tests for any neurological or hearing problems. At this age, as I mentioned, there are a variety of medical issues that can start affecting cats, so a vet visit and testing is the best thing to do for your Mookie at this time.

My primary concern is always the good health and well-being of your kitty.

Warmest wishes,

Cher