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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16214
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My 16 yr old cat is yowling a lot and licking her lips

Customer Question

My 16 yr old cat is yowling a lot and licking her lips frequently. Her brother died two months ago--yowling not frequent before then. Coincidence? Illness?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Did the yowling increase right after his death?

Has she shown any change in thirst, appetite, urine volume she is passing, or weight?

Any retching, gagging, or vomiting?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 11 months ago.

Hello again,

Since I have not heard back from you, I do want to leave my thoughts about your lass for your return.

Now we can see increased vocalization when cats are stressed by major life changes like losing a companion. That said, we can also see vocalization in elderly cats due to elevated blood pressure (sometimes secondary to kidney, liver, or heart disease) and dementia. And these would be concerns if she had been yowling before his passing as well.

With this all in mind, we can first approach the stress angle for her. This will help us address yowling due to the stress of loss and dementia. To do so, you can try to reduce any anxiety by using some de-stressing tools. Feliway, (also known as Comfort Zone in the US pet stores) is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to soothe kitty anxiety. This can be used as a spray (that can be used on furniture or her cat bed) or a plug-in diffuser (that can be used in the room she is in most often). This may just be enough to soothe her and help her cope either issue. As well, there is also a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin that contains a number of supplements that have been found to provide stress relief to cats Also, there are nutritional supplements like Kalmaid, Zylkene, or Bach’s Rescue Remedy. And as these are not drugs per say, we can use them together as needed.

Otherwise, if she has any of those other signs I asked about or doesn’t settle with the above, then we’d want to consider having her blood pressure +/- a blood sample checked. If she is due a booster soon, it’d be ideal to move that appointment up for her. Her vet can check these and if anything is found amiss, it can be addressed to get that blood pressure back to normal. And once we do that, we often see the behavior settle as well.

Overall, her vocalizing does raise a few concerns. We can see this as a sign of loss but at her age (and since she was doing so before to a degree), we’d also have to be wary of these other issues and would want to take the above step-by step approach for her.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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