Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: Shea on January 13, 2013, 06:07:26 AM

Title: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Shea on January 13, 2013, 06:07:26 AM
Long-time cat owners of Ehell, I need your help! Yesterday I adopted a cat from the SPCA, after much thought and preparation. He was shy at first, hiding in the bathroom, but by nighttime he was slowly creeping out to see us. However, as soon as we turned off the lights, he started yowling, and I mean YOWLING. He kept it up quite literally all night. BF and I could not sleep all night. We finally gave up trying at 5:00. He yowls much less when we're paying attention to him (he doesn't let us pick him up or pet him unless he comes up to us, which I think is normal at this stage). Right now he's not meowing, but I don't know what to do about another night like last night. Has anyone else had this experience when adopting a shelter cat? He's an adult cat, about 3 years old, been at the shelter for awhile but was also fostered for a time, and he's deaf, which may or may not be relevant. Any wisdom would be much appreciated!

And sorry if this isn't entirely coherent, I'm quite tired ::).
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: camlan on January 13, 2013, 06:34:20 AM
My very first cat avoided me for a week, but at night she'd yowl unless I got up and sat in the living room with her. It was exhausting. We'd sit at opposite ends of the sofa, with her ignoring me completely. But if I tried to go to bed, she'd start crying again.

Since this cat is deaf, I wonder if he panics in the dark, because he can't see and can't hear and is in a new place? The first thing I'd try is leaving some nightlights on in a couple of places, so that he can see what's going on around him.

I'd also call the shelter and ask if they noticed this behavior and what they did about it. The foster people might also have some advice.

The key thing is to figure out if it's the dark that's bothering him, or something else.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: MorgnsGrl on January 13, 2013, 07:27:59 AM
Since this cat is deaf, I wonder if he panics in the dark, because he can't see and can't hear and is in a new place? The first thing I'd try is leaving some nightlights on in a couple of places, so that he can see what's going on around him.

I'd also call the shelter and ask if they noticed this behavior and what they did about it. The foster people might also have some advice.

The key thing is to figure out if it's the dark that's bothering him, or something else.

I agree with all of this! Definitely see if you can talk to the person/people who fostered him -- in my experience they will be very happy to tell you about him and help you figure out what's going on.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Steve on January 13, 2013, 08:33:21 AM
Cats have exellent night vision, so the dark should not be a problem. I have only seen yawling in a cat that needed company. Maybe she can sleep in your room?
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: TomatoBunny on January 13, 2013, 08:40:26 AM
Can we safely assume he's been neutered since he was at a shelter for awhile?

When you go to bed, is your door closed and your cat is all alone? When my mom brought home a 6 month old kitten, he cried in the middle of the house after we all went to bed. I think he was upset/scared that he was all alone because when I opened my door to see what the deal was, he came running up to me for clingy cuddles. When my parents left their bedroom door open the following night, he visited them in their bed and then left them alone, seemingly content to simply know where people were. So it might just be new home jitters.

Hope you can figure out your new cat soon!
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Shea on January 13, 2013, 08:46:20 AM
He was neutered when he arrived at the shelter in July.

I live in a large studio apartment, so the only closed-off room in the apartment is the bathroom, and I've left the door open, so he's got full access to everything in the apartment. So it's not that he's being closed off or not allowed access to The Humans. He knew where we were, because he spent the night sitting a few yards away from the bed, staring at us and yowling.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 13, 2013, 10:10:09 AM
Even though cats have excellent night vision, I'd try leaving a light on.  A good one for my place is the one in the stove hood.  I have yowlers but it is mainly because I keep them out of the bedroom.  What works for me is to play with them a lot in the evening to tire them out so they sleep at night.  Cats are naturally nocturnal so tend to be up at night.

With the more vocal of the two, I've had to resort to kitty corrector.  I have a squirt bottle that I use to separate them when they are fighting and I think it is starting to go too far.  I put that squirt bottle on the floor in front of my door.  Sometimes right after I go to bed, she'll yowl so I open the door and give her a little squirt then put it back down and close the door.  I've just started this but it seems to be working.  I would NOT do this with a brand new to you kitty, though.  This is for months down the line, as a last resort.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: m2kbug on January 13, 2013, 11:57:24 AM
He's scared right now.  My only thought is it will stop once he's used to his new environment.  Also, I agree that leaving a light on might help.  A good play session before bed might help as well.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: JoW on January 13, 2013, 12:36:00 PM
Was he alone at the shelter, or did he have a companion?   If he was with another animal he probably misses his friend. 

That's my own experience talking.  I've noticed that most cats do better with another cat around to keep them company.  You might want to consider getting him a playmate. 
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Bijou on January 13, 2013, 01:01:30 PM
Our adopted cat wanted to hide under a blanket when she first came.  She had a receiving blanket in her little sleeping area.  We since have set her up with a kitty warmer in her bed and she's happy with that.  If your new cat is used to sleeping in an enclosure, like a cage or something, can you set up an area that feels enclosed and safe?  I agree with the light.  I know cats have good night vision, but I still leave a lamp on for our girl. 
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Jocelyn on January 13, 2013, 01:56:35 PM
I agree, nighttime may be an anxious time for him. I'd suggest a nighttime ritual- some playtime, some cuddling, a nice snacker. Make it a ritual, so he learns to predict the pattern.
Sometimes one of mine will do this, and I've learned that ignoring it isn't the best tactic. I'll call out something reassuring to him. This may not work since your cat is hearing-impaired! :) Annoying as it sounds, getting up and petting your new kitty may be the reassurance needed.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Ceallach on January 13, 2013, 02:14:47 PM
Sounds scared and confused to me.   Try creating him a safe place - when we relocate our cats we leave the cat box open with blankets in it for a week or so. Ironically, the box they hate when being transported becomes their safe haven in their new environment while they're finding their feet.

I also agree with the night time routine suggestion.

Dont give up yet, it will get better! Sometimes a new pet is like a new baby and takes awhile to settle into a routine.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: jpcher on January 13, 2013, 03:16:03 PM
I think that you're getting some great suggestions.

Scared and confused for the first night in a new home for any 3-year old (be it human or animal) is, in my opinion, quite normal.

Calling the shelter is a good idea. Ask how the bed/cage was set up.

How long was NewCat fostered out? If NewCat is used to being in a cage (for 3 years?) he was probably yowling because he didn't know where his bed was. Maybe get a small cage, put a warming blanket in it and maybe a toy or something that the shelter had in his cage so that he knows where he's suppose to sleep.

Another thought is to leave the TV on tuned into some nature channel. NewCat is used to a whole lot of other animals around . . . the TV might give him some visual distraction.



Good luck! And what is NewCat's name?
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Shea on January 13, 2013, 04:51:59 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I talked to the SPCA today, and the woman said they're always getting people calling saying their new cat kept them up all night, then calmed down. I also talked to a friend whose mother works in cat rescue, and a friend of my mother's who's a veterinarian, and they all said the same thing. There could of course be other issues, but everyone seems to concur that the likelihood is that he might do this for a few nights, but he'll calm down eventually.

Other than the night-howling, he's acclimated surprisingly quickly. He used the litter box right away, he approaches us to be petted, he plays with his toys (little catnip mouse on a string, laser pointer toy). He still goes and hides in the closet or bathroom sometimes, but then comes back out. I've left his carrier open, with a soft towel inside for him. He occasionally goes in there.

This cat does not like other cats at all. He was rescued from a hoarding situation, and the rescuers think he was picked on by the other cats. Apparently he's happier alone, though I imagine he's probably bemused by the sudden lack of other cats.

BF and I are going to play with him before we go to bed, then hope that he's settled in enough today to not yowl all night. And if he does yowl all night, we went and got earplugs ;).
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: perpetua on January 13, 2013, 06:27:31 PM
Shea, I have a cat who has been with me for fifteen years and every time we move to a new apartment he does this very thing. Fine during the day, then come the nighttime the yowling and squeaking starts as he wanders round trying to make sense of his new surroundings. It always settles down within two or three nights, so I'd guess your new guy is doing the same thing.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: greencat on January 13, 2013, 06:42:40 PM
If he was raised in a hoarding situation, he probably does miss other cats.  Cats usually only become actively anti-social with other cats when they are raised as only cats or had to live on the street for awhile - where all other animals are competitors instead of company.  One of my cats is like that - she is only intermittently tolerant of my other pets.  However, since you say you're in a studio apartment, I wouldn't advise another cat.

Since he's standing on your bed yowling - he probably wants your attention.  Interact with him and see if you can get him to get comfortable enough to allow you to scratch behind his ears until he flops over - after that, he should fall asleep (on your hand, of course, because he's a cat.)
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Kaora on January 13, 2013, 06:51:06 PM
I'm with others-- sounds like he's just new, maybe a little scared.  I'd only be concerned if it went on longer than a couple weeks, though.

Let him have his space when he wants it, give him cuddles when he wants them, and voila, new friend kitty. :)

Also, this thread is not complete without pictures! :)
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Shea on January 14, 2013, 07:52:22 AM
I will take some pictures, I promise :).

He did yowl a bit less last night, but I think some of it is food-oriented. I'm a deeper sleeper than BF, so with the earplugs after I fell asleep I didn't hear him until about 6:45 this morning, but BF said kitty woke him up in the night and ran directly to his food bowl. I'd fed him before we went to bed, because I'm trying to get him on a feeding schedule. I'm giving him about 1/2 cup dry kibble mixed with a 3 oz can of wet food, once in the morning and once at night. He's a smallish cat, no more than 10 lbs (I think about 8 is probably more accurate), so from what I've read that's enough food for him. I hope that he'll get used to the feeding schedule and not wake us up at 3 am demanding breakfast. At least not too often ::).
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: guihong on January 14, 2013, 10:17:10 AM
I'm wondering since he came from a cat-hoarding situation, if he had to battle for food and make a lot of noise?  Poor thing, I hope his weight and nutrition was OK :(.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: AuntyT on January 14, 2013, 10:57:25 AM
I POD all those that say try a nightlight or two.  I'd look after my brother's cat for a few months every year and he (the cat) would always cry at night, especially during the first couple of weeks.  I noticed though when I turned on a night light for him, near his litter box, the crying stopped - except for the night that the bulb burnt out.  ::)
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: greencat on January 14, 2013, 01:41:35 PM
Since he's a small cat, and it sounds like he may be slightly underweight, you should probably leave out dry food for him overnight.  Unlike dogs, you typically don't need to monitor the food intake of cats - few of them will eat themselves fat. 
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on January 14, 2013, 01:58:47 PM
Since he's a small cat, and it sounds like he may be slightly underweight, you should probably leave out dry food for him overnight.  Unlike dogs, you typically don't need to monitor the food intake of cats - few of them will eat themselves fat.

You haven't met my Peggy.   ;D  I was very excited this morning for there to be food left in her dish for the first time since I got home on New Year's Eve.  My friend who was feeding my kitties would give them extra just in case she missed a day so little Miss Piggy got used to eating too much.  I call her 'The Rotund One'.

But yes, I agree that you could leave out more kibble for him to free feed and it might help with the yowling problem, too.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Shea on January 14, 2013, 03:18:43 PM
Since he's a small cat, and it sounds like he may be slightly underweight, you should probably leave out dry food for him overnight.  Unlike dogs, you typically don't need to monitor the food intake of cats - few of them will eat themselves fat.

I'm not sure that's best in this case, I have left out dry food for him overnight, but he doesn't seem to realize it's food, or at least he won't eat it. He still yowls, even if there's dry food in the bowl. At the shelter he was always fed kibble mixed with wet food, and that's what he's used to.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: PastryGoddess on January 14, 2013, 03:21:57 PM
Since he's a small cat, and it sounds like he may be slightly underweight, you should probably leave out dry food for him overnight.  Unlike dogs, you typically don't need to monitor the food intake of cats - few of them will eat themselves fat. 
*snerk*
I have a 17 pound cat sitting on my feet at the moment
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Amara on January 14, 2013, 04:05:30 PM
OP, are there several hours between his dinner time and the time you go to bed? I mean like four or more hours. If so, consider giving him a bedtime snack of dry and wet food fifteen minutes before you head off to bed. It can be smaller than his regular dinner or the same size but that might help hold him until you get up.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: magicdomino on January 14, 2013, 05:03:08 PM
OP, are there several hours between his dinner time and the time you go to bed? I mean like four or more hours. If so, consider giving him a bedtime snack of dry and wet food fifteen minutes before you head off to bed. It can be smaller than his regular dinner or the same size but that might help hold him until you get up.

Along the same lines is to split his meals into smaller, more frequent portions.  I'd do that only if he is still driving you nuts next week.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Feliway yet.  It's a feline pheramone that basically tells the cat, "This is a safe place."  Try the spray first; you can switch to the plug-in dispensor if it turns out you have a nervous kitty.  Amazon has the best prices if you can stand to wait.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: doodlemor on January 14, 2013, 06:44:01 PM
Everyone has offered excellent advice.

I'd just like to add a nice tablespoonful or so of catnip, pinched so that the scent is stronger, and scattered on his bed or someplace not too hard to vacuum.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas? UPDATE, post 27
Post by: Shea on January 16, 2013, 02:35:04 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I left the bathroom light on overnight for a few nights, since he seemed to view the bathroom as his "safe space". He's been getting steadily quieter at night since that first night, and as of last night only started meowing around 6:00 in the morning, because he feels that is breakfast time ;). He's a little vocal generally, but the night yowling seems to have been just a part of his settling in process. He's steadily getting more trusting of me and BF, and he's adorably playful (loves the catnip mouse!)

I will be posting pictures in the Cuteliness thread as soon as I get some good ones.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: oceanus on January 16, 2013, 05:39:55 PM
awwww, so glad he's settling down.   :)
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: mmswm on January 16, 2013, 06:43:05 PM
I've had several night-yowlers (I used to be a foster home for a cat rescue group).  Almost all of them responded to lighted toys. They make several different toys that light up when the cat bats them around.  They also make a laser toy that you can set to go off at random intervals.  Having something to do might make the nights go by better for him.

I also second the suggestion for Feliway.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Kaora on January 16, 2013, 07:03:57 PM
Yay!  I'm so happy he's settling in.  But even a cat knows when it's food time.  And they will not, ever, let you forget it! ;D

Since he's a small cat, and it sounds like he may be slightly underweight, you should probably leave out dry food for him overnight.  Unlike dogs, you typically don't need to monitor the food intake of cats - few of them will eat themselves fat. 
*snerk*
I have a 17 pound cat sitting on my feet at the moment

Our cat Tribble was... plump.  He was a British Shorthair, but even for that, he was massive.  Indoor cat loved his kibble.  He was never obese, we'd never stand for that, but a little plump. :)

When we first kept Tails, he ate himself silly.  We guess he was starving when we found him, because for the first year or so he'd eat himself until he got sick. :-\ He no longer does that, and tends to regulate his eating better.
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas? UPDATE, post 27
Post by: norrina on January 16, 2013, 11:09:23 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I left the bathroom light on overnight for a few nights, since he seemed to view the bathroom as his "safe space". He's been getting steadily quieter at night since that first night, and as of last night only started meowing around 6:00 in the morning, because he feels that is breakfast time ;). He's a little vocal generally, but the night yowling seems to have been just a part of his settling in process. He's steadily getting more trusting of me and BF, and he's adorably playful (loves the catnip mouse!)

I will be posting pictures in the Cuteliness thread as soon as I get some good ones.

We have an almost 6 month old kitten that has been with us for 2 months now. He settled right in without any nighttime yowling (there were 6 people in our 3BR house the weekend that we got him, so anywhere he went there was someone to snuggle with, which may have helped, because he's a cuddler), but has always had a 6 a.m. wake up time and has thought his humans should too. I am not a morning person, so recently I've tried putting a little more food than usual in his dish before I go to bed. Turns out my little bugger doesn't want to eat at dawn-o'clock so much as he wants to play. If someone figures out how to stop that nonsense, I'm all ears. Yawn
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas?
Post by: Bijou on January 17, 2013, 12:54:39 AM
I'm glad he is settling in and has chosen as safe space for himself. 
Maybe I missed it, but I wondered if you've given him a name. 

ETA  Oh, Seamus!  I just went to cuteliness and found his pictures.  He is adorable.  I love the one under the chair.  Talk about a charmer. 
Title: Re: New cat yowled all night...any ideas? UPDATE, post 27
Post by: greencat on January 17, 2013, 01:00:19 AM
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I left the bathroom light on overnight for a few nights, since he seemed to view the bathroom as his "safe space". He's been getting steadily quieter at night since that first night, and as of last night only started meowing around 6:00 in the morning, because he feels that is breakfast time ;). He's a little vocal generally, but the night yowling seems to have been just a part of his settling in process. He's steadily getting more trusting of me and BF, and he's adorably playful (loves the catnip mouse!)

I will be posting pictures in the Cuteliness thread as soon as I get some good ones.

We have an almost 6 month old kitten that has been with us for 2 months now. He settled right in without any nighttime yowling (there were 6 people in our 3BR house the weekend that we got him, so anywhere he went there was someone to snuggle with, which may have helped, because he's a cuddler), but has always had a 6 a.m. wake up time and has thought his humans should too. I am not a morning person, so recently I've tried putting a little more food than usual in his dish before I go to bed. Turns out my little bugger doesn't want to eat at dawn-o'clock so much as he wants to play. If someone figures out how to stop that nonsense, I'm all ears. Yawn

I don't know how to stop the cat, but I did somehow learn to differentiate between "I want food!"  "I want water!" and "I want attention!" and learned to sleep through the attention-crying and how to practically sleep-walk through feeding and watering the animals.