Cat Crying all night! HELP! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Cat Crying all night! HELP!

Hi everyone ... I posted on the cat chat board as well - but I am posting here out of desperation ... wondering if anyone else has experienced this and has any suggestions.

I have a 17 year old male cat, Humphrey, who has cried on and off during the night for the last 12 or 13 years. When it began as a young cat I took him to 4 different vets, he has been tested many times and come back with a clean bill of health. He cries every single night for months at a time, usually in the Summer. It wasn't as bad before his litter mate, Roo, died almost 3 years ago. But since her death he has become very needy, more vocal at times, and unbearable to be around. About a year ago when he wouldn't give me any peace I started the unfortunate habit of feeding him in the middle of the night when he would wake me up. I've grown accustomed to these feedings and his health has actually improved since last year thanks to the increase in wet food and the extra feeding. The problem is now, for the last 2 months, when he wakes up he won't stop crying or pawing at me. The other night he cried for hours for me to literally get into the bathtub (he likes to sit on the edge and watch and drink the water). Last night he kept me awake from 3am right to when I went to work at 8am by pawing at my face, doing laps around the bed, crying. Its unbearable and truly effecting my health.

This is a complicated cat who is not able to be touched when we go to the vet - they gas him just to examine him. But his last exam was a month or so ago and everything came back great. Very healthy 17 year old. I've tried Acepromazine (sp?), and he had a horrible reaction to that, I've tried Ellavil (sp?), and that didn't effect him at all. Now he is on Valium and that works for maybe an hour and then he's up and agitated again. I live in a very small apartment with no place to put him that I wouldn't hear him. Additionally I'm worried about my neighbors being kept awake by him. We think he did have a seizure about a month ago but my doctor sees no sign of a tumor or anything more serious than the simple behavior that he's exhibited for years. He did not think it was as related to old-age since its been going on for years. Its worse right now as I'm getting older and I need my sleep.

My doctor is out of ideas - my pet-pharmacist said that Ativan might do a better job. But I'm wondering if anyone has any insight/suggestions/experience with this?

I adore this cat - I would do anything for him - I worry this is upsetting to him but I also know I can't go on much longer getting 1 or 2 hours sleep at a time and many night 3 hours sleep total. Family sees what it is doing to me and want me to put him down - but its unthinkable to me.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 01:08 PM
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Re: Cat Crying all night! HELP!

Welcome, and I'm sorry your kitty is keeping you up at night.

I understand he is aged, is he also neutered? Even if he is, I wonder if the springtime/summer air currents are bringing him outdoor smells (in season females) that he reacts to. My BooBoo kitty was going through a phase these last few weeks where he was trying to "breed" with our fuzzy winter-wear that I was staging for washing and putting away.

In addition, my childhood cat aged and appeared to suffer from some dementia/alzheimer's. She would walk out my bedroom door and then YOWL in the hall like she was Lost Forever. As soon as I'd poke my head around the doorway or call to her, I could see her body relax, her eyes light up like: "oh, there you are!" and the sound of her meow would change from desperate lonliness to one of happy greetings. She was about 17 when she began that behavior and it continued more frequently until she passed away at age 21.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure what you could do to get him to stop this night-time crying.
Best of luck,
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-12-2009, 02:54 PM
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Re: Cat Crying all night! HELP!

Have you tried the feliway? It’s a synthetic cat pheromone that is supposed to help them relax. It comes in a plug-in diffuser like a room deodorizer, but it has no scent (to people at least). It helps some for my anxious kitty.

There is also something called “Rescue Remedy” I have not had much success with it, but others on this forum have.

There are other homeopathic things you can try. Here is a great reference:
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cat Crying all night! HELP!

Thanks guys.

He is neutered - but I suspect it does have something to do with the windows being open etc. He's been doing it for so long now I sort of lose track. This time it feels MUCH worse.

I bought Feliway last night and plugged it in and I could smell it very strongly - weird because I know everyone says you can't. The window in the bedroom was cracked - but not all the way open (I cannot sleep without the window open). He actually let me sleep a bit more than usual but then woke this morning at 6am screaming and so anxious. I fed him, played with him, and left for work super early to get away from it. (People in the house say they don't hear him crying during the day.) I moved the Feliway into the living room with the windows closed because I know he likes to hang out there sometimes during the day. I'll move it back into the bedroom tonight to see if maybe it does help calm him down.

My doctor called in a prescription of Prozac but the doc says it doesn't make them sleepy, takes weeks to effect them, and can often make them hyperactive. I'd like to try this for a week or so in combo with the Valium to see if it helps. If I could just get to a point where he was freaking out in the mornings then I could manage that fine. Its forcing me to become a morning person which isn't a bad thing.

Thanks ........ I'll also check out the website. I can use all the help I can get. I've heard Rescue Remedy doesn't work - and actually I have tried it now that I remember years ago.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-14-2009, 01:15 PM
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Re: Cat Crying all night! HELP!

I know you said you sleep with a window cracked open, do you use anything to make a "white noise"? Some people use a box fan. I cannot stand to have air moving over my skin, actually, I think it is having the air blow my hair/bangs around my face that bothers me. So I use an infant noise machine that has several sound selections: rain, river, waves, crickets, white noise and heartbeat. I can't listen to the water ones as it makes me have to go to the potty too often. The white noise is too steady. The heartbeat creeps me out because it sounds like zombie-footsteps so I listen to the crickets. I'd love it if I could find one of frogs croaking and singing.

Could you get a second cat/kitten to keep him company? Something he could focus his energy and attention on instead of being so fixated on you?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Cat Crying all night! HELP!

I've been thinking about a white noise machine of some sort. I do have a van and like the feeling - but it doesn't seem to make a difference at all with him.

I could get another cat - I know that he is very lonely and his behavior has only gotten worse since his sister died 2.5 years ago. But even if he could handle another animal (he's very aggressive) I don't want one. Humphrey is 17 - and for many reasons I do not want another cat at the moment and in the near future.

I'm afraid this is becoming quite a health problem for me as the last 5 nights I've gotten no more than 2 hours of sleep a night and I'm beginning to truly feel the effects of not getting enough sleep (not to mention the terrible depression that goes along with this). Valium does not work at all. He just started Prozac but when I give it to him he gets quite worked up (trans-dermal gel on his ear) and I know this will take several weeks to kick in. I had earplugs in last night and could hear everything, along with the fan. Closing him out of the room causes a huge commotion of screaming and clawing that I'm very scared my neighbors can hear.

I truly feel out of options with this cat. I just put another call into my vet - wondering about Benadryl for Children - I've read that it can make cats fall asleep. So I'll see if he has any suggestions.

I'll check out the noise machine - this is a good idea. Thanks!
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