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To preface, I have had cats all my life. I am 31, and other than about a 12 month period, I have had at least one cat since I was 5 and I love them.

One of our childhood cats (had for about 12 years) was a siamese who was ridiculously loud. Even for a Siamese, it was insane...13 years later, people STILL talk about how loud that cat was (ie: when he was outside at the back door, I could hear him howling from my 2nd floor bedroom at the front of the house/window closed better than you could hear most cats who were sitting beside you.

SO I am used to loud cats.

My 2.5 year old (Libby) was such a quiet, sweet, perfect cat for the first year I had her. She would meow on occasion, but not very often and not very much.

About two months ago she gradually started "howling sessions" from random places in the apartment. She'll sit on the counter in the kitchen or just on the floor in the hallway, or anywhere and just meow/howl loudly incessantly. It started gradually, only about 1x per day, usually in the evening and would last about 30 mins... it has gradually increased in frequency and length. Now, we are at about 3-4 times a day and she won't quit for an hour or two.

I live in an apartment, so it's stressing me out re: bothering other tenants, not to mention that it's just driving me crazy. I'm in a very stressful phase of my life atm, and there have been nights where (admittedly), this has frustrated me to the point of tears.

I love her to bits, but it's making me wish I'd never gotten her :( which makes me feel horrible because I really do adore her but she is (possibly literally) driving me insane.

I have no idea why the change. There has been no major change in routine/food/environment/lifestyle. There's another cat (a 8 month old)...they get along very well (never had a hiss/growl ever happen between them). They play/cuddle/groom each other.

I just don't know what to do :( It's making my home a very, very stressful and unpleasant place. That might not be fair, but it's how I'm feeling.

I am (honestly) obsessed with animals, and have such an intense empathy to animal suffering, but there are nights that I'm terrified that I'm going to do something violent in my anger and frustration. (note: I have NEVER once laid a hand on any of my cats, and I never will, but I'm terrified that I could..if that makes sense).

Please don't pass on any judgements or flack-I'm feeling horrible enough...I just don't know how much more of this I can take.

Any clues/advice re: where this sudden change in behaviour has come from?
:(
 

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Definitely no flack! It must be really difficult for you.

Have you seen the vet, just in case there's a physical cause?
 

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Jillian, are you talking about howling like a wolf would howl, not like a long meow? I ask because our first cat Rookie suddenly started howling at one point. It was a sound we had never heard come out of a cat. Within a couple days she started having seizures, so I honestly think the howling was a symptom of being sick or knowing something wasn't right. Who knows if that's the case with your kitty . . . but it's worth keeping close tabs on her to see if there are any signs of illness.
 

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Since this is a problem that came out of nowhere with no changes in the household...I would suspect a medical condition. She needs to see a vet for a full blood and urine work up. Howling can be a symptom of many things, many of them I wouldn't suspect in a 2 year old, but you need to rule out medical issues before you start treating it as behavioral.
 

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I agree on the vet check. For it to just come out of no where is odd.

One of mine will get 'lost' periodically and cry until I go 'rescue' him. This is a bad habit I taught him by accident when he was a kitten. He used to do something, then find himself stuck (like climb to the top of the stairs before he knew how to climb down) then he would cry and I would go find him. Now he'll go sit in the kitty room downstairs, and howl until I either go find him, or send Muffin to find him.

He is the only one of our four cats to do this, and I honestly think I taught him to do it by accident.

Have you tried calmly going over to her and talking to her? Ask her what's wrong? I know she can't actually answer, but sometimes that curious tone in your voice will snap then out of it.

You could also try distracting her with a favorite toy, see if you can't cut her howling short.

If it were me and this howling was making me lose sleep I would also be desperate to find a solution. Maybe something as simple as calmly picking her up and moving her to a different spot?
 

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I agree, a vet check is in order. It's unusual for a 21/2 y.o. cat to howl as you describe....now if she was 17 or 18 y.o. I would say she's going deaf, as ime I've noticed old cats start to do a lot of howling. Have the vet check for deafness too.
 

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Agreed, a vet trip to rule out any issues. It would be a shame to treat this as behavioral and punish her if she's in pain/discomfort.

What is her reaction when you come to her when she's howling? Does she stop and start when you walk away or keep howling at you?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks everyone. I'll make a vet appointment asap just in case. I am a student, currently in between FT jobs, so money is ridiculously tight, but as soon as I know that that is settled (should be within the week), I'll book it.

-I don't mean howling "like a wolf", just really loud meowing...sometimes it sounds kind of sad, sometimes it sounds like she's yelling at me (if that makes sense). Sometimes she'll be in the hallway in plain view from where I'm sitting. When I turn around, she stops. When I go find her (when she's in the next room), she stops, and looks at me like "what?"..it's actually unusual that she meows/cries/yells like that when I'm looking at her.

I'll usually just give her a firm "no" and walk away...I can't deny that there hasn't been times that I've yelled angrily out of frustration (usually when I'm in the other room, never at her face).

We had an extra long da bird session last night right before bed, and it did tucker her out and she slept quietly until about 9ish...she's done it a couple times this am though.

We usually have some snuggly time in the morning, and I'm a grad student who is at home working more than I am away, so I don't think she's lonely/attention craving... she also has Annie (8 month old) who she really likes and they play together etc.
 

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It sounds to me like she's bored to be honest. I'd up the number of playtimes you're doing with 'da bird, and try to find toys that are fun without you having to be on the other end of them. There are some very simple toys that move and rattle that might interest her, but if you can't find any or they're too expensive where you are you need to find other ways to stimulate her mind.

A bird feeder might help, so she can watch the birds come and go, or maybe get a cardboard box and cut a few holes in it...if she's a clever girl it'll be a challenge keeping her occupied. But, think of how you would feel if there was rarely fun things to do. It's great that you have another cat she plays with, but I know that my boys don't always feel like playing at the same times, so then it's up to me to engage them so they don't chase their sisters or make messes for fun instead!
 

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Definitely get that vet check to make sure she is not in pain or having neurological problems that are prompting this vocalization. That said, I have two cats who vocalize, usually at night.

The first one is my white neutered tom, Max. He goes and collects an object (usually a piece of paper or a bottle lid) and the makes the calling-kittens-to-the-kill "murr-row, murr-row" until I go to him and take the object from him. Sometimes he will do this a second time in the evening and if he does, I just ignore him until he stops. Every week when I clean behind my recliner, I find a collection of the 'kills' he has brought to me. He does this just about every night at least for a half hour. I had heard mother cats do this call for their kittens so many times at the farm, I recognize it without problem. Each time I would get new kittens as foster or rescue, the kittens would go to him to find out what kind of food he had; at least once or twice till they realized he never had real food!

My other cat does a mournful, loud cry while sitting in the center of the floor of the dining room and does not do this sad sounding call very often. I would say she averages about once every two or three weeks. I have had China, red tabby spayed female, for about ten years and she started doing this mournful call about the sixth year I had her. She has been checked by the vet several times and there is nothing physically wrong that he can find. China calls and calls and calls and nothing I do will make her stop until she decides to do so. She usually stops after half an hour or so. I think she is lonely when she does this, because she usually does it AFTER I go up to bed. I have stopped coming down stairs and picking her up and just let her run her usual habit. Later on I will wake up during the night and see her sleeping on the bed beside me, asleep. No clue why she does this.

I am sorry to hear she is driving you to drink with her calling. I wish I had a solution for you. My Aunt Rilla was a very devoted cat person and had one female that would howl for hours at night. Aunt Rilla finally resorted to locking EchoCat in the basement every night so the family could sleep. I would find it interesting to hear what Jason Galaxy would say about it. He often has interesting ideas about why cats do what they do. Does he have a web site you could ask him about it in?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"My other cat does a mournful, loud cry while sitting in the center of the floor of the dining room and does not do this sad sounding call very often. I would say she averages about once every two or three weeks. I have had China, red tabby spayed female, for about ten years and she started doing this mournful call about the sixth year I had her. She has been checked by the vet several times and there is nothing physically wrong that he can find. China calls and calls and calls and nothing I do will make her stop until she decides to do so. She usually stops after half an hour or so. I think she is lonely when she does this, because she usually does it AFTER I go up to bed. I have stopped coming down stairs and picking her up and just let her run her usual habit. Later on I will wake up during the night and see her sleeping on the bed beside me, asleep. No clue why she does this."

this.

It's no longer just at night though, but it feels like what you're describing is the same thing. Especially since she does stop as soon as I look at her.

I think I will up playtime. Maybe have a ball throwing session midday on the days I'm home. She used to love ping pong balls, but that eventually lost its novelty, but I'll try that again. Carpeted floor, so it has to be interactive, but that's fine. I have the Cat-It ball track with the light up ball which got a lot of interest at first, but that died off after awhile (for both cats) so I decided to put it away for a few months to see if I can re-excite them later.

I want to get a new, bigger cat tree and that orange over the doorknob toy that pulls the string through the track as soon as I am back in a steady ft job (should be withing a few weeks).

We do have all the other attachments for da bird (da mouse, feather pouf, and the rabbit paw looking one)...those aren't as big of hits as da bird, but they are fun for a few mins.

Bird feeder is a no-go (we're on the 18th floor). I leave the balcony glass wide open (screen closed, of course) as much as possible, and they do enjoy sitting there and watching the world. I wish I could have them out on the balcony with me, I think they'd love it, but I'm terrified that they'll try and jump up on the railing..and, well, 18 stories up is a long way to go. We are right across the street from the river valley though, so there's some birdies to watch, even from up here.

Maybe just with the spring weather, and all the bird sounds coming from outside, she just needs more stimulation to calm the animal instinct in her that says spring is go-time.

Can anyone recommend some new, fun toys? We have all the usuals (foam balls, ping pongs, mice, foil balls, big fluffy balls that get cat-nipped, feather wands etc etc)
 

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I find the best toys are "non-toys", things like bags, cardboard boxes and the like. I also save empty Kleenex boxes and put something inside, such as a toy mouse and/or a few treats. Muffs loves to try to fish the things out through the slits. My girls love ping-pong balls, which I toss in my bathtub (minus the water of course :)). They like playing "bathtub soccer", since the ping-pong ball bounces all over the place in the tub. They also love to explore my cupboards and closets, so every few days I let them explore a different closet/cupboard (those not containing anything dangerous). Those are just a few ideas.

As for the excessive meowing, boredom is a possibility...but when an otherwise quiet cat suddenly turns overly vocal, my thoughts would turn to health issues or stress. I wish you luck.
 

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Sometimes if China goes on for more than thirty minutes, I will call to her and she will stop calling. She usually comes up stairs by herself then and checks out where I am, but usually does not join me in bed. But at least she shuts up!
 

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I swear by the laser pointer, all four LOVE chasing it. I get them running laps up and down the long hallway and occasionally up & down the stairs. They huff & puff and then have a good nap after a nice cool drink of water. Even just touching it gets them all excited, they'll wake from a dead sleep if they hear it rattle.

You can get cheapy ones at petsmart for a few dollars. Because they use those little mini batteries it's cheaper to buy a new one when the batteries die. I'm going to go to Staples and buy one that takes AA or AAA batteries, might be more expensive, but not so much waste replacing the entire unit every couple of months.
 

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I also swear by the laser pointer. Mine was something like $30, but it takes AAA batteries and I originally bought it for school/teaching/presentations. It has a USB dongle that lets me move slides forward. I'm a sucker for dual-purpose stuff. :D

Old Cheshire Cat would get it into his head to yowl like this sometimes. It was usually between 4-6 a.m. and it would drive me nuts. We never found any way to shut him up long-term, with the exception of someone going and sitting with him until he went to sleep. Sorry...that's not useful.
 
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