Consider Loud Vocalization a Message

A cat's loud meows may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Fri May 13 00:00:00 PDT 2005

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Q. I have an 18-year-old cat that recently started walking around and crying aloud, almost as if she is looking for something. The vocalization becomes so loud at times it appears that she is hurt or something, but when I go to her, talk to her and pick her up, she stops. She is a strictly indoor, spayed cat that has never had kittens. Should I be concerned about this unusual vocalization? 

A. I am convinced that your cat is trying to tell you something. The first thing you need to do is have her thoroughly examined by your veterinarian, including blood pressure, the eyes and a complete laboratory workup (CBC, chemistry panel, U/A and T4). 

Many older cats with physical or metabolic abnormalities will display this kind of behavior. If she is physically and metabolically normal, then she may be exhibiting signs of cognitive dysfunction. Ask your vet about selegiline (Anipryl®), and if this is necessary your veterinarian can guide you on the dosing.

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

8/15/2012 7:18:01 AM

good article, thanks

Ellie    Philadelphia, PA

4/21/2010 12:02:15 PM

I'm so glad I found this post. My 11 yr. old Siamese did this now and then, but now it's every day and night. He just had a full blood workup last year ( all normal ) I didn't think 11 was old since my last cat lived to be 20 and acted like a kitten till the end.

AB    Pullman, WA

9/24/2009 2:30:19 PM

My cat (mixed breed, but with a lot of Maine Coon traits) used to do this a lot (and always at night). Sometimes it was because she'd been hunting and wanted to show off her catch. Other times there was no apparent cause: I would go downstairs, and she'd be curled up on the couch, blinking because I'd just turned on the lights. If I didn't pet her enough before going back upstairs, she'd sometimes start crying again. My best guess is bad dreams.

ccl    St. Petersburg, FL

8/3/2009 5:23:59 PM

Our Maine Coon cries a lot and wanders around the house. When our other cat plays with her, she stops. I think she just wants to play with someone.

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