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Cat cries all night after returning home from somewhere else

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm new here (obviously) and have done some searching around to see if there are any threads covering my specific problem, but I've found none.

Here's the situation:

My girlfriend's cat cries like crazy all night after being away somewhere else. This was never a problem in the past, even when my girlfriend lived a few hours from her parent's place and brought the cat back and forth frequently.

Over the last few months, whenever she brings the cat to her parent's house (only minutes away) the night she returns home, the cat cries/howls all night, keeping her awake. The cat has been back and forth between my girlfriend's place and her parent's place with no problems for quite some time. It's only lately that this has sprung up.

The cat can be over there for a few days, or simply a few hours with the same results each time. She spends the night literally climbing the walls mostly in the corners and crying all night. If the cat comes home in the afternoon, or early evening, she's fine, only crying maybe one time if at all. Once my girlfriend goes to bed however, the cat goes crazy. This does not occur for multiple nights, it only happens the first night she's returned home.

I don't think the cat is confused with her surroundings, as she beelines for her food when she arrives at my girlfriend's parent's place, and when she comes back home as well. She never seems to hunt around for her food, water, or litterbox, so I don't think she's hungry over night nor unable to find her litter. She comes home and curls up in her favorite places without incident, but again, once my girlfriend goes to bed, the crying ensues.

My girlfriend leaves the light on for the cat every night, so I know it can't be the dark, and I am certain she hasn't "lost" my girlfriend either, as she occasionally comes into her bedroom, stares at my girlfriend in bed, and cries directly at her as well. My girlfriend will talk to the cat so the cat knows she is there, but the cat starts crying again ten minutes later.

If you made it through the background info, great. I'm sorry to be so long winded, but I wanted to clear up any small details before asking for advice, so everything about the situation was clear.

I know that the problem revolves around leaving her apartment then returning home. My question is, why has this started only recently? Why does she wait until everyone is asleep to start crying, why not before? What's with the climbing the walls? Is there anything that can be done to remedy this? It's maddening!

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 9
Cats get very active at night specially if they've been napping the whole day!
Maybe that's what's the cat does at her parents' house. Perhaps before she used to play a lot there and now there's less to do. Find out what's new at her parents since you said nothing changed at your girlfriend's.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Nothing has changed over there from what I can tell. She'll just meander around, laying down here and there, jumping up on our laps, kneading, repeat. I realize that they are nocturnal creatures, but even if she's been up and around like she would on a normal day, and only spends 2-3 hours over at her parents' place, she still goes nuts at night.
post #4 of 9
I don't know what else to say but perhaps she senses something you can't. Maybe bugs scurrying behind the walls?
My Joji gets noisy the first nights when weather changes causing the bugs to appear in greater numbers. Then she goes back to normal. Next season she may or may not behave strangely. Cats can be so puzzling!
post #5 of 9
Is she fixed? I know Annabelle cried all the time when she went into heat (right before her appointment to get spayed!). She especially cried at night and was totally restless. She was also more loving at this time towards us. You might have answered this already in your post, but I figured I'd ask. If she hasnt been spayed yet, do that, and her behavior should change. Otherwise you'll probably have several bundles of joy joining your family soon.
post #6 of 9
maybe shes just got into the habit of doing it? she was probably a bit upset one day and started crying/climbing then figured out it got her attention. you know how some people have rituals to calm themselves down (a bit like obssesive compulsive disorder) maybe its the same for her?

i saw a program about training dogs and the person said the reason why this yappy dog was barking at cars is because it did it once when a car scared it and now he though that if he barked at the car it would keep him safe (does this make sense?)

maybe cats think like this?
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
esrgirl - Yes, she was spayed long ago, right when she was found. She was a stray brought in to the animal hospital my girlfriend used to work with.

maverick - It could be something like that I guess. We usually try to ignore her when she does this to discourage it, but occasionally (and I mean at three a.m. telling her to cut it out) we do talk to her. Hearing the voices whether they are nice or not doesn't seem to curb it.
post #8 of 9
I think, perhaps, it might be seperation anxiety.

Think of it from the kitty's perspective...she goes in a car to a different place, stays there for a while (without her human, your girlfriend), and then gets taken to another place (her home) and only when her human "disappears" to sleep, she thinks maybe she's being left alone again.

Lights don't really help, I've found. Only calling to them, and letting them know that I'm still there works.

My suggestion would be two pronged.
1. stop taking the cat around to the houses. If there needs to be a reason your girlfriend isn't around to take care of her, leave her at the house with someone coming there to care for kitty.
2. Bring kitty to bed, and show her where her human is. Don't yell at her - it won't help, and only pisses you off more. Just get her and bring her to bed with you.

Once she gets completely secure (the next day, it seems), she'll not do the behavior. She's most likely just calling for her Mom, and once she knows her mom isn't going to abandon her, she'll settle back down. But please don't take her around to other houses. Some cats seem to do all right with this, but your's doesn't seem to.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I would agree with you, but she used to travel 2.5-3 hours to go to her parents' house with the cat in tow and there were never any problems.

During the most recent 'howling night' we were with her at her parents' place the whole time. They like the cat to come visit, and we're present for the duration of the visit. She rarely goes without my gf, and even if she does for 24+ full hours (e.g. my gf goes to work and stays at my place, returning the next morning) the cat is fine.

I'm baffled either way.
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