Ask the Vet

Ask the Vet: Why Does My Cat Howl At Night?

Are you fed up with a feline that stopped using the litter box? Concerned for a cat who’s sleeping a lot? Or, not sure if what your kitty does is normal? These are all questions you should ask a veterinarian. The Catington Post is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with veterinarian, Dr. Liz Bales, to answer your kitty questions about health, wellness, and behavior!

Please give Dr. Bales your warmest welcome to The Catington Post, then go LIKE her on Facebook by clicking here. If you’ve got a question about YOUR cat, leave it as a comment below and Dr. Bales just might answer your question next!


Hello Dr. Bales,
I have a male, neutered 11 year old cat who stays inside. He has a water fountain, 2 litter boxes, etc,…. etc,…. toys,…..why does he howl at night? I’ve heard that comes with getting older…any truth to that?
– Corinne S.

Hi Corinne!

Howling at night is a difficult problem. It is distressing to feel like your cat is trying to ask for something, and you don’t know what it is. Add that to the lack of sleep and you have a bit of a mess.

Could it be his advancing age?  Well, I always say that age is not a diagnosis. That said, there are some problems that are more common in older cats. A trip to the vet is in order to rule out a medical reason for your cat’s night howling.

The most common medical reason for night howling, or vocalization as we call it, in an older cat is hyperthyroidism. This can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.

If your vet rules out a medical cause for this noisy nighttime activity, it’s time to look to nature for answers. You see, in nature, cats hunt between 9 and 20 times a day, both day and night. So, it is very normal for your cat to be awake, active and asking for food at all hours of the night.

We must be careful and not try to solve this normal nighttime dilemma with an endless supply of food. Obesity is a major concern, as 60% of cats in America now suffer from this management problem.

To solve this problem in a healthy way, measure out your cat’s daily ration. Save about of the day’s portion to put out over night. If you put this in the food bowl, it will more than likely be instantly gobbled up leaving your kitty asking for more. Instead, put this food in a few small portions, and “hide” it in a couple of locations around the house.

You see, cats are innately created to hunt. Providing this hunting opportunity will keep your kitty happy, healthy and hunting while you get the rest you need.

Thanks for a great question!  For more cat health and wellness information, check out my website at

FullSizeRenderDr. Liz Bales, The Catvocate, is a practicing veterinarian with 15 years of experience. Dr. Bales has a strong interest in feline wellness and behavior. She believes that by understanding the natural state of the cat we can create an indoor environment where cats  thrive and our bond with them grows.

Dr. Bales is interested in your questions and concerns about your cat!  Leave your question in a comment below!



  1. Allen

    Feb 17, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    So, suppose you have three cats that need to night hunt and share the same space? Any suggestions for food hiding that can help equalize the odds for cats of varying skill and aggression levels?

  2. Dawn

    Feb 18, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Hello. My female cat only urinates in her litter box. When she needs to poop, she goes on the floor in another room. I keep her litter box clean. Advice. Please.

  3. Christie Kennedy-Carrington

    Feb 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Hi. My cat is a 6 yr old neutered male. He’s quite an active cat & I try to play with him as often as possible when I get in from work or before I go – just to wear him down a bit. However he loves to scratch my bedroom carpet anywhere between 2am & 5am, waking me up! Can you advise why he is doing this & how can I get him to stop without closing doors on him? Thanks – Christie

  4. Tanya

    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I have an older female cat who will pee outside the box. Not randomly, but on specifically targeted items like bath mats or clothing — even after the old peed-on ones have been thrown out and replaced with new. I’ve taken her to the vet for blood work and she’s got none of the problems that are normally associated with this issue. Her litter box is cleaned regularly and there haven’t been any recent stress inducing situations. What other reasons are there for doing this?

  5. Loretta

    Mar 8, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    I have a mom cat and her grown child she is a female both fixed and they will not get along no matter what l do!!!!! The mother does not like her grown female child so to speak. The will actually fight each other if l am not in the same room with them both at all times!!!! I am at the end of my rope.The mother l will never part with she is a rescue any ideas????

  6. kelly

    Sep 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Hi, I have a 7 year old neutered indoor cat. Recently (last 2 weeks) we have noticed a little blood in his urine, and everytime it is outside of his litter box. My mom told me the first time it was bright red drops,but the 2 times (all within 2 hours) that I saw anything it was faint. I first cleaned up with a paper towel & saw a little pink. All together it has been 4 times. His litter box has no blood, he is eating great, and is in no pain. I can pick him up & he remains mischievous & playful. I did look at his butt, and it does seem to be a little irritation or slight tear. Is this likely an external thing? Considering no pain & a healthy eating habit? My family us really strapped for cash right now so we are trying to avoid a vet visit, but if necessary we will just have to find a way. Please help!

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  8. Becky Kendall

    Sep 22, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Dr Bales,I have a 3.5 yr old male cat neutered since 6 months(probably Bengal mix as per a vet).I have had him for 3 years. Best cat ever but now I have an issue I don’t know how to fix. We had a traumatic incident happen about a month ago where a dog killed one of my cats while outdoors in the evening. My cats are indoors night time, in and out during day hours.This male cat was inside but heard the commotion.He is pretty vocal anyway but now when he comes in at night he just paces and howls. He paces outside also. He is still loving and loves to be petted, sleeps for a while as long as no one is up. Once someone is moving around here come the constant howls.He wants to be out. I know it stems from the other cat issue and now turning into a desperate cry temper tantrum.Any suggestions? Our only option is hopefully once the weather turns cold here and he will be inside this might help. Otherwise we may have to put him down which is the very very last resort. I have 2 other cats and the routine between them is still normal and affectionate.Thank you for any suggestions.

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Just when this dog-eat-dog world has handed you all the poop you can take, it's time to walk the dog. Or wash the dog. Or feed the dog. You get the idea. So welcome to the world of easy-to-care-for cats. Entertainment comes bundled in a furry, huggable, self-cleaning cat who won't beg for your food. In his eyes, you don't eat well enough anyway. Just keep a laser pen handy, sit back and wait for the fun to begin! Cats...ya gotta love 'em.

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