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Why Does My Cat Howl At Night?

It’s happened to the best of us. Any cat owner can tell you stories of their soundless sleep being disrupted by the howling of their cat.

Cats certainly have several ways to keep us awake during the night; howling is just one of those strange cat behaviors. On one of my many nights, awoken by the sound of my cat’s yowling, I stare at the ceiling wondering why it’s a common occurrence.

Is my cat just trying to keep me up every night? Why does my cat howl at night?

Although it can be torturous, cats don’t howl at night just to keep their owners awake. Howling is a form of communication that cats use to tell their owner something. This can be anything ranging from hunger to wanting to play.

Why Does My Cat Howl At Night?

It seems that cats love to be awake and make noise at your time of peace. However, while it looks like our cats like to find new ways to limit our sleep, there’s a reason behind their noise.

One of the ways cats communicate is through vocalization. That vocalization is expressed in meows and howls.

It just leaves you wondering why at night? Cats don’t seem to make as much noise during the day. That is because cats understand that they can grab their owner’s attention through their meows and howls.

In the daytime, cats already have your attention. During the day, they are being doted on and get their way with their owners effortlessly.

At night, they know the only way to get you to listen to them is by waking you up! 

Now that we know that cats howl at night to get our attention, what is it that they need? It can be hard to know exactly what our cats need from us through the grogginess of coming out of a deep sleep.

However, it is important to see what your cat needs. Many reasons and circumstances could be causing your cat to call on you at night.

It’s a good idea to figure out what is causing your cat to howl. 


One very common reason that cats will howl at night is because of hunger. Cats tend to be quite dramatic when hungry, and when they howl, it sounds like they haven’t eaten for weeks.

While they might be dramatic, it’s important to remember that cats can’t get food for themselves. They rely on their owners to give them food; if they feel hungry, they will try to wake you so you can feed them.

Wants to play:

If you are busy during the day and don’t have much time to play with your cat, this could be the reason they are howling. Some cats have a lot of energy, especially indoor cats.

If they have a lot of energy, they will want to play. They could be howling to get you to play with them.

They could be howling to get you to play with them

Cats can get bored and want to be entertained, just like us. If they sleep most of the day, they only have the night for playtime.

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Cats like to spend time with their owners, and if you are gone for most of the day, they may just want to bond and spend some time together. 

Anxiety and Stress:

Another reason you might hear your cat howl throughout the night is due to anxiety or stress. Just like us, cats can get anxious and stressed.

One of the main contributors to a cat’s stress is a change in its environment. This could be a move or an addition to the family.

Consider if any changes are affecting your cat’s life. A conflict with a cat could be causing your cat to stress out and howl at night.

Figuring out what could be bothering your cat could help you get to the bottom of their nighttime howls.


It may seem that our cats are independent creatures that don’t need us too much. While at times that may be true, cats still want to bond and have quality time with their owner.

If you adopt another pet, this could leave your cat feeling lonely. If you have been spending more time with your new adopted pet than with your cat, this could leave it feeling isolated.

Especially if your cat hasn’t had the time to warm up to your new pet, this can leave your kitty feeling alone and needing some attention from its owner.

Your Kitty Is Getting Old:

Your kitty is getting old

Sometimes you will find that older cats will howl and meow more than younger cats. This is because of their age.

Some cats develop a disorder known as feline cognitive dysfunction. This disorder can cause a cat to be restless and talk more at night.

Cats with this condition tend to get confused and lost, even in a familiar place. Due to the nature of the disorder, your cat could be howling for several reasons and need some help.

Your Cat Needs Help:

If your cat normally isn’t vocal at night and suddenly is howling up a storm, it could be because they are in pain. Cats in pain will yelp and howl to communicate that they are hurt.

Similarly, your cat could be stuck in an enclosed space and can’t get out or get down from a high place. With cats, there are no limits to where they could fit their tiny bodies although getting out might become an issue!

What Should I Do If My Cat Howls At Night?

Knowing that your cat howls to tell you something can help to decide what to do and what to avoid when that happens.

Here are some tips to help you and your cat through any night disturbances. 

Check On Your Cat:

If your cat is howling at night, it most likely isn’t a mindless talk. Cats depend on their owner and may be howling for a reason.

They could be hurt or stuck, so disregarding their meows could be a bad idea and leave your cat in pain.

Checking on your cat can give you peace of mind that they are okay!

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Play With Your Cat:

If you want your cat to stop howling and night and just sleep, the best way is to tire them out! If know that your cat is yearning for some playtime, play with them before bed.

Making your cat run around will tire them out and keep them snoring rather than meowing. A win for you and your cat!

Feed Your Cat:

If you feed your cat too early in the day, it may be howling at night due to hunger.

By feeding your cat a little food or leaving some kibble out for them to snack on at night, you can help prevent them from keeping you up all night.

Don’t Give In To Late Night Treats:

Sometimes your cat knows how to get what they want. If they howl and you get up to give them their favorite treats, they will remember that and keep doing it.

Cats are creatures of habit, and it’s important not to give in to the late-night treats before they become a habit. This is an important tip to help limit the number of times you are disturbed at night!

Take Your Cat To The Vet

Take Your Cat To The Vet:

To be safe, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet if they are constantly howling at night. The vet will be able to figure out if any health issues are causing your cat to howl at sleep time.

If your vet finds an underlying issue behind the howling, they can provide a treatment plan to help.

Don’t Yell:

It can be hard not to get mad when your cat wakes you up for the millionth time at night; however, it’s important to remain calm. Never scream or yell at your cat for meowing or howling at night.

Doing so can make matters worse. If your cat is stressed, this may stress them out even more. Any type of punishment for meowing is a bad idea that your cat may remember for some time to come.

Let Your Cat Howl:

There can be times when you can do nothing for your cat, and they seem to want to talk. It can be frustrating but letting them howl it out can actually be helpful.

If your cat knows that howling will get them extra food or something special, they will continue doing so. If you are sure your cat is safe and not in pain, let them howl it out.

They will most likely stop after a little while, and you can get back to sleep!


Cats do lots of things to get our attention; sometimes, these things aren’t so pleasing to us. Despite its lack of appeal, cats howl at night to communicate.

They may be communicating anything from wanting attention to being in pain. When your cat howls, it’s important to never yell or punish them; rather, see what is behind their howling.

Following some helpful tips can help prevent your cat from howling the whole night!