It can be alarming when your usually quiet cat suddenly starts yowling and vocalizing a lot more than normal. While some meowing and yowling is normal cat communication, excessive vocalization may signify an underlying issue. Here are some of the most common reasons for sudden increased vocalization in cats and what you can do about it.
She’s in Heat
If your cat is not spayed, the most likely reason for her to suddenly become very vocal is that she’s entered her heat cycle. Female cats in heat yowl and meow persistently to let male cats in the area know that they are ready to mate. These heat cycles occur every 2-3 weeks and last about a week until ovulation occurs. So if your female cat is not spayed, expect this loud vocalizing to happen very regularly.
The only way to stop heat cycles is to get your cat spayed. This involves surgically removing her ovaries and uterus so she no longer goes into heat. As well as stopping the yowling, spaying gives health benefits like preventing uterine infections and breast cancer. Speak to your vet about scheduling the spay surgery.
Some cats learn that their meows and yowls provoke a response from their owners. So they start vocalizing loudly and incessantly as a way to get your attention and interaction. This often happens if owners have reinforced this behavior by consistently responding to the vocal cues.
To discourage attention-seeking meows, try your best to ignore your cat when she starts up her loud meowing. This may be difficult at first, but over time she will learn that yowling does not produce the desired response. You can also try distracting her with playtime when she starts vocalizing for attention.
Stress or Anxiety
Cats may also begin yowling more due to stress or anxiety. Changes in their environment or routine, or introductions of new people, pets or stimuli can cause your cat to feel stressed. This stress prompts extra vocalizing as a distress call.
Think about any recent changes that may be causing your cat stress like moving homes, new family members or pets, construction noises, or different work hours for owners. Try to minimize these stressors. Also use calming aids like Feliway diffusers and calming treats or supplements. Increase playtime, petting and treats to reassure your anxious cat.
Senior cats can begin yowling more frequently for no apparent reason. This may be due to cognitive decline associated with aging. Dementia and memory problems cause confusion and disorientation in cats. This prompts increased meowing as they try to seek reassurance from owners.
Take your senior cat to the vet for a checkup to rule out any medical issues. Make sure litter boxes are easy for arthritic cats to access. Keep food and water bowls in consistent locations. Maintain a calming routine and environment. Talk to your vet about medication if behavioral changes persist.
Communication With Other Cats
If you have multiple indoor cats, they may start yowling at each other more often to communicate territorial disputes. Cats are very territorial and issues can arise if you don’t provide enough vertical territory and individual resources.
Ensure you have one litter box per cat, multiple food/water stations and plenty of hiding spots, cat trees, shelves and perches for each cat. Use Feliway diffusers to help calm tension between cats. Consider reintroducing cats slowly if they are newly introduced.
Increased vocalizing, especially at night, may point to an underlying medical issue causing pain, discomfort or distress. Conditions like dental disease, urinary tract infections, arthritis, heart disease and hyperthyroidism need veterinary treatment.
Take your cat to the vet for a thorough exam if she is yowling more than normal. Run bloodwork, urinalysis and diagnostic imaging to uncover any problems. Get her on the appropriate treatment to resolve the medical issue and minimize vocalizing.
What to Do About Excessive Yowling
Here are some tips for dealing with a cat yowling excessively:
- Get female cats spayed to prevent heat cycle yowling
- Ignore attention-seeking meows – don’t reward with response
- Address sources of stress and anxiety in your cat’s environment
- Use calming pheromones and anti-anxiety medication if needed
- Treat medical issues that may cause vocalization
- Provide multiple resources to reduce conflict between cats
- Play with your cat more to burn off excess energy
- Use distraction like toys when the yowling starts
- Block access to windows to reduce outside cat provocation
- Use white noise from a fan or music to calm your cat
When to See the Vet
Take your cat to the vet if excessive vocalizing is accompanied by other symptoms like:
- Appetite changes
- Weight loss
- Excessive drinking or urinating
- Skin problems
- Compulsive behaviors
Sudden increased meowing is not normal and may indicate mental or physical health issues needing veterinary attention. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Should I Give My Cat Benadryl for Yowling?
While some owners consider giving Benadryl to stop cats from yowling, this is not recommended without veterinary guidance. Benadryl can have dangerous side effects in cats at improper dosages.
Benadryl is an antihistamine that happens to have some mild sedative effects. It may make a yowling cat drowsy, but it does not address the root cause of the vocalization. The risks of giving Benadryl without veterinary supervision outweigh any potential benefits.
Only give your cat medication under the guidance of your vet. Many medications safe for humans are toxic for cats at improper dosages. Your vet can prescribe appropriate anti-anxiety medication if needed to curb excessive vocalization in your cat.
It’s understandable to be concerned if your quiet cat suddenly starts yowling up a storm. While some vocalization is normal, excessive loud meowing can signal underlying problems. Get female cats spayed to prevent heat cycle yowling. Address sources of stress and environmental changes. Make sure cats have enough resources if you have multiples. Distract and play with attention-seeking cats rather than reinforcing the behavior. And take yowling cats to the vet to rule out medical issues and provide appropriate treatment. With some detective work and veterinary guidance, you can get to the bottom of your cat’s excessive vocalization.