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Why Do Cats Make Weird Noises at Night – The Fascinating Answer 

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We’ve all been there before. It’s 2 am, and your cat is going crazy making odd, screeching noises. Some are normal meow’s, and others are unique sounds you’ve never heard. No fear, though, we can help you get some sleep! There are a few reasons why cats make weird noises at night. 

So why is your cat making such weird noises at night? The answer may vary. Different reasons include: CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome), physical distress, thirst, or the need for food. 

Many factors go into why your cat makes weird noises at night. Some are fairly normal and easy to change. Others can lead to further feline issues. Below I’ll go over a few of the reasons I’ve found that could lead to your cat making weird noises at night. 

Why Do Cats Make Weird Noises at Night

What is Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? 

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as FCD (Feline Cognitive Dysfunction), affects many cats. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome tends to exist in older cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it cant affect younger felines. 

What is CDS/FCD?

Feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) is a cognitive disease prevalent in cats, directly related to the brain aging, leading to changes in awareness, deficits in learning and memory, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli.

Source: Wikipedia

CDS tend to be diagnosed with cats that are in their elderly years. As with many feline issues, CDS is somewhat difficult to diagnose. Its symptoms are in line with other feline illnesses. 

Due to its nature, CDS has become fairly difficult to diagnose. Many signs are things that we would scratch up to cats being cats, for example, if your feline friend seems to be lost or wandering. On the surface, it seems like your cat is just a cat; however, the cat could have CDS. Symptoms of CDS include abnormal vocalizing, seeming lost, and overall disorientation.

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Abnormal Vocalization

A symptom of CDS and one that is probably more noticeable is if your companion is vocalizing themselves abnormally. Cats that are domesticated and have lived with their owners for a substantial period usually understand that when night time comes, its time to go to sleep. Just like their owners. However, if your cat has CDS, then they’re farther more likely to make random vocal sounds in the middle of the night. This is certain to attribute to the weird noises your cat is making at night. 

Misuse of Litter Box

Your cat’s inability to properly use their litter box is also another way to determine if your cat has CDS. Cats seem to pick up on house training fairly quickly, however, with CDS the cat forgets where the litter box is and house training is essentially thrown out the window. The issue isn’t so much they forget how to use a litter box. The issue is that they forget where the litter box is and this leads to disorientation for the cat. 


Disorientation is a known issue in regards to CDS. Dr. Marty Becker states:

If your cat is disoriented, try limiting his access to stairs or to certain parts of the house. Keep doors closed so he doesn’t go into the closet or behind the toilet or any place where he might be unable to get himself out.” 

Source: Dr. Marty Becky at Vetstreet

This disorientation can lead to the cat hollering and meowing in the middle of the night. These could be some of the weird noises you could possibly be experiencing with your cat.  

What About Physical Distress? 

Physical distress can play a contributing role in a cat yelping or meowing at night. Whether it’s from CDS or something else entirely, cats experience physical distress all the time. While physical distress is common in cats, the reasons for the stress may vary. 

New House

Moving to a new house can really stress a cat out. As previously mentioned, them becoming disoriented might attribute to their discomfort, but so can different surroundings. Just think about sleeping in a new place for the first time. It’s difficult, right? It goes the same for your feline pets. New places lead to stress, and this can lead to them verbalizing themselves. Especially at night when you’re sleeping. 

New Routine

Cats, like humans, are creatures of habit. I feed our cats every morning at 8 am and every night at 6 pm. If I’m off by ten minutes on either, they go crazy. Imagine if it were severe changes like switching to working at night and sleeping during the day? The cats would have a difficult time with this as it’s a huge change in daily routine. 

New Pets

Another stressor for a cat could be an addition to the family. As is with a routine, adding a new pet to the family can be tough for the original feline. Adding a new creature to its territory can cause the cat to stress it’s self out. The stress is what causes the cat to freak out and act abnormal, perhaps leading to loud yelps and meows in the middle of the night. 

Inappropriate Litter Box Usage

While this is a symptom for CDS, it could also be caused by stress. According to PetMD, “Cats that urinate outside the litter box are trying to tell us something. He or she may be stressed due to rearranged furniture, loud noises, an unclean litter box, or several other factors.” This could cause your cat much-needed stress, leading not only to a mess for you to clean up but also loud noises in the middle of the night for you. 

Could Your Cat Just Be Thirsty or Hungry? 

While the reasons mentioned above are fairly serious and require immediate mediation on the Cats’ owners part, could there possibly be a much more simple reason your cat is making weird noises at night? The answer is, actually yes. 

The main reason cats make weird noises at night and freak out is simple: necessity. They need food or water. It’s possible you may have forgotten to put their food out or cleaned their water dish. If this is the reason your cat is making weird noises at night, then it’s an easy fix! Feed them or clean their water dish and you’ve possibly earned a good nights sleep!

How to Quiet Your Cat Down

So now you’ve figured out the symptoms and the cause to your cat vocalizing themselves at night. So, what do you do? It’ll depend on the issues with the cat, but there are always remedies you can try to calm your cat down. 

  • A Familiar Place: Try surrounding the cat with a common setting. This seems to be a big issue, a cat in a new place. If you’re moving to a new place, then try to bring a piece of furniture that the cat loves. If you’re buying new furniture, try placing a favorite blanket on the new couch or seats. 
  • Routine: A new routine is detrimental to a cat. However, have no fear! You can adjust it accordingly to help ease the cat into the new schedule. Try slowly weaning their dinner times. If the new dinner time is later, try feeding them an hour or two later and slowly progress to the new schedule. This should help the cat adjust to their new schedules. 
  • Safe Places: Be sure to give them plenty of space while also being conscious of large doorways or staircases. If a cat is disoriented, having various rooms open and staircases accessible can become very dangerous or daunting for the cat. 

Cats are curious creatures and come with their swarm of problems. Loving them is an essential part of their well being. While they’re inevitably going to become vocal and communicative, now you know that abnormal noises are sometimes the cause of much more.