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Crying at night and morning

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I posted yesterday about some bizzare behavior with our 8 m/o kitten. When we first got him, he was a stray and was very crazy. The vet recommended we get another one so we did. Here is a picture:


A few months later he is driving us nuts at night, and in the morning. As soon as we go to bed he starts to wine, meow, and some kind of growl VERY loud. He will sometimes continue this until 2am. In the morning, same thing. He will cry from 6-8 am.

We have tried feeding more at night, playing before bed, etc. If anything we figured it would get better but has got much worse.

Any advice? This is affecting our lives by keeping us up late.
post #2 of 20
What a handsome young polydactyl! I love his coloring and his huge paws with "more toes". Where does he sleep at night? His growling sounds to me like he is seeing, hearing or otherwise perceiving someone outside who is threatening to him. Another cat? A dog? Someone else? I would make sure he has a warm bed with sides lined with soft bedding, whether storebought or homemade, doesn't matter, just so he can feel comfortable, safe, and secure. You might try moving his sleeping area to another part of the house. Another good idea would be to spray his bedding every evening with Feliway. This is a technique I used when airlifting some of my cats; I sprayed the bedding in their carriers, and they made the hour-long car journey and the flight calmly and safely. Personally, sometimes some of my cats yowl during the night, but it doesn't last, and I go back to sleep with no harm done. Patience and kindness will pay off -- he will settle down when he feels safe! Good luck, and hopefully some of the experts here at TCS will have other good ideas.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice. I don't know what is bothering him, the vet says he is healthy. Yes, he is polydactyl on all four!

Could he sense animals from the next apt.?

He sleeps in a cat bed that is on our bed. He always comes to sleep with us but the other one does not. Our other cat is 100% perfect with behavior.

All I know is I hope he stops with time.
post #4 of 20
Does he respond when you talk to him during these episodes? Have you tried following him around to see if he shows you something during this time?

I've known cats who are distressed because their people, after playing and walking around and opening cans, are now suddenly lying motionless. Are you sick? In trouble? Out of body?

In the midst of your day, at a time you don't normally lie down, just lie down motionless on the floor, and see if he acts distressed.

See if darkness itself is the problem. Go with him into the bathroom at night, with the light on, and with the two of you there with the door closed, shut the light and see how he reacts to darkness.

You need to get him to do it from some other stimulus other than going to bed, which has so many variables. Those are the ones I've thought of, maybe you can think of others?
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well this has got much much worse within the last 2 months. One theory I had was to do with the new cat who we have had about three months. At night, the other cat sometimes hides or just does not want to be bothered. Do you think he wants to play and that is what makes him cry?

Whatever it is, he is relentless. I am going to start messing with the lights and see if the darkness is it. He goes into the bathroom and crys very loud while looking up at the seiling. Other times, he meows and crys wherever.

The only thing I know for sure is as soon as we wake up, he stops.

He has a cat bed on our bed that he curls up in. He used to come to bed as soon as we did but not anymore...He is extremely attached to my boyfriend because they live with him. If he goes into the bathroom and shuts the door he will start screaming until he lets him in. I really just think he does not like when we go to sleep.

Also, out of body? I hope not...
post #6 of 20
From what you describe, it does seem loneliness is what is prompting this behavior. When everyone is out of his reach, one way or another, he doesn't feel connected any more.

It's a bit extreme, since you are actually there, but you mentioned he had a troubled past. And the other cat is not the type to offer comfort, apparently.

What we need is a bridge that will remind him. Your boyfriend should try wearing a tshirt for a day and then line the cat's bed with it, so the scent is there when he goes to sleep. Are you around when he's sleeping other times? Try insinuating the shirt into his sleeping places, so he makes the connection, and then move it to his sleeping spot at night.

This is assuming he doesn't sleep with you on the bed, though from the sound of it he doesn't sleep at all. What happens when either of you take him to bed at night and try some calming petting?

Do you have a tape recorder that your boyfriend can talk into? He doesn't need to say anything in particular, except the cat's name every so often. Turn it down low and play it for the cat in his bed as you are getting ready for bed, so he associates the tape recorder with your boyfriend's voice. When you turn it off, the connection will still be there, and he can sleep with it.

Is there anything of your boyfriend's you can pile into his bed? Socks, a favorite toy, anything that will let him get that feeling of connection.

During the day the cat can handle the feelings of separation anxiety because there are other things going on and the other cat to play with. (Do the two get along? How's that relationship?) At night, all his security blankets have been taken away, so to speak. There's nothing but him and his anxieties.

All of us have self-soothing behaviors we use to cope with anxiety, and so do cats. The poor little dude seems to have come up short in that department, so it seems you'll need to come up with some way of connecting what he likes to do during the day with what he has access to at night.

Have you tried catnip? Cat's reactions vary, but many cats react as though it has a tranquilizing effect after some minutes. Some bedtime play with nip on the toys before bed, if it doesn't have a bad effect on him.

There's also Rescue Remedy, which is a flower essence sold in health food stores. I don't pretend to know how it works, but it's been considered an essential in a lot of rescue operations. You can put it in his water and sprinkle some on his bed.

Also, a Feliway diffuser has had great effects for some people in lowering stress levels in the home.

I hope any of these suggestions help.
post #7 of 20
He does sleep on the bed with you, and Feliway was already suggested... does he crank down easily, or is always on the go?

It's possible he experienced so much stress he just doesn't know how to crank down. Is he capable of relaxing? Even kittens should mellow out at some point during the day.

If he's just not able to relax, you might talk to the vet about a mild tranquilizer... they now have such things for cats! It shouldn't be considered a long term thing, just something that will let him know what relaxation is like.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
He does sleep on the bed right next to my boyfriend once he calms down. during the day he plays with the other cat but when we try to hold him, he just can NOT relax and spazzes unless he is sleepy.

As far as the relatioship between the two, our other is a perfect model cat. Sometimes they lie with each other and lick each other clean but then Max will start to bite her and that is when she has enough. He will chase her around jumping on her back. This is just many of his "spazz" outs that we have trouble handling.

It is very hard to get him to settle down but once he does, he crawls up on his cat bed. He sleeps a great deal during the day and I know this is their instinct so I don't know how I can reverse the sleep schedule. Our other cat is silent all night.

I REALLY appreciate all your help and advice. The vet dismisses this to a kitten being a kitten but my gut tells me it is much more. We love him to death because he is one of those cats that form a bond with humans so we never want to lose him but at the same time can not continue like this.
post #9 of 20
Would it be worth trying leaving the TV on all night in another room? Maybe the chatter will comfort him.

The jumping on the other cat's back sounds like what my guys do when they're playing.

In terms of waking you up, does he associate that with getting fed?
post #10 of 20
This may seem a silly question, but ... is he neutered?
post #11 of 20
The vet dismisses this to a kitten being a kitten but my gut tells me it is much more.
I'd go with your gut on this. The vet might think differently if they were the one being kept up all night!

We had a problem with our shelter kitten. He was frantic about food, which we understood because his eyes were still sunken when we got him, and he was short on fur, that's how bad he'd gone without food. If he was the slightest bit hungry, he would race around frantically. We wound up giving him food six times a day, and now, two months later, he's better with the racing around.

Your kitten's trigger seems to be separation anxiety. That's what leads to all the spazzing out; he doesn't know how to control his emotions, and when he feels abandoned, he can't help himself.

Since you've been trying to get a handle on this for months now, I would talk to the vet about a mild tranquilizer. This link:


illustrates that you are already doing a lot of what the article suggests, so I'd scroll to the bottom and show the vet the medications it recommends.

He needs to learn how to handle anxiety. Unfortunately, it seems he needs a little help. It's a vicious circle; the more anxious he feels, the more overwhelming his worry becomes, and then he can't calm down. When the emotional load is too great, he spazzes.

It's natural for cats to sleep during the day, but it seems he can sleep during the day because everything is active and he feels connected. This is taken away during the night.

Some tranquilizing at night will let him experience real relaxation, and this is how he can learn that for himself. Then you can wean him off of it, and he will be the love bug you know he wants to be.
post #12 of 20
I'd be very careful about medicating. We had to medicate our cat for anxiety issues, and a lot of the drugs have odd side effects. It really depends on the cat. Our vet tried a couple different treatments before we found a good one.

Have you talked with an animal behaviorist? I know, it seems weird. Our vet suggested it for us before we determined that it's something neurological in our cat. He recommended a woman in town who "understands" and talks with cats. I got the impression that she weirded him out a little, but he'd also seen her get results enough times to suggest that people have her come over when conventional therapy doesn't work. She's expensive ($200), but that price doesn't seem so bad when you've not slept in 3 days.

Another thought our vet had: mice in the walls. He'd seen this several times. How longs it been since your last pest inspection?

Otherwise, I'd say you have a really attached kitten who wants attention. If this is the case, he will eventually learn to sleep with you and not cry. However, it will be a while, and it will be very trying on you.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
The kitten no longer associates waking up to food because we stopped feeding in the morning. We feed at night now with dry food all day.

Our other cat is soooo perfect and quiet

Mice in the walls? Well, there was one time a year ago I did get one in my apt. Since we have cats, I am not sure I would ever see one again. In the wall? Please don't freak me out! Possibly, but my building is pretty clean.

If there was, what would I do about that? I would like meds to be a last resort but if it comes to that so be it.

I want to keep on trying new things and talking on here first before I go that route.
post #14 of 20
I'd like to echo Gaye's question please - is he neutered, and if so, when was he neutered and at what age.

Also, how do you usually respond to the nocturnal wailing?
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
sorry, thought I did. He was neutured at 6 months, and has all shots. The other cat does as well.
post #16 of 20
When I first got my kitten he was very young, maybe 6 weeks. He's a kitten so of course he wants to play at night and run and yeow and pounce. But I needed to train him to sleep at night. So I got a kitty carrier and put him in that every night for a week or so in the livingroom where I couldn't hear him. He learned to sleep at night and play more during the day. It didn't affect how he reacted to the carrier either. He'd associated it with going for a ride to gramma's house already so it was no problem. Even when I'd have to get up at night and put him in his "housie" because he had toomuchENerGYYYY for a night, he still liked the carrier until he got way older and we had to stop visiting gramma's because she got dogs.

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
That sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately we live in a smaller apt. so there is nowhere we could not here him.

Plus, I would feel terrible listening to him cry

I am findind that the calmer I am dealing with his issues, the calmer he is. Maybe it is true they get much of their emotions from us.
post #18 of 20
I live in a small apartment too. It was not fun hearing him cry, but funny thing is after just a few minutes he stopped. I forgot to tell you that I put a small blanket over most of the "housie" too. I was going on the notion that when cats are afraid they find the smallest, darkest place and hide. He felt safe in there and fell asleep.

Good luck.

post #19 of 20
I am findind that the calmer I am dealing with his issues, the calmer he is. Maybe it is true they get much of their emotions from us.
This is true. Cats are exquisitely sensitive.
post #20 of 20
My cat does the same thing! He is 16 and he's been waking me up during the night and early in the morning. I thought it was because of his renal condition but then I remembered that he had done it years ago and stopped for a long time and has now started up again. I don't know why. He sleeps with me at night so I didn't think it was because of separation. He howls and meows like your cat and strangely enough, at the same times. I usually wake up and give him some food but that rarely takes care of it. Maybe for a while but he starts up again hours later. I will bring it up next I go to the vet.
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