If you have a cat who thinks it is a werewolf howling at a full moon on a nightly basis, it can be quite annoying. Not many complaints are heard from cat lovers, but this is definitely one of them. What causes this behavior and is there anything you can do about it?
Age is a Factor
When it comes to night yowling, it is actually quite common in older cats. Younger cats have been known to do it from time to time, but as a cat ages, it appears they would just rather voice their needs to us humans then try to figure anything out. Many believe this to be part of the bond a cat will have with its owner. As the cat ages with the same human, the bond grows stronger and the cat understands how we, as humans, communicate. When it comes to younger cats, and even kittens, crying at night is more often than not a sign for boredom. This is more common in households with single dwelling cats.
Nighttime Crying Becomes a Habit
The intelligence of a cat is often overshadowed by their stubbornness and overall unresponsive behavior. Cats are in fact extremely intelligent animals. When you have a night yowler, at first you will get out of bed to check. You will do this enough times to find that nothing is wrong and your cat is perfectly fine. Mittens on the other hand just got reassurance that if she cries, she will get your attention. This is how night yowling becomes a habit. The same can be said with eating. Your cat will learn the times you feed it, and the second you are late, they will let you know. If you have your cat eating at 6 AM every morning for just a few days, she/he will quickly learn this and will promptly wake you up if you are late to breakfast!
Find a Routine
As with any other instinctive action of a cat, night yowling should NEVER be grounds for punishment. In order to stop this behavior, you have to retrain your cat not to do it. This comes through setting a routine up for your cat so they aren’t bored, hungry, anxious, or wide awake at night. Cats are creatures of habit and routine. You put them on a schedule and stick to it, they will be content and happy. They do not like the change at first and will let you know they don’t!
How to Stop Nighttime Crying
Start by feeding your little werewolf at set times of the day. Depending on your work schedule, adjust it to that. Stick to feeding them within 30 minutes of the time you did the day before. If you feed your cat at 7 AM on Monday, feed them no earlier than 6:30 AM and not later than 7:30 AM on Tuesday. As for battling boredom, you will want to set aside time EVERYDAY to play with your cat. I am not joking! Just because a cat sleeps 16+ hours a day, doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to being bored. Play with them every evening after dinner. Get them in the habit of knowing what time you will be playing with them. This will not only keep them happy, but it will help them sleep better at night. As for anxiousness, make sure everything is okay in your house at night. No loud noises are happening, no strange things rubbing up against the house, no cats on the porch meowing. Taking time to make sure your cat is comfortable when they are alone will greatly reduce the yowling.
Never give in to a demanding cat. If they wake you up at 2 AM, DO NOT FEED THEM! DO NOT PLAY WITH THEM! This will encourage the behavior and they will be waking you up every night. Put them on your schedule, do not let them put you on theirs.