19 answers

Cat Crying Constantly

My cat Tinker is 18 yrs old, almost blind and deaf. She walks around the house and cries very loud constantly. I just don't know what to do about this. I took her to a vet and he told me since she is going blind and deaf, she doesn't know if anyone is around, although I always pet her and talk to her to let her know that I am here and she still continues to cry. Her cries are so loud and so often that it drives my entire family crazy. I don't want to be angry with her because I don't know if she is in pain or if she is trying to tell us something. I was just wondering if anyone else has ever had this happen with their cat and what I should do to help her or if this is just what they do when they get to be her age with her vision & hearing problems.

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So What Happened?™

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded to me. Everyone gave wonderful advice and it was very helpful. 1st and foremost Tinker is not in pain. I found out if she was in pain she would go around the house hissing and she doesn't do that. I touched her all over her body and she didn't respond like she was in pain. Yeahhhh -I'm very happy about that. 2nd - I found out that since Tinker is going deaf and blind she just wants attention, she can't hear herself cry so that's another reason she cries and because she has a hard time hearing anyone or seeing anyone she doesn't know if anyone is around so she walks around crying to find someone. I sat down with my family and we came to the decision to just LOVE HER - LOVE HER - LOVE HER and give her all the attention that she wants until the horrid day comes when she isn't with us anymore. Again, thank you everyone for your help in helping me, help my kitty. L.

Featured Answers

My female cat did the same thing in her later years (she died in September at 18-1/2 years old). She would cry/scream/holler several times each day, but I never determined the actual reason. My feeling with her was that she had lived a long happy life and I knew her final days could not be too far away, so I just dealt with her noise making. Oh how I wish I could hear her scream now.... :(

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My question is did your vet say Tinker is otherwise healthy? What does he/she say about putting her down? I would tend to trust my vet in this case and if her quality of life is so minimal - or if she's in any kind of pain - I would put her down. Horrible prospect, I know, but it may be for the best.

We had to put down our Mr. Bear and it was horrible. To keep him alive and treat his doggy sicknesses would've meant many future stressful trips to the vet. (stressful for Bear more than us) Not an option. We just couldn't do that to the guy. He was a wonderful dog and we miss him like one of the family, but it was his time.

I'm sorry you have to go through having one of your family members suffer.

Take care,

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Hi, L. --

I am such a fan of old cats. My gal Kalinka will be 17 this year, and she's still kicking butt and taking names. My husband's cat from childhood died at almost 24 years old! So, while 18 is definitely "old," it's not unheard of for cats to live well beyond this age.

I am a volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter where we have over 600 cats. Now, I say "no kill," but we are humane and will put an animal to sleep if we believe it is suffering. That said, we do everything we possibly can to support our animals until they tell us it is their time to go. We know them so well, it is not difficult to see when they have decided they would like to pass on -- generally demonstrated through lethargy, refusal to eat or lack of desire to eat or interact.

We also have an entire collection of cats who are blind, deaf, incontinent, missing limbs, have neurological issues that make them "wobbly bobbly" or who have been abused in various ways. We have cats in renal failure, cats with kidney disease, cats with Feline Leukemia and FIV. And the same rules of life apply to them... if they are not demonstrating that they feel too miserable to continue on in life, we honor them by helping them manage their medical conditions or other needs.

So, I wanted to mention this whole range of things because often people feel that animals probably want to cross over if they are not enjoying the same kind of life that we as humans would want. But, I think it's important to remember that animals are animals - if they are loved and supported, cared for, comforted, fed and kept in a clean environment, they don't worry. They don't care about tomorrow. And if they are not in pain, they're generally going to want to stick around to be with you.

So, with your old gal, maybe an approach you could take would be to restrict her to a smaller area than her current range - somewhere that she can feel comfortable and safe as her vision and hearing decline. She's got to feel tremendously exposed, and that would certainly make her nervous. For our shelter's blind cats, we try to keep everything as consistent as we can for them so that they can orient themselves and feel confident. With our deaf cats, we try to not startle them and offer something of ours that they can smell if they're sleeping so that they know we're going to touch them. Things like that make the cats much more relaxed. Nobody likes to be startled or lost!

I have seen remarkable resilience in cats and recovery from some of the most unimaginable abuse and misfortune, disease, and other conditions. So I have huge faith that, with love and some "putting yourself in her shoes," you can help your Tinker be more comfortable. I would not put her to sleep unless she's not eating and demonstrating that she's had enough of life.

By the way, my girl Kalinka cries, too. And I can see by the graying of her eyes that her vision is probably starting to wane a little. If it were to get worse, I would do just what I've suggested to you -- make her space smaller and "safer" feeling so that she would get comfortable with being able to navigate freely.

I wish you the best. I know you're leading with your heart. Let me know if you want any other suggestions or support. I am a HUGE fan of the felines and the canines!


I thought of this after my initial post:

One of our shelter's blind/deaf cats, named Terry, also cries a lot. But his weight has been constant and he's been healthy for years. We believe he's just wanting to make sure he gets the attention he craves so much and doesn't want to be overlooked.

Weightloss is one primary indicator that a cat is having health problems. We tend to use 1 lb of weightloss in a month as an indicator, though we track our shelter cats' weight and monitor any continuing downward trends. The smaller the cat, of course, the more we look at the ounces lost, not just the 1 lb/month rule.

Cats in pain will often hiss at you, or you will notice mood and behavior changes. You may also be able to determine that an animal is sensitive in some area, indicating some pain there.

I hope this helps!

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Hi L.,

Gosh, I so understand our 4-legged loves just like our 2-legged loves. They mean the world to us. As we can understand if she cannot hear herself it would be scary...I love the way you love her. It is beautiful. You will know what to do, as I would suggest things, but it sounds like you are already doing everything. It may be time for you to know you are wonderful and Tinker loves & trust you.

Peace & Blessings

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Sorry about your cat! I recently had a cat pass away that was over 17.5 years old...so I know the pain. She died on May 1st and I had her since high school and she went to college with me. I would say that since your cat is crying, that she is in some kind of distress and I would see the vet. Then you can determine if she needs to be "put to sleep". I know it is a hard decision but if your cat is in pain, you can help end it. (I had to put a different cat to sleep when I was pregnant with my 3rd child and it was difficult but he had cancer and he was really close anyway.) It is not easy but in the long run you feel worse if you make the animal suffer longer than needed! It sounds like you are an animal lover and that she has had a great life to live 18 years. Hopefully she will go peacefully if it is her time, but if you have to aid her, I hope the best. Hope that helps. Good luck with your decision.

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We too have a aging cat (don't know how old since she is a rescue cat) that cries all the time! She is deaf and going blind too! We all pet her a lot and just let her know she's not alone here! I wish you a lot of luck with your kitties!

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First, I aplaud you for taking such great care of Tinker that she has lived to such a wise old age! My first cat died at home at age 19, and I have another who is 18 now and blind. I think you are doing the right things for Tinker. She does just want to know that you are around, and continues to "call" to you and yet I'll bet she doesn't understand that she is deaf and why you don't answer her. Cats are social animals and want to be with others. I'm sure she thinks of you and your family as her family. Try to be patient with her. The petting will give her reassureance that you are there. Does she have a favorite place, like her bed that she spends alot of time? If you put a toy with your scent on it there she may be comforted by it. Good luck!

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Don't kill your beloved cat just because she's crying. Your vet should be able to tell you if your cat is in pain or not. Her blood test and other tests should reveal if any organ (kidney, liver etc) is failing. If it's arthritis, you should see some limping or slowing down in activity and/or appetite. If it's diabetes or thyroid, a simple diet change or medication will give her relief. Again, if your vet asked you all this info and is not able to tell you if she's still enjoying life or not, it may not hurt to get a 2nd opinion. Don't let someone tell you to kill your cat just because she's 'old' ! It would be another matter if she were suffering. Some cats live into their 20's and have a clean bill of health and play like kittens into their late teens. I should know since I work at a very good cat clinic.

Good luck.

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My female cat did the same thing in her later years (she died in September at 18-1/2 years old). She would cry/scream/holler several times each day, but I never determined the actual reason. My feeling with her was that she had lived a long happy life and I knew her final days could not be too far away, so I just dealt with her noise making. Oh how I wish I could hear her scream now.... :(

1 mom found this helpful

L., Maybe its just cats with a name that begins with a T! First of all let me congratulate you on having a cat that is 18!! You must love them and they must be very happy. Now down to my cat Tasha who passed away at 18. Oddly enough that's all she did was cry, for YEARS! My guess simply was that we didn't get her fixed until she was about 8 or 10years old. She was used to crying is my point, you know, they do that to attract a male. If your Tinker has been fixed since she was about 6months that may not be the case, she might be in pain. Although the female I have now is 15 who never utter so much a mew let alone a full meow "talks" to me every chance she gets, it is almost like she's trying to tell me something. Some days I say "what is it Lassie? What is it girl? Okay, show me!" LOL. ANYWAY, I don't have any medical answers but my females seem to get vocal with age, unfortunately I cannot compare them to males, my two males never made it into old age and the current male is only 8. Yes, she may drive you all batty but there's not much more time with her. Try treats or moist cat food as an extra bonus to keeping her mouth busy for some piece of mind. Good luck and continue to love those furry friends!!-H.-

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My sister's dog was doing the same thing. She was also deaf, had lost one eye, and was starting to run into things. Then one day she just started crying and running around, running into everything in her path. They think that is when she lost sight in her other eye, and when the vet checked her, something was going on with her eye that indicated a tumor. They checked her, and it was a tumor. Apparently she was in a lot of pain along with her other problems. You might want to have the cat checked for something worse than just not knowing if anyone is around.

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I am no expert, but I would say that the crying is her being in some constant discomfort. Time to maybe think about letting her live it out or take her pain away and have her put to sleep.
Best of luck, I know that your heart is probably aching over her.

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She is really old!! Have you had bloodwork done to check fer kidneys and liver? A lot of cats go into kidney failure at this age. She may be thirsty if her kidneys are compromised. Also, she probally has arthritis at her age. It wouldn't hurt to try some Cosequin or other arthritis medication to see if that helps. Good luck!!

cats can have arthritis and most any movement can cause pain and discomfort. I would certainly ask about this, because it is treatable with pills.

How sad. I know animals go through this kind of stuff all the time. I figure the reason why she's howling (crying) all the time is because she can't hear anymore, so she's trying to see if she can hear herself cry. Our 2 1/2 year old cat has lost her meow. She has to his to communicate. And I feel so bad for her because she has been locked in a closet and she can't meow to let us know that she's in there. So the only way we found her was because one of our dogs heard her or sensed her in there. One good thing is that she had food in the closet. Our male cat now, he's constantly howling. We were told its because he has a fur ball, but he doesn't. We have tried to dislodge it the way that we were told to do so, but nothing. We thought it was because he was thirsty, it had somewhat to do with it, attention always given, and food, most of the time its because he wants outside. But other than that, he's still young and hormones are raging. We need to get him fixed and have an appointment scheduled to do so. So that's our problem. I am truly sorry to hear about your poor kitty. I hate hearing about things like this and have no conclusion to help out really.

I'm so sorry for you. I always had to be the bad guy in my family. I scheduled the appt. for my husband's dog to be put out of his misery for sat. am. He just couldn't do it. Fri. night the poor guy couldn't even walk up the driveway and my hubby had to carry him into the house. That's when he knew that it was the right thing to do. It's the hardest thing to tell them goodbye, but they deserve dignity in their lives and in their deaths. They do so much for us, we have to be strong enough to do this for them.

I don't have a clue!! Poor thing! Do the other cats interact with her?? Have you called another Vet??

Have you ever used an anumal communicator? I use Shannon Gross. I just gave her a call last week! She is amazing and helped tremendously!
her website and email addresss is

Put that poor old kitty to sleep, for heaven's and her own and your family's sake!

The humane thing to do would be to send her on to kitty heaven, which I know is a hard thing to do. And if she is crying all the time you know she is in pain, so be kind.
and do the right thing for her.

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