Help! My Cat Won't Stop Meowing!!!

Updated on September 05, 2010
J.L. asks from Chicago, IL
16 answers

I'm hoping someone out there can help ... I have a 7 year old male cat ("Quimby), who, until recently, has been a great cat. Starting in January or February of this year, he started meowing more than normal. (He has always been a little vocal) It has now gotten to the point where if he's not sleeping, the only thing he does is meow. Sometimes it's almost a shrieking sound. He wakes us up every hour during the night. It's terrible. (I'm not exaggerating when I say he meows all the time - he is getting hoarse, but hasn't quite lost his "voice")

We did take him to the vet, and she ran every test imaginable on him - he has a clean bill of health.

We tried Feliway - did not notice any difference.

Tried kitty Prozac - no effect.

We are now on alprazolam (Xanax) - the only thing this does is sedate him to the point where his hind legs don't really work - he is very uncoordinated, can't jump, etc. (apparently a common side effect) He still has it in him to meow. Excessively.

I should also mention I have an 18 month old son ("Alex"). Before my son was born, Quimby was my "baby". He hasn't exhibited any signs of jealousy, and is not aggressive toward my son.

We are at wits end and have no idea what else we can do. My husband wants to give Quimby away, but I don't think I can do it. I also don't think it's fair to keep him "sedated" just so we can tolerate him (which isn't even working).

I'm sorry this is so long.

Does anyone have any ideas?!?!?
We are open to just about anything.

Thanks so much.

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So What Happened?

Based on some of the posts here, I thought I should provide an update.

Contrary to some opinions, I still spend a great deal of time with Quimby, but have been making more of an effort lately. I carried him around in a Baby Bjorn last night for about an hour -- that was the quietest he's been all week. Unfortunately, carrying him around like that every day is not an option.

I spoke with our vet again yesterday, and she was stumped - she couldn't believe that he was still meowing despite the drugs. She recommended speaking to a cat behaviorist, as well as trying to find another cat to bring into our home on a temporary basis to see if a companion would help. (Our other cat died last month, so Quimby is probably feeling a bit lonely from that as well. -- However, the meowing problem started BEFORE the other cat died.)

Does anyone know of a cat rescue organization that would allow me to "foster" a cat/kitten to determine if that would make a difference? If it helps Quimby, we'd adopt another in an instant.

Thanks for the help.
UPDATE -- SATURDAY 7/28 -- Yesterday I had some "focused playtime" with Quimby - away from both my son and my husband - we played alone for about 15 minutes, with a catnip toy. He actually slept through the night, and only woke us up when it was time for his breakfast (around 7:15 a.m.). I also bought another "Feliway" diffuser for our bedroom. Not sure which one it was that helped, but I'm hopeful that he's starting to get better.

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answers from Chicago on

I noticed my 2 non vocal cats becoming very vocal after my son started to walk. I give them exclusive attention in the evenings and that seems to help. I'd think he wants attention (?)

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answers from Chicago on


Here are some links to local shelters that use foster homes. My husband and I were a foster home for a German Shepherd rescue when we first were together and it was a great thing to do. The hardest part was getting rid of "Arby" when it was time.

I hope this works and gives Quimby what he needs to feel better.

Good luck,




answers from Chicago on

Hi Jen,
I totally know what you mean when you talk about your kitty being your "baby." I have a 21-month-old daughter and 4 feline "daughters," ages 16, 11, 10 and 5. My 16-year-old kitty Tasha is my "soul cat" and I would not be able to part with her either. Have you thought about a cat behaviorist? You might want to check out The founder of the clinic has excellent reviews and reasonable rates. She charges $130 for a one-hour consulting session and daily email review and follow-up for 4 weeks. I hope you are able to resolve your situation - all the best to you and your family!



answers from New York on

Oh my! I can not believe your situation sounds exactly like ours! Our female, spayed cat does the same thing non stop! Drives me nuts and wakes everyone bc it is all night. She loves to sit right at the door and let us know. Vet cleared her health as well. I KNOW she wants more attention. I have a 3 young kids so she doesn't get as much. doesn't matter if we give her attention at night either, she still does it. Thinking of getting another cat to see if it helps. Only, she was born in the wild & accepts only us. So...not sure how great that'd be. we got her at 4mo. and she is 9 yrs now. I can't live w/out sleep, & her waking the babies all night. so frustrating. Could never give her away. I sympathize w/ you. Did you get another cat? did it help?



answers from Chicago on

You are right - it's not fair to keep him sedated. What kind of life is that for the cat? And to give him away really shouldn't be an option. You wouldn't give your child away just because he went through a spell where he became difficult.
Your cat is part of your family and possibly just doesn't feel that way anymore. Our dog is much more clingy since we've had our daughter who is now one year old. We try to give her as much attention as possible once our daughter goes to bed (the dog sleeps with us every night now) and we include her in play time with our daughter so the dog feels a part of our family circle.
If your cat isn't ill with anything I imagine it's just feeling lonely. Excluding the cat (which is essentially what sedating it is doing) or separating it from your family would only make the situation you have worse. I had two cats when I was single and when I had to travel for work, they meowed constantly for the first day I was home. My mom now has the 2 fuzzballs and they never meow anymore because she is home with them all the time.
Good luck with everything!



answers from Chicago on

We have the same issue with our male cat, and it started after our son was born (our son is now 4.5 years old). Our cat goes through months where he meows at night starting at 1AM and going until we wake up. It drives me nutty!!! I don't have any suggestions because nothing has worked for us either, but I wanted you to know you weren't alone.



answers from Chicago on

Hi Jen, I don't have any advice for you, but wanted you to know that you're not alone. My brother had a cat who cried constantly, even between eating bites of food. It was very bizarre.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

As soon as we put up baby gates in our house our cat Herkimer got pretty agitated (lots of meowing at night) and even pooped on one of the baby's toys. Ick! Even though he can jump the gates, we make sure that at night all the gates are open so he can get easily get around. We haven't had any more poop surprises and he doesn't meow as much. I don't know if this all started with any changes around your house like the gate thing but you might look to see if there were any physical changes around the time Quimby started his vocalizations. Hope you can figure out what Quimby is trying to say! Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Is he getting enough attention? I know it's so hard to give your kitties the love they're used to after having a child. My two cats haven't really forgiven me for having my son either, and they meow much more than they did. I suggest setting aside part of your day (after your son goes to bed maybe) and giving him some special attention. Let him know that there is a certain time of day when he can have some devoted 1 on 1 time and kitty love.

Also, you probably aren't up for this (and it sounds like your husband isn't either), but have you considered getting him a kitty friend? I always thought 2 cats together was a little nicer than just one - they keep each other company, play chase, etc.



answers from Chicago on

I feel your pain. We have a 1 year old son and even since he was born, our cat does the same thing. Every night he meows constantly from the time we go to bed till the time we wake up. We have been so fed up with it, i hate doing it but we lock him in the laundry room at night just so we can sleep. That's my only solution. He sleeps during the day. We try to give him attention but it doesn't work. So just thought you would like to know you are not alone.



answers from Seattle on

Hi there- my name is L. D.. I have been married almost 14 years. I have one dog, Vegas, and two cats, Koko and Klyde. Aka., Jekyl and Klyde. the cats are both almost thirteen years old. Koko is tiny and very quiet. She chirps when she meows, and pretty much sleeps and stays to herself. If Klyde is not sleeping, he is looking for food and screaming his head off. He likes to cry mostly when we are trying to sleep, or enjoy peace and quiet. Drugs have helped with us in the past, but I agree, it is not a solution and unfair to the animal. I am tired of people telling me to find a perfectly happy, healthy animal who is very old... to fix him with another owner, or get rid of him. Please keep in touch with me. This is a common problem, and there is help out there.

Take care. Good luck with Quimby!



answers from Chicago on


try talking to someone at Walsh Homeopathic in Evanston - they may have a homeopathic remedy that you can try.

Pres. Lactation Support Group, Inc



answers from Chicago on

This is so sad. Poor baby sounds like he is in need of attention, since it sounds like he got more of it before the baby came along.

Is he neutered? I am assuming he is. I know kids take up a lot of your time but have you considered adopting a friend for him from the shelter? It might be a great solution, and you'd be saving the life of a homeless kitty.

Good luck! I hope you find a solution that makes you and Quimby happy!



answers from Chicago on

Hi, my cat also does the same thing. He's about 9 and meows like crazy. He does that loud terribly annoying meow that drives you crazy. I've had him for 9 years and he has always meowed, but it got worse about 1&1/2 yrs. ago when we had to put our other cat to sleep (his buddy). We are thinking about getting another cat for him, but my husband has terrible cat allergies and would have to get used to another cat. If my husband had it his way, he would get rid of the cat, but that won't happen. I really think you should get a compainion for your cat. My old dog (passed away now) stopped barking as soon as my daughter was born, he never ever barked again. Animals adjudt differently to changes and it's hard for them to take in sometimes. In the meantime, we are also woken up by our cat, so you're not alone!



answers from Chicago on

I feel your pain. We have 2 cats, 10 years old, that have had chronic UTIs for the last year. They are ruining our house and it is getting to the point where we may have to have them put down. No one would want to adopt cats that refuse to use their boxes. We have tried all things, even giving them bottled water!

That said, do what is right for your family. I can't tell you how many people have given me the evil eye when they hear our problem and possible solution. I read one reader write, you wouldn't give away your child if they were having a problem, but then she gave her cats to her mom?!?!? Good luck! I know it is very hard! I have had cats my whole life and never had to make such a terrible decision, until now



answers from Chicago on

Just a thought, but have you tried introducing a new "toy" to his enviornment? Maybe a new nip toy, post or box. Also, I have a male that is an indoor cat. When a new cat is in the neighborhood, he will be more vocal than usual. I leave the backdoor open so he can sit right at the screen. That seems to help. Good luck.

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