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What is Excessive Vocalization?

Your veterinarian may refer to your cat's excessive meowing, groaning, howling, hissing, or screeching as excessive feline vocalization. Generally, excessive vocalization in cats is a symptom of a disease or condition, rather than a condition in and of itself.

Excessive vocalization in cats is, put simply, a cat meowing more often than normal. As you can imagine, whether a cat is vocalizing — that is, meowing, growling, howling, screeching — excessively depends on their normal behavior. Some cats are simply more vocal than others. If you notice a sudden increase in frequency, degree, volume, or type of vocalization, it may be an indication of a more serious condition. Since excessive vocalization can be an expression of pain and discomfort or a symptom in its own right, it is important to visit your veterinarian for a thorough examination. Only a veterinary professional can confirm whether your cat's excessive vocalization is of a physical or behavioral origin.

Excessive Vocalization Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $100 - $500

Average Cost

$150

Symptoms of Excessive Vocalization in Cats

The symptoms of excessive vocalization in cats are relatively straightforward. Seek veterinary attention for your cat if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • An increase in the frequency of meowing and yowling
  • An increase in the volume or change in the character of meowing or yowling
  • Continual vocalizations at night

It is important to use your cat's previous level of vocalization as a meter stick against which to measure vocalization. A cat who has always been vocal will likely remain that way. There is only cause for concern if your cat has recently become vocal compared to previous behavior. 

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Causes of Excessive Vocalization in Cats

There are many reasons a cat may change their vocalization habits. The causes can be related to physical pain, discomfort, or disease as well as behavioral or environmental changes. Some of the most common causes of excessive vocalization in cats are as follows:

Physical Illness

Just like humans, cats express their discomfort when they are sick. Vocalizations can be expressions of pain, hunger, or thirst. Discomfort associated with chronic disease may also cause excessive vocalizations. Chronic kidney disease or diabetes, for example, may cause excessive thirst, which in turn causes a cat to meow for water frequently.

Middle or Advanced Age

It is common for cats to become more vocal as they age. Vision, hearing, and other senses may be dulled, leading to fearful or aggressive behaviors. Physical discomfort and chronic disease may cause discomfort. Senility may contribute to excessive vocalization in senior cats.

Anxiety

Anxiety may cause cats to meow out of fear or aggression. Separation anxiety, situational distress, or conflict can cause an otherwise quiet cat to become vocal.

Mating or Territorial Behavior

Cats who are in heat or are fearful of encroachments on their territory may yowl, growl or otherwise vocalize instinctively. Your veterinarian can recognize whether your cat's vocalization is specific to any of these contexts.

Attention Seeking

Finally, many cats vocalize to catch the attention of their families. This may be especially true of a cat who is hungry. If you often reward a meowing cat with cuddles, petting, or treats, they may be conditioned to vocalize for attention. It is still important to consult a veterinarian to eliminate the possibility that your cat's behavior is the result of an underlying condition, especially if their behavior has changed suddenly.

It should also be noted that certain cat breeds, such as Siamese cats, are more vocal than others. This behavior would likely be exhibited throughout your cat's life. 

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Diagnosis of Excessive Vocalization in Cats

To discover the underlying cause of your cat's excessive vocalization, the veterinarian will likely begin by asking questions regarding any recent changes in your cat's environment or other behaviors.

Even if the cause of your cat's excessive vocalizations is likely behavioral or environmental, your veterinarian may order biochemical tests to rule out any acute or chronic conditions. Blood and urine samples may be collected to rule out hormonal imbalances, electrolyte disturbances, acute infections, or chronic disease. A physical exam will also be performed to rule out physical pain.

If no environmental or physical cause can be determined, your veterinarian may refer your cat to a behavioral specialist for further testing. 

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Treatment of Excessive Vocalization in Cats

The course of treatment recommended for or administered to your cat will depend completely on the cause of their excessive vocalization. If it is determined that excessive vocalization is symptomatic of a physical condition, treatment might entail drugs, intravenous fluids, surgery, or other therapies.

If your cat's excessive vocalization is caused by environmental or behavioral changes, a veterinary professional may recommend interventions in the home. More frequent feedings, for example, may prevent a cat's vocalizing when they're hungry. 

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Recovery of Excessive Vocalization in Cats

No matter the cause of your cat's excessive vocalization, follow-up appointments with your veterinary care provider will be required. If the cause is physical, follow-up appointments ensure your cat is fully recovered. If the cause was determined to be behavioral or environmental, helpful information may surface at a follow-up appointment. 

The prognosis of a cat who is exhibiting excessive vocalization will depend on the cause. Often, lifestyle and behavioral interventions will resolve excessive vocalization of environmental origin. Excess vocalization as an expression of pain or discomfort, on the other hand, might not be resolved until the underlying cause is adequately addressed. Stay in regular contact with your veterinarian to receive updates on your cat's prognosis and recovery timeline. 

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Excessive Vocalization Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $100 - $500

Average Cost

$150

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Excessive Vocalization Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Daisy

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Calico

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15 Years

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Moderate severity

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8 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Compulsive Volcalization At Night

Hello, I have a 15 yr old cat who has increased her vocalization substantially at night. She sits on the landing upstairs or on the top step and howls deeply for 4 hours straight at a time, and gives no clear reason for her meows. It is not attention seeking because she seems disinterested in being petted. The Vet checked her Thyroid in January 2018, which was elevated (5). The level is currently controlled well with food (T4 test in Feb & May normal) and all other labs normal including kidneys. I've tried Feeliway, water fountains, cat toys/trees, lights on/off, and for the past month Prozac. Nothing is working and she seems to be getting worse. Any further suggestions?

Aug. 13, 2018

Daisy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Cats can have high blood pressure, especially if there are thyroid problems, and that can cause that type of behavior. It would be interesting to have your veterinarian check her blood pressure and see if that might be part of the problem. Otherwise, I do think that cats have aging brain changes, and this might be part of her aging.

Aug. 13, 2018

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Lucy-Fur

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mixed

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18 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Vocalization

My cat Lucy-Fur is now 18 and completely deaf, but otherwise physically healthy according to the vet. We suspect that she has cognitive disorder because she yowls a lot every day, most of which occurs at night. She's extremely loud and has several episodes every night so we now resort to put her outside before bed so we can get some sleep. I read that some wet food with vitamin E and selenium may help with cognitive issues. Is there any special food on the market which would help and provide her with high levels of helpful nutrients? Someone suggested CDB or cannabis extract - could it help? Can you suggest any other ways to change her behavior? I don't want to keep her out at night once it gets cold so we'd love to find ways to soothe her before the cold weather returns. Thank you so much for your suggestions!

July 31, 2018

Lucy-Fur's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

People think CBD oil will help with anything and everything, it is the treatment du jour at the moment with very little scientific evidence for all the claims; the excessive vocalisation may be just due to Lucy-Fur not being able to hear herself. There are some different diets which are formulated for aging cats to help with brain function, generally diets with omega fatty acids and antioxidants are recommended. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.hillspet.com/cat-care/healthcare/brain-aging-in-cats

July 31, 2018

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Excessive Vocalization Average Cost

From 362 quotes ranging from $100 - $500

Average Cost

$150

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