Why do cats cry like babies?

Just about every cat owner will know what I’m talking about. That nighttime cry that shocks us awake with its uncanny resemblance to the sound of a crying baby.

It can be alarming to cat owners when this happens, it can sound like your feline friend is in distress. A sharp and high-pitched wail that seems designed to penetrate the heaviest of sleep. In this article we will address the reasoning for cats crying.

So, just why do cats cry at night?

The first thing to note is that probably isn’t anything to worry about, cats are intelligent creatures that understand how to communicate. Of course, they are also nocturnal, the fact that their owner isn’t doesn’t matter to them. If your cat is crying at night, it is probably just trying to tell you something, It could be hungry, or it has seen another cat in the garden and wants to alert you!

As for the resemblance to a baby crying. Some reckon that cats understand that the sound of an infant in distress is more likely to get a reaction. As I say, cats are intelligent.

In this article, I discuss some of the main reasons why your cat cries at night, whether you should be worried about it, and some steps you can take to stop it from occurring.

Does nighttime crying in cats have a name?

When you consider this question, it is worth asking yourself if you have ever heard your cat making the same sound during the day? The answer is likely no.

We all know what a meow sounds like, and even what a cat howl sounds like. The noise they make at night is often neither of these, but somewhere in-between. The noise they make at night even has its own category; it is referred to as caterwauling.

This “caterwauling” seems deliberately designed to trigger primeval instincts within humans. Whether this is by design or accident, is unknown. But as I say cats are intelligent creatures.

Reasons a cat might cry during the night

As I touched upon, it could be something as simple as she is hungry. This leads us nicely to the first tip about how to stop your cat from crying at night. If you can positively identify that it is hunger that is at the root of the problem, the worst thing you can do is feed her. This merely reinforces the fact that if they make noise during the night, they get attention and more importantly food!

Once she realizes that all she needs to do to get fed is to make a bit of a racket, then the behavior can quickly become a habit. A snack before bedtime, or a slightly later evening meal time, could be all that is needed to stop her crying at night. Alternatively, leave them with a feeder toy with some healthy treats inside to keep her interested. This feeds both their appetite and their predatory instincts.

It could also just be down to the fact that she is demanding a bit of attention, cats are nocturnal creatures by nature and this means when our body clocks are telling us to sleep, theirs is telling them it is time for playing.

Crying, for this reason, is more likely to occur if the cat is a new addition to your family, if this is the case try letting your new feline sleep in the bedroom. Knowing your present in the same room may be all your cat needs to settle down at night.

Once again the important thing is don’t reward the behavior. Even getting up to chase them out of the room will be seen as a reaction and will lead to future, even nightly, incidents. Try playing with your cat earlier in the evening or just before bed, this is particularly relevant with younger cats that are full of boundless energy.

Cats are territorial, this can lead to another cause of nighttime crying. If they see other cats within their territory, this can stress or agitate them and lead to crying at night. This is simply dealt with, if you have blinds or curtains the cat can’t get in behind, making sure they are closed at night may be all you need to do.

The mating game

One other potential cause of crying at night is that it is time to mate. This applies to male and female cats alike. All this nocturnal noise might be the cat equivalent of a dating website, he or she is just letting potential suitors know of their availability.

If this occurs, there is little you can do but to grin and bear it until it passes. Obviously, unless you want to hear the pitter-patter of tiny paws, then it is best to keep your feline friends isolated during this period.

Should I be worried if my cat cries at night

If you have ruled out all the above reasons as potential causes, then it may be that your cat is in some kind of discomfort. If you suspect this then contact your vet immediately.

It is unlikely, though not unheard of, that some kind of injury or illness will only affect your cat at night, so look for signs of discomfort or strange behavior in daytime hours. If your cat is behaving strangely during the night and daytime then there is more reason to seek medical advice.

For all other scenarios, there is no reason to worry too much. Your cat is simply trying to tell you something at a time that suits her. The important thing is to try not to reinforce the behavior by pandering to it. If necessary, close your bedroom door at night and place a towel between the door and door frame in case they try to rattle the door as an extra attention-grabbing tactic.

If you persevere with this non-reaction behavior, your cat will soon learn it is wasting its time and will quickly learn to live with the fact that nighttime is nap time for humans.

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