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Why Do Cats Meow at Night? 8 Reasons & How to Stop It

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

abbyssinian cat meowing

So, you’re laying in your bed getting ready to drift off, and all of a sudden—the meowing commences. Your eyes shoot open as your cat screeches down the hall. Are you in for yet another sleepless night? How can you make it stop?!

Dramatics aside, if your cat is meowing at night, you’ll likely wonder why and what you can do to stop it. No worries, fellow cat owners. We have some reasons for your kitty’s wails along with solutions for you. Read on!

The 8 Likely Reasons Why Cats Meow or Cry at Night

1. Your Cat Wants Attention

We all know what attention hogs our kitties can be. Since cats love to stay up at night, they could just be alarming the household if there’s nobody to play with. If they’re looking for attention and you’re not accessible, these vocalizations may just be an invitation to come to play or give them some cuddles.

Your cat may also want your attention for another reason, like more food, water, or a good cleaning of the litter box. Make sure you’ve ticked these boxes before you get into bed so luck will be on your side for a sound sleep.

2. Your Cat Is Bored

The household is quiet, which can be quite dull for some cats, especially these night owls. If your kitty is the type that needs ultra-stimulation, they might be just trying to entertain themselves by listening to the sound of their own voice. Or they might be letting everyone know they need something to fill their time.

Keeping lots of (quiet) toys around and making sure your cat has a comfortable place to snooze can help curb their bored meowing. While it may seem like a daunting idea, adding another cat to the mix will also likely entertain your kitty more than anything else, and they’ll certainly have one another to play with when you hit the hay.

3. Your Cat Might Have Separation Anxiety

If your cat stays in the house’s main space and your bedroom door is shut, they might be experiencing some separation anxiety. Some animals do not like being away from their owners, so it can result in increased vocalizations when you’re trying to sleep.

If your cat is anxious, you could try over-the-counter calming agents in the form of treats, tinctures, topicals, or supplements. If your vet feels the issue is deeper than basic anxiety, they may prescribe treatment.

4. Cats Are Crepuscular

For a long time, people believe that cats are nocturnal creatures. This is actually not entirely true. Cats are what you call crepuscular, meaning they’re active during twilight. If your cat tends to be more active at night, you might notice him meowing more when the household is quiet.

If this is just normal nightly behavior for your cat, use ambiance and white noise to block out the sound. Or you could try to keep them in a secluded room the farthest from where you sleep. They might not be happy about it—but their pet parents need their beauty rest.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Piqsels

5. Your Cat Might Have an Underlying Health Issue

Health issues like kidney problems often cause meowing because they cause pain. Anything that causes your cat physical anguish can trigger vocalizations. If this behavior is sudden and there’s no known trigger, your cat might have an underlying health condition that needs addressing from her veterinarian.

If it comes on suddenly and is accompanied by other symptoms, you might want to schedule an appointment.

6. Your Cat is Entering Senior Years

If your cat is getting older, this could be a product of advancing years. Sometimes senior cats can experience confusion. If they are suddenly alone in the darkness, they might be a little bit confused as to what’s going on. Their confusion might trigger increased meowing during slumber hours.

Try a nightlight in their sleeping area, and you can also give lots of cuddles before hopping into bed, so they feel satiated by human contact while you sleep.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock

7. Your Cat Is Yowling

If your cat isn’t fixed, they might be yowling. Yowling is a term used for a mating call to attract a suitor. You might notice it because it sounds very throaty and drawn out. If your cat is doing this, they might be trying to get a little late-night action.

This problem can be solved by a simple appointment with your veterinarian to get them snipped and clipped. Once they lose the desire to find a mate, the yowling will cease.

8. Trapped

If your cat is naturally adventurous and used to roaming freely, they may feel trapped at night. The house is quiet, no one is about, and they are all alone with no way outside. They might just be trying to tell the world they aren’t happy feeling so constricted.

If you have your cat limited to one room, you might consider letting them have free range. If this is an issue preventing your sleep, try to place them in a room farthest from yours to create a minimal distraction.


Your cats carrying on at night can be seriously distracting. You both should be able to live harmoniously and find common ground. So the most essential part of nighttime vocal control is finding the underlying reason.

Once you do, you can address the issue accordingly. If you need the help of your vet or just want to voice your concerns, don’t be afraid to consult professionals for behavioral guidance.

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