Why Does My Cat Meow At Night?

Coming home from a long day at work, you decide to slide under the blankets and read a good book. As your eyelids get heavy with sleep, you start to drift off into dream land. But before you float away into the green and flowery land that is your dreams, you start to hear the annoying meow from your cat.

Immediately you know that this is yet another sleepless night courtesy of your cat. You love your cat but why does it have to wait until midnight to start singing, speaking or whatever it is? Why does my cat meow at night?

Well, there are several reasons as to why a cat meows, but what proves to be puzzling to most cat parents is why do they choose to do so at night?

Now, contrary to popular belief, cats are not lazy animals. Just because they sleep for the better part of the day does not mean that they are lazy. Instead, they save their energy for night-time as they are nocturnal. They instinctively sleep a day and play and hunt all night.

What is causing you lack of sleep, what you refer to as meowing is called night vocalization or night calling. Cats can make a wide range of noises; they can spit, hiss, yowl, purr and meow. If you are keen enough, you will notice that cats only meow at humans. Your cat knows that you do not speak its language and as such reserve the meowing to you. So the question is what is your furry feline trying to tell you?

Before we get to why cat’s meow at night, let us first understand why they meow during the day and in general.



Your cat may be meowing in order to communicate that it is hungry and that you need to feed it with some food (preferably some high protein cat food). Mind you, cats are picky animals. It might have some kibble on its bowl but it will continue fussing until you fill it up.


Yes, cats need water too. For the longest time, I thought my cat was okay with getting milk only. It was only after a health issue with my cat which warranted a visit to the vet that I made this realization. Speaking of milk, did you know that the some cats can be lactose intolerant and that they should not take milk or any milk product? (Just a fun fact).

Back to your cats thirst. Whether your cat’s bowl has run out of water or it has an object floating on it, your cat will make noises to make you aware of it. If you want to ensure your cat never gets thirsty, and that he/she is occupied most times when bored, you should consider investing in a cat water fountain. Some of the best include; Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain and Pioneer Pt Raindrop Pet Fountain.

Clean the Cat Litter Box

Cats are great at cleaning themselves with their tongues. So much so that regular and frequent cleaning is not necessary. With their level of cleanliness, it should not come as a shock to you when your cat needs her/his litter box spotless.

I Want To Go Outside I Want to Come Inside

When dogs want to go outside, they stand on their hind legs and scratch at the front door. This is a clear indication that it wants out. While cats may not do this, they communicate their need to be outside by standing at the door and meowing.


Cats that are left in the house alone for prolonged periods often meow at the owners for some play time or just simple petting. Though independent animals, cats also need the love and care from their adults as well.

Looking for a Mate

If your cat has not been neutered or spayed, it still has its reproductive organs intact and fully functional. With all the noise it is making, your cat may be in need of a mate. The type of meow made during this time is however slightly different from the rest. It also has a different name – yowling.

Male cats will yowl to find a female that is interested in them while female cats will yowl to signal male cats that it is on heat.

It is Feeling Unwell

Like human babies, cats cannot communicate when they are feeling unwell. They cannot tell you exactly where it hurts or generally how they are feeling. This leaves you the cat parent confused. Your best bet of diagnosing the problem is visiting a professional vet.

That said, when your cat is feeling unwell, it will give you some signals including being restless, being hungry and thirsty always and being irritable.

Why does my cat meow at night?

In addition to the above reasons, here is why your cat is meowing at night.

Senior Cats

Like old humans, old cats also have some special needs. They require more attention compared to younger cats. Additionally, elderly cats tend to meow during the night a lot as they seek help. Some of the common health problems including arthritis can cause discomfort and impair your cat’s daily activities. Getting itself to the litter, to the water fountain and food bowl may prove to be a huge and painful task for an elderly cat.


CDS stands for Cognitive dysfunction syndrome in full. It is the cat’s version of the human Alzheimer’s disease. As your cat grows older, it may start getting confused at night. It meows as it is distressed and is looking for a safe place to spend the night.

It is Stuck and Needs Some Help

Cats are flexible. They always land on their feet. I find this all too amazing. Nonetheless, from time to time, cats get stuck as well. Your cat may have gotten itself in some trouble. It probably is stuck in a locked room, in a clothes hamper or is stuck in a closet. Getting stuck causes panic to set in and your cat to make the meowing sounds.

Now that you know the answer to, ‘why does my cat meow at night?’ how can you possibly stop it and at least get some rest at night?

How to Stop Your Cat From Making Noises

If your cat keeps you awake all night and you have had enough of it, there are some methods you can apply to get it to stop meowing or meow less. The methods require patience and consistency but in the end are worth it.

The first step to finding the remedy is to determine why your cat is meowing at night. It may not be obvious at first and you probably might want to visit the vet just in case there is a serious underlying problem.

If your cat needs food, ensure that there is always food for it. You can get the best automatic cat feeder or alternatively, you can train your cat to feed at specific times of the day.

If your cat is thirsty, ensure that it has fresh water always. In line with this, ensure that the bowl is clean. If you cannot drink from the bowl, there are high chances that your cat will not either.

If your cat is making noises because of a dirty litter box, ensure that the cleaning is done frequently and often. The frequency of the cleaning depends on the number of cats you have and how many times your cat poops in a day. While cleaning the litter box, be sure to return it in the exact spot you got it failure to do so will result in your cat meowing all the more.

If it is a cry for attention try and play with it a while (30 minutes will do). Snuggling will also work wonders on your cat.

Bottom Line

With all that said, if your cat’s meowing proves to be behaviour, you should not encourage it by rewarding it with your attention. Do all you can to ignore the noises. With time your cat will get the drift and will stop. However, you should only ignore after a vet has told you nothing is wrong with your cat.

Also note that some breeds are more talkative than others. The Siamese cat breed for instance loves to meow just to hear its voice. As such, if you do not like the noise, you should not get the ‘noisy’ breeds.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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