Understanding Excessive Meowing in Cats

Yowling, Howling, Chirping & Trilling - Oh My!

Is your cat keeping you up all night? Excessive meowing in cats is cute at first, but can become frustrating. Day or night, these kittens and cats meow too much!

excessive meowing in catsExcessive Meowing in Cats
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Here are our reader questions and answers related to excessive vocalization in cats.

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Attention-Seeking Meows

by: Cynthia in Texas

How can I stop my Maine from waking me up at 3am every morning?

I have a 4 year old male Maine. He has a terrible habit of waking me up at 3 in the morning.

I have tried everything to get him to stop my cat's excessive meowing.

Example- spray bottle of water by bed... he leaves for a few minutes after I spray water at him then he comes back for more.

I am soooo sleep deprived...please help.


Hi Cynthia,
I can hear the desperation in your voice! This is the kind of problem that sounds cute, but it's not! It is awful to be sleep-deprived.

There is actually another visitor question that is very similar. You can read it below: Nighttime Howling.

Domestic cats are sometimes referred to as being nocturnal, but actually they are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.

That's when their prey is active, so that's when they are. 3am is a bit early, but in line with this.

Since they sleep 16 hours per day, if their owners are away all day & they nap much of that time, they will have some energy to let loose at odd hours.

One tip is if your boy is expecting breakfast to be served in the mornings, you may want to change that.

He could be trying to get you up and feed him because he's ready to start his day.

Some dry kibble left out overnight or placed in an automatic feeder may ease his hunger in the wee hours of the morning.

There is only one more thing I can think of for you to try. Close your bedroom door or put him in his own place for the night.

Our Coonies sleep in the basement. It's a relatively new house, and the basement is large and clean with furniture and full size windows, so it's a comfortable place for them. Even if they howl they are far enough away that we still sleep.

Sleep is critical! Excessive meowing in cats is a common habit that many kitties can develop, but hopefully you can get your boy to leave you alone till morning!



Meowing Cat
by: Theresa

Peyton is only 10 months old and has always been indoors. She ventured outside and now wants to be out 90% of the time, except when we go to bed at night.

She stays very close to our house or under the deck during the day. She wakes up at 3:29 am every morning and cries to go out.

If we don't let her out, she will urinate on the bed.

We purchased a cat door, but have to close it at night because we have had a raccoon come in two times now at night (and a neighbor's kitty).

We are driving ourselves crazy and do not know what to do.

We are planning to purchase an electronic cat door and hope that works, but we are afraid to go away overnight and leave her in the house. Seriously, I need some advice!

Excessive Meowing in Cats

by: Brandie in North Pole, AK

I don't know anything about pet cats, growing up with dogs and I recently inherited a Maine Coon adult male from a friend of mine.

For the past year, my friend has been home all day, every day because she has a kid and I'm gone all day at work.

I understand that Maine Coons are very vocal, much like an Alaskan Malamute.

But my Maine Coon meows at me from the moment I get home and doesn't stop for a full 15 to 20 minutes after I am home - and every time I walk by him he whines.

He is the only animal I currently own. Is this normal for a Maine Coon? Is he just whining for affection?

Or is the amount of meowing due to a possible medical problem? Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

Thank you for any help.


Hi Brandie,
He sounds like a normal, vocal Maine Coon! This is your cat's way of talking to you!

It's nearly impossible to describe the way a Maine Coon "talks" to his people. It has to be experienced.

And, if you haven't had a cat before, I can see how this would surprise you.

Now, your just-for-fun job is to interpret his cat language! When you first get home, those are his greetings.

He's saying "I missed you, I was lonely, now I want some extra attention."

When you pass him throughout the evening, and he squeaks at you, it's a friendly greeting that means "Hi! I see you, do you see me? Greetings."

He'll also have distinctive more "hollow" sounding meows when he's hungry or thirsty. He'll let you know when he needs something.

Enjoy your feline friend, buddy, pal, ...I mean Maine Coon!

Why is My Maine Coon Meowing?

We have a 17 yr old Maine Coon that loves to be left alone. About a year ago we adopted two very friendly Himalayans that have taken well to their new home.

Since that time our Maine Coon will periodically meow with deep bellows almost as if in pain.

These are different tones - not his normal cheerful meows he gives you when you talk to him.

Outside of his old age and some vision problems, Maine is in very good health so I am uncertain of the source of the bellowing calls that happen at all hours of the night and day.

I am starting to wonder if this is male dominance behavior.

Then again I have never had a 17 year old cat either, so I am not sure what to expect in his "retirement" years.

Any ideas?


Since it started around the time you adopted your two younger cats, and since he likes to be left alone, it makes sense that the howling is connected to recent changes.

He doesn't know he's seventeen, but he knows what he likes and he's very set in his ways by now.

Since he's been vet checked and there are no health problems, it must be behavioral.

I'm not sure if it's Alpha male cat's behavior, or if he's asking to be left alone. Cats do have a hierarchy within a household, so that could still be established.

Or, maybe he feels his "space" is invaded, if the other two come around him a lot.

It reminds me of hearing cat fights outside my bedroom window as a child. The warning sound they made was like you described, a bellow.

So perhaps it's a warning for the other two to stay away. Maybe he's being territorial, claiming his space.

Howling and yowling aren't uncommon in senior cats. It may be related to cognitive dysfunction or dementia.

Both of my Coonies did this in their old age. It seemed like attention seeking behavior or mental confusion.

Our vet assured us that these yowling sessions commonly happen in elderly cats, sometimes for no apparent reason.


Because ...
by: Anonymous

He is meowing because he is frustrated.

Bellowing 17 year old kitty
by: Anonymous

My 17-year-old does the same. My belief is that he is disoriented and feels that he has been left alone.

Once I call out to him he stops bellowing and comes to the room I'm in as if it has given him comfort that he knows where he is and is not alone.

Nighttime Meowing and Howling

by: Lynn in Michigan

I have an elderly Maine Coon and every now and then for about a week at a time she will meow/howl very loudly in the middle of the night.

Loud enough to wake us up and keep us up all night! She has food, fresh water, and we keep her litter box clean but she still won't stop.

We've tried laying her on the bed with us, but she seems antsy and wants down to meander around and howl from the floor.

Has anyone ever had a feline that acted like this and what did you do to stop it? Our vet didn't seem too concerned, but then again he's not the one losing sleep!!

Although it was funny to hear those howling noises coming from her at first, now I just want to sleep!!

During the day she acts fine, it's just at night she becomes a Maine Coo-yote!!!


Hi Lynn, That's a toughie! So, it bothered you enough to talk to the vet, but he's not concerned. If there are no medical issues, it must be behavioral.

If it happens for a week at a time every so often, could there be a trigger? A change in routine, a full moon, a change in something? Is the water dish fresh? Sometimes it can look fresh, but be stale.

Does she want attention? Have you tried giving her her own "space" behind closed doors for the night?

Interestingly, older cats are prone to excessive meowing and yowling. Ours did this as well. We closed the bedroom door and used fans and white noise.

Hope you get some sleep tonight...


Restless Cat's Meowing
by: Shirley

Hi. We have a part Maine Coon, who is spayed. But sometimes she will have a "restless" period of about 2 days, when she acts as though she is in a heat cycle.

Our vet said that some female cats, even though they had surgery will do this. She will cry, etc.

We do everything we can, but she just seems to have to do this. It can be very distracting for sure. Good luck to you.

Nighttime Meowing and Howling
by: Carolyn (England)

Hi Lynn - how interesting to hear about your Maine Coon and her howling. We have a 17 year old male Maine Coon that does the same thing.

He has been doing this for about a year now. He emits a yowling sound both during the day and at night.

He is a happy and healthy boy. He has access all the time to water, food, can play outside in the day and has a litter tray for the night.

He loves water and will often sit next to the water taps in the kitchen and the bath and this definitely starts his yowling off.

I suspect it's something to do with his age. My vet was also not that worried about it.

In response to Carolyn...
by: Lynn

Your comments were very interesting to me as we've come to notice our little girl has developed an obsession with water over the past year or so!

She will go into our shower if we don't shut the door and just stand there.

If we run the kitchen faucet she will get up on her hind legs and stretch as far as she can, like she's trying to reach the water.

In the winter when I run the humidifier she will stare at the water inside or lay right up against the machine!

We change her water often (3-4x per day) and since we have no kids she gets all the attention in the world from us.

The other thing we've noticed is she seems to like to howl in the master bathroom or kitchen the most ~ better acoustics I guess!

She only howls at night and she only does it for about a week at a time. Currently she sleeps through the night.

Thank God since this means we can do the same! I guess she's just an old lady (she's 18) who is turning a touch senile. I'll be there soon enough too!

Same problem

Hi Lynn-
I'm searching the net because I have the same problem. My boy is almost 16 years old, mostly Coon, and howls often during the night.

I also can't get him to stop walking all over me at the same time. He wants to eat every 2 hours at night and it has to be fresh.

I am at my wit's end! I've tried waiting the howling out, but he does not stop until I get up.

He started howling at 3 when his brother died suddenly. It did not become a real problem until 1 1/2 years ago. Now I know it's because of the Coon gene. I'm a "Lynn", too.

Night time yowling
by: Judy - UK

Perhaps distracting your elderly cat may work.

If you have a basement you could install her there overnight with her favorite toys, battery driven toys, with food, a water bowl and a litter tray and an item of clothing belonging to her favorite human.

She MAY decide after 20-30 minutes to give up and amuse herself.

You could do the same wherever her bed is - but don't give in. If you appear, she's won again.

We found this formula worked with all our previous kitties. Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Old cats
by: Helen

The common thread in all these posts is old age. As cats age they start losing their hearing and eyesight, like humans do.

They also suffer from cognitive issues, old age dementia, a kind of feline Alzheimer's disease.

Diminished hearing and vision loss lead to isolation. Turn the lights off at night and it is even more profound.

Before my old MCC died he started meowing more. Blood tests showed that his kidneys were beginning to fail.

My vet changed his diet so his kidneys were not taxed so much and he improved and lived another year.

It is not uncommon with kidney disease that the brain is affected by excess toxins that aren't removed.

Another thing to consider is pain. Ask any aged person and they will tell you they hurt a little all the time. I imagine it is the same for our animals. They can get arthritis too.

My baby does it too!
by: Kim

My Coon (Ashley) is a little over 12 years old and started this nighttime howling about 2 years ago.

She doesn't seem to do it until all the lights are off and the other kitty and I are in bed - and she is in the living room. She does it almost every single night.

It's almost as if she thinks she is alone and forgets where everyone is. It's funny because all I have to do is yell her name and she stops.

I yell out her name not in discipline, but as if to say, "Here I am, I hear you".

Generally she will meow back at me, but doesn't howl any more and usually makes her way into the bedroom as if she realizes, "Oh, there you are, Mommy." I think it's the cutest thing.

Maine Coon Up All Night

by: Shane Mac in Vista

Likes To Wake Me Up At Night:

My male Maine Coon likes to wake me up at night. He meows a lot and when I try to pick him up he likes to yodel and run away.

We moved to a new apartment about two months ago and he likes to walk up to the mirror closet doors and jump at them and run away.

It's irritating because we have to put laundry baskets in front of the door so we can sleep.

He only does it at night and we had mirrored closet doors in our old apartment but he didn't have this behavior before.

My girlfriend and I both play with him a lot at night when we get home from work so he gets attention.


Hi Shane,
I know it's not funny and you're tired, but: Can you get that on video for us? Just kidding!

Maine Coons are odd creatures at night. They do all sorts of devilish things at a time when we need quiet!

Your particular problem seems directly related to the environmental changes.

Since he doesn't do it during the day, and didn't do it before, I think it's safe to say he sees something in the reflection, at night.

It could be a shadow, beam of light, the shape of something, or even his own reflection. Things look different in the dark.

You have a quick fix, though! Take a sheet or light blanket and drape it over the doors. Use tape or clips at the top and make sure it's secure.

Rolls of paper or drop cloths from the hardware store would work too.

Now, if he continues to wake you up at night even when his reflection is removed, it could be due to the move. Stress manifests itself in strange ways with pets!

All The Best,

My Cat Meows Too Much

by: Sheila in New York, New York

I adopted a 3 year old Maine Coon. He is healthy (last medical check-up in February), eats well (only his own food and kitty treats - not interested in table scraps).

He is curious and runs out my door into the hallway whatever chance he gets). He is also very affectionate.

My problem is that he goes around meowing and it's driving me up a wall.

He doesn't seem interested in playing. I gave him some kitty toys in case he was bored but he doesn't seem interested.

If there is a moth flying around, he will chase it though. However, he won't chase strings or other toys.

I am at a loss for what to do.


Hi Sheila,
I love your question! It sounds like you have a perfectly normal male Maine Coon Cat!

They have different types of meows and are vocal, sometimes to the point of persistent. I would venture to guess that your boy is talking to you. A lot.

It's easy to fall into the trap of asking yourself "but what does he want?" and then offering all types of toys, food, fresh water, cleaning the litter box, all in attempt to give him what he's asking for. But it will make you loony :)

If you can let go of trying to figure it out, the meowing will no longer drive you up the wall.

My Leo often saunters up the hall, loudly meowing as if he wants something. It a deep, almost hollow sound. And it's common among these very vocal and very social cats.

Your boy may be saying "hello, I am here!", I would like a tummy rub now!", or even "I am glad to be in your company." 

Not to mention "I am going to enter this room now" or "I am tired, I think I may lie down" or "boy, that is a nice breeze coming in from the window. I am glad to sit on the sill. This is good." 

How about "Greetings. I like you. Touch me please!"

You can talk back to him, pet him, and look him in the eyes. If he's happy and healthy, he's merely connecting with you.

Of course, he may want to play. There's nothing wrong with enticing him with a toy or two.

But if he doesn't go for it, don't worry about figuring out what he wants. He'll let you know!

I hope this helps! And, send us some pictures, too!

All The Best,

Kitten Meowing Too Much

by: Rosie Pilkington in London, England

Hi, I recently got a 10 week old boy coon kitten.

He is lovely and getting lots of attention from the whole family. However, he also won't let us do anything as if he's not being held, he meows nervously and tries to climb our legs. Once he's held, he stops.

The problem is that I stay home while husband works and children go to school and I have no time to do anything else!

Any advice?

Many thanks!!


Hi Rosie,
Congratulations on your new kitten!

It sounds like he needs a little time to adjust. He's never experienced a feeling of being "alone" physically, as he always had siblings to play or snuggle with.

I know having a new kitten is like having a baby all over again. All I can say is try to hold him when he needs, and perhaps put off some things until the rest of the family is home.

If you have set up a safe room or special place for him, you can put him there for a while in order to get some things done. Hopefully he'll settle in for a nap.

Send us a picture when you get a chance! We love to meet new kitties!

All The Best,


Kitten meowing too much
by: Judy UK

Hi Rosie
Have you thought of buying a soft toy, the size of his mother cat? We brought Buddy home at 9 weeks. Because of his very young age, I bought 2 soft toys.

He may have snuggled up to them during the night, we were't there. BUT during the day he'd repeatedly pounce, roll on them and have a fine old time biting them :D

His mum would have given him a warning when she wanted time out. Can you leave him with toys while you get on in the house?

Or bring a favourite toy with you, to distract him while you get on. Hope this helps. Good luck

Is It Pain, Loneliness, Or Just A Maine Coon Thing?

I have an adult Maine Coon who was recently rescued from an unpleasant situation. He is an all-around sweetheart, but I'm a little concerned.

He sometimes goes into a room apart from me and my other cats and begins 'trilling' quite loudly.

I don't know if he's lonely for the cats he used to live with (my other cats haven't welcomed him very nicely) or if it's a Maine Coon thing.

He is receiving medical care, and may be in pain, too. This is only his second day with me, so he's new to me and I'm new to him.

Any thoughts?


Congratulations on your new boy! It's nice to hear that he's lovable. That's a great sign!

Maine Coons will definitely do that. My boy, Leo, does it directly to us. We often joke that "he's yelling at us!" He usually does it for attention, though.

It's early days for your boy. Possible reasons for the excessive vocalization are that he's confused, looking for someone or something, or as you mentioned he could be in pain due to health issues or a medical condition. It's so hard to say, yet.

I do think he will settle in. It would be nice if your other pets can accept him, though.

All in all, I think his trilling is something he will always do. It is that distinctive Maine Coon call.

And as you get to know each other you will know right away what "he's saying." You're right, it makes one wonder "What does he want?"

The fact that he's going off in another room to do it is probably directly related to the move. As he realizes your home is a safe one I'm sure he will relax quite a bit.

Congrats again, I hope he brings you years of joy! Send us a picture sometime for the photo album!

All The Best,


My experience with a loud little guy:

Well myself I also have a Maine Coon that I got from my cousin as he already had 3 other ones, I have a rabbit and then I got my boy Aries.

I find when he meows loud yeah it is because it is their way of talking.

And I find he meows more at night when everyone is sleeping. If you don't already have another pet try getting your little one a friend.

It could help with the transition as these kinds of guys are usually one-family pets I find but I hope all works out xo

love Jenn and Aries

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