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Old cat yowls/yells, mostly at night... Can you help us?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, this is my first post. I'm glad I found this site.

 

Our cat is 18 years old and sometimes "zones out" (kitty Alzheimer's). She yowls very loudly, 8-12 times in a row, sometimes as much as every hour! This goes on every night. We have done almost every test in the book. It is not a thyroid problem, a hearing problem, a vision problem, a tumor, a bowel problem, a dental problem, or hypertension. She is not cold. She has a specific place in the hallway where she stands and yowls, although she does it in other places as well. She seems to be “zoned out” when she does it, because she is startled when I walk over and pick her up. The constant waking-up is driving my husband crazy. She has arthritis (at her age, who doesn’t?), but is still quite mobile and jumps on furniture. She won’t yowl if she’s in bed with us. She won’t yowl if I’m in the same room with her, so I try to keep her with me when I’m reading, working, watching TV, etc. But she is mobile and goes where she wants; usually doesn’t want to stay in bed when I’m sleeping or in my study when I’m working.

 

She is affectionate, enjoys her food, drinks lots of water (old kidneys), pees a lot and poops normally (both in frequency and in quantity). She grooms herself, jumps up on beds and chairs despite the arthritis, and uses a kitty flip-flop door to go to the fenced yard and back inside. She seems in good shape for an old cat, active and in good spirits, but has been yowling for six months now, and it’s really hard on us at night.  She is spayed and has three sisters, with whom she gets along well (they can tell she’s old and treat her respectfully).

 

We leave lights on so she’s not in the dark. Because of the architectural layout of the house, it would not be possible to close her in a separate area/room for the night. I am desperate for suggestions. Please help! Thank you so much!

post #2 of 20

Seems to be common among older cats. Our RB kitty Sami, did this too near the end. She was healthy then, but we just figured it to be her being senile. She would stop once she realized she wasn't alone. Almost like she "forgot" where she was and just needed some reassurance.

post #3 of 20

I have a yowler too, but Patricia does not have a consistent time or place to meow. What happens here is I hear her yell a few times and have no idea where the meows are coming from. After I say something like, "What are you talking about?" or see her, she stops. This started after I moved from Ohio to Florida in December, so I always assumed it was related to the move, not her old age (16).

post #4 of 20

I am pretty sure she does that because she's gotten "lost"--lost track of where she is, or where you are, or where she is in her surroundings. Naturally it confuses her. You ever hear about how some older people have problems with what they call "wandering"? Like when a guy with Alzheimer's is trying to get to the ice-cream shop that got torn down five years ago, and then forgets where he was going halfway there, gets confused, and his family has to pick him up? That kind of thing. I bet it happens to cats too.

 

I don't know what to do for cats who have trouble with memory and attention when they get older; but when people get older and have those problems, they are often helped when they are in a simple, familiar environment. I think maybe your cat would find it easier to navigate a smaller space at night; might not get lost so easily if she had just one room to worry about. Is there enough room in your bedroom for a secondary litter box and feeding station, and perhaps a perch where she could look out at the room and see you sleeping in the bed? Then you could shut the door and have her spend the night there with you. Perhaps that way she could always have her people and her food within paw's reach. But if you are going to try it, try it on a weekend. If it doesn't help her, then you'll probably be losing some sleep.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thank you. We tried it last night. She yowled all night. My husband is beside himself. He wants to euthanize her. What do I do? I am typing this this morning as I'm following her around, since she just keeps yowling. I thought she'd go to sleep already, and she's still walking around and complaining super-loudly.

post #6 of 20

To me it sounds like she doesn't like being on her own?

post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marf View Post

Thank you. We tried it last night. She yowled all night. My husband is beside himself. He wants to euthanize her. What do I do? I am typing this this morning as I'm following her around, since she just keeps yowling. I thought she'd go to sleep already, and she's still walking around and complaining super-loudly.

Maybe she just wishes you and hubby did not go to bed! Cats are nocturnal animals, you know.

 

I can't believe your hubby would really want to have her killed. She is not suffering any more than my cat is.

post #8 of 20

I, too, cannot believe that any caring person would be so inconvenienced that he would even dream of depriving a beloved family member of her life simply because she meows!  My eldest, who is 18, does this, and sometimes it's a little exasperating, but never something I can't handle.  My LOVE for him and his for me, and the life we share together, as we have since he found us as a half-grown kitten, is the priority.  I've never been concerned over changing his meowing -- it is a part of who he is.  Usually I respond to him, letting him know I'm here, and often I go to wherever he is and stroke and talk to him.  A couple of my girls meow a lot, too, when they've got a sparkle ball in their mouths and want to announce the fact that they've made a "kill" so I will praise them.  I'm happy to hear this! never angry!

post #9 of 20

It does sound like dementia - not unusual for senior cats. My 16 year old does the same thing.

There is medication you can try. I would check with the vet about that - and if your vet doesn't know, do some research.

And you can always try ear plugs. That's what a friend did for the same problem and he was pretty sleep deprived. The ear plugs did the trick for him and his cat just died at 17 years old.

I could never have my cats killed for being old and yowling. It does sound like she still enjoys a good quality of life.

Good luck!
 

post #10 of 20

I would never think for a second about medicating Patricia. She just needs to hear me talk and then she stops.

 

Is it possible being the only cat has something to do with it? Her whole life until December 1, she had at least one furry friend to play with. All 15 years, she was not more vocal than average.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marf View Post

Thank you. We tried it last night. She yowled all night. My husband is beside himself. He wants to euthanize her. What do I do? I am typing this this morning as I'm following her around, since she just keeps yowling. I thought she'd go to sleep already, and she's still walking around and complaining super-loudly.

 

Aw, this has to be so hard. Please tell hubby to have patience--we're trying to help. hugs.gif

 

Are you treating her arthritis? The pain might be causing her to yowl because she hurts.

 

I wonder if the supplement L-Theanine would help her feel less stressed, scared, etc., as it has a calming affect? I am only thinking out loud here...my oldest boy, Abby, soon-to-be 16, has recently been started on a maintenance dose (25mg 2x day added to meals) of L-Theanine because as he has aged, he seems a bit less secure in his surroundings; he gets startled easily more so than when he was younger, was being extremely clingy (so not like him), and other things I noticed. I haven't had problems with him yowling, but he has always been a very vocal bubby from when he was a wee kitten to now. Brands I would recommend are: Country Life Suntheanine or NOW Suntheanine. Maybe talk this over with your vet?

 

ETA: Quote:
We leave lights on so she’s not in the dark. Because of the architectural layout of the house, it would not be possible to close her in a separate area/room for the night. I am desperate for suggestions.

 

Have you thought of trying a large dog cage with all the comforts she needs for the night in it? Dog cage I'm talking about looks like this: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753745 Maybe with a radio turned down low with gentle, soothing music playing next to it? Or record your voice talking soothingly and/or singing and have it play over and over (loop) for her?

 

Sending vibes.gif and prayers that a solution can be found to help your sweet girl. FWIW, PTS is never an option in my book!


Edited by WhollyCat - 6/18/12 at 2:51pm
post #12 of 20

I wonder if a mild antidepressant might help?

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

I will try! Thank you all so much!

 

I would never, never have her put down unless she was terminally ill and in great pain, which is not the case here. I love her so much.

 

Hubby has been put in a good mood tonight, and agreed to wear ear plugs.

 

I'll look at arthritis medication. She is pretty stiff lately.

 

The vet once prescribed selegilin for the dementia. I stopped it cold when she got a seizure from it. Never again!

 

I just want her to be happy, my baby.

 

The other cats know that she is old, and treat her respectfully.

post #14 of 20

I hope you do figure something out. Poor girl. Is she unusually clingy? I met an old gentleman of a cat who used to follow around his human's heels all day pretty much. Just didn't like to be alone. Total velcro kitty.

 

There's got to be a way to reassure her at night so she knows what's what and doesn't need to be constantly yelling at you.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarasgirl06 View Post

  A couple of my girls meow a lot, too, when they've got a sparkle ball in their mouths and want to announce the fact that they've made a "kill" so I will praise them.  I'm happy to hear this! never angry!

Jack does that several times a day with his catnip sacks. I put them upstairs in their toy box every night, but they'll be downstairs again during the day, and it usually starts when l get home  heartpump.gif

post #16 of 20

I wonder if there is a different medication for the dementia? I think they know much more about it now than they used to. It would be worth investigating. I'm glad that you're going to try some things.

My old girl had me awake every couple of hours from 2:00 am on this morning. She just seemed to need some reassurance that I was here. I know there will come a day when I would love to have her calling me . . . so I try to just go back to sleep and not let it bother me (and I know it's hard when you're tired, too).
 

post #17 of 20

Why medicate a cat for dementia? It is not Alzheimer's disease, just age-related memory loss.

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marf View Post

Thank you. We tried it last night. She yowled all night. My husband is beside himself. He wants to euthanize her. What do I do? I am typing this this morning as I'm following her around, since she just keeps yowling. I thought she'd go to sleep already, and she's still walking around and complaining super-loudly.

 

I have no idea if it would help but maybe keeping a radio on (softly) so it isn't so quiet might reassure her???

 

Oh, I see someone else already suggested that. Never mind!

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

I wanted to add an update! We asked the vet for a medication that would make her sleepy at night. Now we give her a quarter of a pill in the evening, and she sleeps through the night. In the last couple of nights, we didn't give her the med at all, and she is good. The pressure is off and everyone's happy. Ot at least, the attention is now away from her, and on the new kitten we rescued, who's active through the night, so she's not the one who keep me awake...  :) 

post #20 of 20

That is SO great to hear!

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