You love your cat, but if she's constantly calling out, her caterwauling could quickly drive you up a wall. There are many reasons your cat might be calling out, including being in an uncomfortable situation, but the main one is that she's in heat and wants to mate. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to stop the cat's calling and keep them quiet so that you both can have some peace.
Although some cat breeds are more vocal than others, constant calling isn't normal. Once you identify the cause of your kitty's calling, you can start to deal with this unwanted behavior, whether through medical intervention or behavioral adjustments. Soon, the two of you should be living in blissfully quiet co-existence. All it takes is a bit of patience and probably a trip to the vet.
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Cats calling because they're in heat
One of the main reasons that female cats call out is because they are in estrus, commonly referred to as being "in heat." Female cats begin having heat cycles when they are approximately six months old during the warmer months of January until September, according to the VCA Hospitals website. Your cat will be in heat and able to become pregnant during her cycle for about six days every 24 days or so.
A cat in estrus has a desire to mate and will begin calling and yowling incessantly to let available male cats know that she is ready to mate. She will also meow to be let out, so she can find a mate in the area. If she does end up mating, she will make blood-curdling yowls during the process.
A cat in heat is annoying. To deal with a house cat in heat, keep her away from open doors and warn guests that she may try to escape. Ignore the crying and keep her confined to the house to prevent her from mating during this time and producing unwanted litters of kittens.
Get your house cat spayed
The easiest way to stop a female cat in heat from calling out is to get her spayed. Spaying is a medical procedure that your veterinarian can perform. During this operation, he will remove your cat's reproductive organs, including her ovaries and uterus, according to Vetinfo. After being spayed, your cat will recover at the vet, possibly overnight, before coming home.
A house cat who is spayed won't have the urge to mate anymore. This should end her incessant calling and yowling to be let out. This way, you won't have to deal with a cat in heat being annoying. Spaying also prevents litters of unwanted kittens and certain cancers from developing, like mammary and ovarian cancers, so it's a good idea all around, says PetMD.
To stop cats calling in the first place, have your cat spayed between 2 and 5 months of age, before her first estrus cycle. Remember, there is no medical reason to let your cat go into estrus or have kittens before being spayed. If your cat is currently in estrus, your vet will likely wait until after she is no longer in heat to perform the operation.
A mother cat and kittens
If your cat has recently had kittens, she may be crying to get their attention. This is especially true if you have found a female cat in distress who may have a litter of kittens she is trying to reach. Check the area around where you found the mother cat or in your backyard if your cat has access to it.
Once you locate your cat's kittens, create a safe spot indoors for them to cuddle up in together. Provide the mom with a kitten-specific food that is richer in calories than regular cat food. This will allow her to properly nurse her young and keep up her strength.
If your cat has recently had a litter of kittens and lost that litter, she may cry for them for a short period of time after the loss, searching for them. Allow her to grieve for the kittens, and the behavior should soon subside.
Your cat might be injured
If your house cat is injured, she might be calling out because she's in pain. You might also notice that she's hiding, shaking, lethargic, limping, or doesn't want to eat, according to Vetinfo. The only way to know for sure is to get her to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a checkup.
Be sure to let your vet know when she started calling and how her behavior has changed. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your cat physically for injuries and take X-rays if necessary to determine if any bones are broken. Once she gets treatment and is healed, your cat shouldn't call out any more because she will no longer be in pain.
Dealing with an alarm clock cat
As silly as it sounds, sometimes cats simply call out to get your attention because they are hungry. For example, if you feed your cat in the morning when you wake up, she may try to wake you sooner by calling out to get your attention for food, according to PetMD. This is especially true if you feed her at the same time each morning except on weekends and want to sleep in.
To combat an alarm clock cat, leave out some dry kibble for your cat to nosh on throughout the night, so her tummy won't be empty come morning. Or set up a timed feeder that will automatically give her a breakfast portion at the same time each day without you having to do anything.
Most importantly, don't immediately react to your cat's calls for food by feeding her. This only reinforces this behavior. Instead, ignore her until she's quiet and then feed her.
Combating cries for attention
If you've ruled out a medical issue, your female house cat may simply be meowing to call for your attention. To stop this type of behavior, simply begin ignoring your kitty when she cries for attention, after determining that everything with her litter and food is fine. Then, as soon as she is quiet, reward her with praise and treats so that she learns being quiet gets a good result and being loud doesn't.
When your cat vocalizes again, simply walk away and ignore her until she's quiet, then lavish her with attention again, recommends the ASPCA. Pretty soon, she'll learn that vocalizing won't get her the results she desires but being quiet will.
It's also important to set aside some time during the day, even 10 to 15 minutes, to play with your cat. This helps the two of you bond and tuckers your cat out so that she won't be as apt to cry for your attention. After all, she knows that she's guaranteed your attention during these sessions. Sessions close to bedtime also prevent your cat from calling out during the night because she'll be more likely to be asleep.
Medical conditions that cause calling
Some medical conditions may cause your cat to begin vocalizing and calling out. Painful conditions like kidney disease and urinary tract infections can lead to cats calling. You may even notice that your cat calls out in pain when she uses the litter box. Other diseases like cancer and an overactive thyroid can lead to your cat crying because she doesn't feel good and is in pain.
If your cat is already spayed, she's regularly crying out, and doesn't seem to be herself, it's best to head to the vet for a checkup. Routine blood work, a urine test, a fecal test, and a physical exam will let your vet know if there are any health conditions affecting your cat and causing her noisy behavior. Treating the medical condition should alleviate her calling and get your kitty feeling like her quiet self again.
Elderly cat vocalizations
As your cat ages, she can develop a cognitive problem similar to Alzheimer's disease in people. This condition, known as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD), can make her anxious, disoriented, and confused, leading to distressed calls for help when she gets lost in her own home. Typically your cat may begin suffering from FCD as early as 11 years old and this disease is especially common in cats between 16 and 20 years of age, according to the ASPCA.
Bring your senior feline to the vet for a checkup if she starts to vocalize and appears disoriented or confused. He can examine her and put her on medication to help with this condition. You'll also want to tire her out by using wand toys to play with her before bedtime so she'll be more apt to sleep through the night. That's because many cats suffering from FCD tend to vocalize and wander the home at night when they wake up and become disoriented.
Most importantly, keep her mealtimes and the locations of her meals and litter box consistent. This way, she'll be less likely to become disoriented by her surroundings and won't vocalize to express her discontent.
Calm unpleasant cat interactions
If you have a multiple cat household, not all your kitties may get along. Your female cat may be reacting to another cat in your household with her calls. Cats vocalize at each other when they feel threatened, so you may need to establish peaceful co-existence in your household.
Once you've identified which cat is bothering your vocal girl kitty, try separating the two and slowly re-introducing them to each other through a baby gate. Do fun things like feed them on each side of the gate and give them treats so that they associate the presence of the other with good things. When you don't hear anymore vocalizations, start to let them interact normally. Eventually, the cat yelling should subside.
Outside cats threatening your cat's territory
Sometimes outdoor cats can come around your home, spooking your girl cat who may vocalize at them through the window, says Modern Cat. Cats view other cats who they aren't familiar with as invaders in their territory, which can lead to unpleasant vocalizations and even inappropriate elimination within your home.
To gently dissuade outside cats from coming around your home and bothering your house cat, install motion-sensitive sprinklers in the areas that they frequent. These sprinklers won't harm the cats, just scare them away with water. You may also want to limit your cat's access to windows where she can see outside cats. This should curtail her vocalizations.
Things to avoid doing
When your cat calls incessantly, never punish her or physically harm her in any way. This will only serve to terrify your cat and possibly injure her as well. It won't fix the cause of the calling, which is what you want to identify and combat.
Another thing to avoid is lavishing your vocalizing cat with attention, assuming a medical condition has been ruled out. If she is sick, you can feel free to make her feel as comfy and loved as possible, but if she's not, then giving her attention when she calls will only encourage this behavior.
Don't ignore your cat completely until you've ruled out that she has plenty of food to eat, access to her litter box, and that nothing else seems to be amiss. This way, you know that she may only be calling for attention and not because she's in distress.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- VCA Hospitals: Estrous Cycles in Cats
- Vetinfo: What to Expect from Cats' Behavior after Being Spayed
- PetMD: What Age Should You Spay or Neuter Your Cat?
- Vetinfo: 7 Common Cat Pain Symptoms
- PetMD: Top 3 Reasons Why Cats Are Better Than Alarm Clocks
- ASPCA: Meowing and Yowling
- Modern Cat: 12 Sounds Cats Make and What They Mean
- ASPCA: Older Cats with Behavior Problems