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What Is Caterwauling? 6 Reasons Behind It

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Are you someone who thinks that the only voice cats make is of meow? However, cats are capable of making pretty different sounds. If It’s chirping, high pitch yowl, different types of meows, like the one when she wants food and others when she needs love.

Caterwauling is one of such sounds your cat might make, and be honest, this is not a good sing overall! In the worst case, it can be a cry for medical attention.

In our article, we will help you find out what exactly caterwauling is, why cats do it, and what can you do about it!

So, let’s find out all the things about caterwauling.


Caterwauling: What Is It?

Caterwauling can be hard to describe, but you will know when you will hear it.

But it is something between a yowl, howl, and a whine.

Basically, you can compare it with the situation where you call your mom out! Now it can be anything, but you want something! And one thing is sure, that your cat is caterwauling towards you!

How Does Caterwauling Sound?

Caterwauling is difficult to define, but you’ll recognize it when you hear it! This ominous sound is a mix of a yowl, a howl, and a whine. It’s both melodic and dramatic. It doesn’t go away.

When some cats scream, it sounds like they’re attempting to howl. Caterwauling is your cat’s way of yelling to get your attention, protest or complain.

The sound might be fairly different from one cat to the next. It has a musical quality to it. When a cat begins to caterwaul, they frequently continue to do so. In many circumstances, the noise is constant.

6 Reasons for Caterwauling

One thing you should be clear about up till now, caterwauling is your cat’s way to cry, complain, protest, yell and ask for your attention! So it’s not a positive action, and you should know that something is wrong. Here are possible reasons for your cat’s caterwauling.

1. Your Cat Is in Pain

Many times, you will encounter your cat’s caterwaul when she’s in pain. It could be tummy pain, arthritis, or any other injury. Cats can not be quiet when they are in pain.

your cat might be in pain

If caterwauling is followed by howling, it can be a possibility that your cat is suffering from systemic medical problems like thyroid disease or kidney disease.

While cats are experts at hiding their pain, this activity can be known as an evolutionary trait to keep themselves away from getting into any kind of danger.

So if you were not very familiar with the caterwaul of your cat, and she starts doing it suddenly, it’s time to visit your vet.

2. Your Female Cat Is In Heat

When your cat is in heat, she may scream, moan, or meow more than normal, which is known as “calling.” Her sobs may seem troubled, and they may keep you awake in the middle of the night.

female cat is in heat

Consider this: If your cat is naturally loud, seek other signals to assist you to figure out if she’s in heat.

Hormonal causes when female cats are in heat, they produce unusual noises to notify nearby males. Males answer with equally bizarre noises to let females know they’ve heard the mating call.

Your cat may low crawl and moan at the same time if she is in heat. This is normal estrus behavior and not a sign that your cat is in pain.

3. Seeking a Mate

Cats in heat will howl loudly and continuously as they are trying to draw a male to mate.

your cat is seeking a mate

They might also spray partitions or fixtures with strong-smelling urine additionally in a try to signify their availability to a male. During the heat period, your cat can be greater affectionate, rubbing up in opposition to fixtures, partitions, and her preferred people.

She’ll likely rub together along with her hindquarters particularly and can regularly show the mating function together along with her hindquarters and tail raised.

The maximum complex components of a cat in the heat for a proprietor are vocalization, caterwauling, and spraying.

4. Seeking Your Attention

Being a cat parent, you will witness days when you are able to provide all of your time to your kitty, and not even a few minutes on other days. It’s never going to be the same! That is how life is. Now, your cats might not understand this variation.

cat seeking your attention

Your cats will caterwaul when they are in need of attention. Also, if your cat requires something from you, and you are quite dumb to understand the needs of the lords of your house, then your cat is going to engage in caterwauling.

5. Something Is Stressing Your Cat

Cats love to spend half of their time either cleaning themselves, staring out of the window, hunting and chasing stupid things and the rest of the time they spend sleeping.

something is stressing your cat

If you jump back to the staring out of window thing, then you will know what can make your cat upset, curious, or scared.

Sometimes when your cat finds something strange or scary while string out of the window, she will not meow but caterwaul, this means that she had seen something which is making her scared. She can be territorial, as most of the time cats feel insecure.

6. Cat Cognitive Dysfunction

Some cats can develop FCD (feline cognitive dysfunction) in the later stage of their life. According to the ASPCA, feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD or cat dementia) affects more than 55 percent of cats aged 11 to 15 years older cat and more than 80 percent of cats aged 16 to 20.

cat cognitive dysfunction

Excessive caterwauling and vocalization is a symptom of FCD. This is very prominent in senior cats. Your cat needs help, especially if she’s facing such issues.

How to Stop Caterwauling?

Caterwauling is not just super annoying, but it is also problematic! As it indicates some or other physical or mental issue with your cat. It’s a sign for you that your cat needs help, and you should not ignore it, here are a few very helpful ways to prevent caterwauling:

1. Rule Out the Medical Problem

Even if you are someone who takes your cat regularly to the vet, a caterwaul means you need to take her as soon as possible, as it is possible that she must have developed a new medical problem. Cats are prone to get thyroid disease, kidney malfunction, arthritis.

rule out the medical problem

So, it’s better if you find these signs out as soon as possible.

2. Create a Stress Free Environment

Cats can get anxious and stressed out very quickly. Proper and regular mental stimulation is very important for them to stay healthy. They get uncomfortable even if anyone enters their premises.

create a stress free environment for your cat

Comfort your cat with physical attention, especially if you have recently brought in new pets, make sure you stay insight with your cat. If your cat has a habit of spending most of its time around the window, then make sure you cover the windows with blinds or drapes.

3. Get Her Fixed: Cat in Heat

Female cats should be spayed, before their first heat cycle that means, the ovaries, and uterus should be removed. In the case of male cats, they need to be neutered, which is the removal of testicles at a young age. This will help to eradicate hormonal caterwauling and also the dilemma of cat overpopulation.

get your cat fixed

Seek veterinary advice about the options available for your cats getting spayed or neutered.

4. Reassurance

Cats are very territorial creatures, it won’t be wrong to say that they are more territorial than dogs.

reassure your cat

Territorial aggression takes place while a cat feels that his territory has been invaded with the aid of using an intruder. Depending on in which your cat spends his time, he can also additionally view your complete community as his territory. Female cats may be simply as territorial as males.

5. Treat Cat Cognitive Dysfunction

Make helpful changes in your cat’s environment. Make sure you don’t keep making changes to her daily routine, stick to one.

treat cat cognitive dysfunction in your cat

Also, there is a medicine available for the treatment of cat cognitive dysfunction.

6. Deal With Nighttime Insecurities

If your cat engages in caterwaul at nighttime, it is mostly due to her unfulfilled needs, make sure she’s not hungry or thirsty. Give her a lot of attention, many times cats caterwaul at nighttime because they feel alone as everyone else in the house goes to sleep.

deal with nighttime insecurities

Be in her sight, you should sleep in the same room, leave some cat toys for her to keep herself busy. Also, make sure that you don’t try to comfort your cat’s caterwaul by giving her some treats, as this will encourage her bad behavior.

7. Proper Meal Time

Though your cat acts according to their will if it’s about eating a nibble or treats. But when it comes to mealtime, you need to be organized.

proper cat meal time

Make sure you feed your cat at the proper time and make no compromise in that. Feeding before you leave for work, and in the evening around dinner time, is the ideal time.

8. Proper Arrangement of Litter Box

It is very important to set your cat’s litter box at a proper place. Because cats are very particular while doing their business. If at all it is located in a very undesirable place, like near the window, where different types of sounds keep on coming.

proper arrangement of litter box

If the litter box is very dirty, etc so you need to take care of all such things. This will help in keeping your cat mentally healthy, and she will not engage in excessive vocalization or caterwauling.


While cats can make many types of sounds, but when she starts caterwauling, don’t take it as typical behavior.

You need to be serious, take appropriate actions, try to find out any visible signs of it and if you are not able to find it then you should book a vet’s appointment.


  1. The Cat’s Meow! Caterwauling in Cats — VCA
  2. Meowing and Yowling — ASPCA
  3. Cat won’t stop yowling in the night — The Mercury News

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