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Why Do Cats Make Weird Noises at Night? 6 Reasons for This Behavior

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

orange cat meowing

Cats are largely nocturnal creatures, so hearing them making a racket at night is not uncommon. From meowing, growling, and hissing to sounds that you may have never heard them make before, you’d be forgiven for getting concerned about the strange noises that you may hear coming from your cat at night.

While some cat breeds are just naturally vocal, most cats are noisy for specific reasons. The noise is undoubtedly annoying, especially for the neighbors, but there are reasons for the behavior. If you’ve been wondering about the weird noises coming from your feline at night, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we look at six reasons for this strange nocturnal behavior.

The 6 Reasons Cats Make Weird Noises at Night

1. Cats are more active at night

The reason that your cat is making noise at night may simply be due to the fact that they are more active at night. Most people think that cats are nocturnal, but they are actually crepuscular, meaning that they are more active during dawn and dusk. Cats will often adjust to their owner’s routines and often sleep through the night like us, but most will still have the instinct to be active during twilight hours.

This could result in various strange sounds because your cat may be hunting (as this is when their preferred smaller prey is out and about), communicating with other cats, or simply exploring their environment and potentially knocking things over.

abbyssinian cat meowing
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. Stress

Some cats can be easily stressed, and even the smallest change in their environment can cause them to act in strange ways due to stress or anxiety. Moving to a new home can make them feel unsafe because they don’t have their preferred territory to roam. A new routine or new pets in the home can also cause stress in your feline. This stress can lead to strange behaviors, including roaming around at night and making yowling or growling sounds as they adjust to their new normal.

3. Mating

If you have a female cat at home, she may be yowling at night because she is in heat and calling for a potential mate. Conversely, if you have a male, there may be a female in heat nearby, and he is trying to get to her. This is why it’s best to get your female cats spayed and males neutered. It will eliminate the chance of any unwanted pregnancies and stop the yowling and meowing caused by mating behaviors.

pregnant white cat
Image Credit: Boy77, shutterstock

4. Hunger

One common reason that cats make strange noises at night is simply out of hunger or thirst. It could be possible that you’ve forgotten to feed them, haven’t fed them enough, or haven’t left any accessible water nearby. We’ve all heard our cats meowing and yowling when it’s close to their dinner time, and with all the other environmental noises around, this may not seem loud or out of the ordinary. At night, when everything is quiet and still, this noise can be fairly alarming. Luckily, it’s easy to fix, and you may just need to feed your cat a bit more than usual. Of course, if you are feeding them the normal amount and they still seem hungry, there may be an underlying health issue, like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or even internal parasites, and they may need a checkup with the vet.

5. Attention

Some cats may cry during the night simply because they are under-stimulated or bored or haven’t had enough interaction during the day to tire them out. This could be attention-seeking behavior, as your cat may need more interaction than they are getting or they are telling you that they want to go outside or come inside. Try to add toys or interactive play to your cat’s routine to help tire them out sufficiently during the day. This is especially important for indoor cats because they don’t have the same opportunities for climbing and playing, so you’ll need to add cat trees and perches to give them a chance for physical exertion.

Similarly, if you have an outdoor cat that is being kept inside at night, they may feel trapped and frustrated and are making noises because they want to go outside. There also may be something wrong with their litter box, and they may want to go outside to relieve themselves.

orange cat sleeping in owner's lap
Image Credit: Piqsels

6. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)

CDS tends to affect senior cats but can affect younger felines too. It affects their normal cognitive function and abilities. Unfortunately, the disease is not easy to diagnose — all cat owners know how strange their cats can be at times! If your cat seems disorientated and confused and has changed their normal routine, such as being up more at night and making weird noises, these can be symptoms of cognitive decline.

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Final Thoughts

Most of the time, your cat making weird noises at night is simply a case of cats being cats. Cats are largely nocturnal creatures that can get up to a fair bit of mischief at night, including startling sounds like loud yowling or meowing. Your cat may also simply feel trapped inside or is possibly hungry. In older cats, this nighttime noise may be a symptom of CDS, and it’s best to take your cat to a trusted vet for a checkup.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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