How to Stop Cat from Meowing at Night: 5 Methods that Work

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How to Stop Cat from Meowing at Night

If you are a cat owner, you may have experienced the frustration of being woken up by your cat’s loud meowing at night.

Cats are known to be vocal animals, but sometimes their meowing can become excessive and disruptive, especially during the night when you are trying to sleep. Why do cats meow at night and what can you do to stop it?

Here are some possible causes and solutions for this common cat behavior problem.

The Causes of Nighttime Meowing

Cats are Crepuscular

Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they’re more active during dawn and dusk. This tendency stems from their ancestors, who hunted at night to avoid larger predators and to catch their prey, which were also more active after dark.

Domestic cats have retained this instinct, even though they’re not hunting for food. As a result, cats often feel more awake and energetic at night. This can lead to increased playfulness, exploration, and, of course, meowing.


cat seeking attention

At night, when the house quiets down, some cats seek extra attention through meowing. This behavior is often a call for interaction, whether they’re feeling bored, lonely, or just craving the companionship of their human family members. Cats are smart and quickly learn that meowing gets a response from their owners, be it food, play, or cuddles.

So, they might meow more at night to initiate these interactions. Especially in homes where daytime hours are busy, cats may adapt by becoming more vocal at night, when they sense their chances of receiving attention are higher.

Change in Routine

Unexpected alterations in a cat’s world can be quite unsettling for them. Imagine the confusion they feel when their once-predictable world shifts – a move to a new home, a different feeding time, or even a new pet joining the family. These changes disrupt their sense of normalcy, often leading them to express their unease through meowing. It’s their way of communicating discomfort or seeking reassurance in a suddenly unfamiliar environment.

Just like us, they need time to adjust to new circumstances, and during this adjustment period, their meowing might become more frequent or louder as they try to find their footing in their changed world.


Thirsty cat drinking water

A cat’s feeding schedule is closely tied to their routine, and any discrepancy can lead to nighttime meowing. If their last meal is served early in the evening, it’s natural for them to feel hungry as the night progresses. This hunger can disrupt their usual sleep pattern, prompting them to vocalize their need for food.

Cats are adept at understanding and adapting to mealtime schedules, so a significant delay or change can throw off their internal clock, leading to meows of hunger. This is especially true in homes where meal times are consistent; even a small shift can be enough to trigger a vocal response from a hungry cat.

Health Problems

When cats experience health issues, they often communicate discomfort through increased meowing. Various health problems, such as thyroid disorders, urinary tract infections, or arthritis, can cause discomfort or pain, leading to vocalizations.

Older cats might meow more due to age-related conditions like loss of vision or hearing, making them feel disoriented or anxious. It’s crucial to pay attention to changes in a cat’s meowing pattern, as it can be an early indicator of underlying health issues that require veterinary attention.

Aging and Cognitive Dysfunction

Old cat with health problems

As mentioned previously, older cats often face challenges similar to those in humans, including cognitive dysfunction or feline dementia. This condition mirrors the health problems mentioned earlier but has unique aspects due to aging. Elderly cats with cognitive dysfunction may experience disorientation and confusion, leading to increased vocalization at night.

They might forget their usual routines or find it hard to locate their food, water, or litter box, which can cause anxiety and result in meowing for help or reassurance. Like other health issues, this increase in nighttime vocalization is a sign, calling attention to their changing needs as they grow older.

How to Prevent and Manage Nighttime Meowing

Play Sessions

Playing with your cat before bedtime can help tire them out and make them sleep better at night. You can use interactive toys like a laser pointer, wand toy, or puzzle feeder to keep them entertained (PS: laser pointers can be harmful to a cat’s eyes and should be used with caution). To make playtime sessions more engaging, you can try to recreate a hunting scenario by using interactive toys like wand toys or hiding toys to hunt.

Also, make sure your cat has a nice play environment that gives them a chance to do different sorts of things such as running, climbing, and jumping (without breaking anything). Another thing that you should do is play with your cat daily, for like 15 minutes a day once or twice.

PS: It’s important to note that cats can get bored with the same toys, so it’s a good idea to rotate their toys every few days. This will keep them interested and engaged in playtime sessions.

Adequate Food and Water

Cat eating

As mentioned above, some cats meow at night because they are hungry or thirsty. To prevent this, make sure your cat has access to fresh water and enough food throughout the day.

You can also feed your cat a small meal before bedtime, or use an automatic feeder that dispenses food at a set time. This way, your cat will not wake you up for food or water in the middle of the night.

However, do not overfeed your cat, as this can lead to obesity and health problems. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate amount and type of food for your cat.

Litter Box Maintenance

A dirty or uncomfortable litter box can make your cat meow at night, as it may feel stressed or unhappy. You can avoid this by keeping the litter box clean, spacious, and accessible. Scoop the litter box daily, change the litter regularly, and wash the litter box with mild soap and water occasionally.

If you have more than one cat, provide each cat with its own litter box, plus one extra, to prevent territorial conflicts and stress. A comfortable litter box can make your cat more relaxed and quiet at night.

Don’t Respond to Meowing (Extinction Burst)

Cat meowing

Some cats meow at night because they want attention or a reaction from you. If you respond to their meowing, you are rewarding their behavior and encouraging them to continue. To stop this, you should ignore their meowing at night unless there is an emergency or a medical issue.

However, be prepared for an extinction burst, which is a temporary increase in the frequency and intensity of the unwanted behavior before it stops. This is because your cat is trying to get your attention by meowing louder or more often.

Do not give in to their meowing, as this will undo your progress and reinforce their behavior. Stay consistent and patient, and your cat will eventually learn that meowing at night does not get them what they want and will stop.

Creating a Comfortable Night Environment

Lastly, to create a cozy and inviting night environment for your cat, you can try the following tips:

  • Provide your cat with a warm and soft bed that is big enough for them to stretch and curl up. You can also add some blankets, pillows, or toys your cat likes.
  • Place the bed in a quiet and dark place that is away from any noise or disturbance. You can also use curtains, blinds, or shades to block out any light that may keep your cat awake.
  • Make sure your cat has access to fresh water and a clean litter box at night. You can also leave some dry food or treats for your cat to snack on if they get hungry.
  • Avoid disturbing your cat when they are sleeping or resting. If you need to check on them, do it gently and quietly. You can also give them some praise or affection before you go to bed to make them feel loved and secure.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about how to stop your cat from meowing at night.

We would love to hear from you and your cat. What was the cause behind your cat’s meowing and what did you do to stop it? Please share your experience and feedback in the comments section below. 

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