Crying in Cats

Why is my cat crying?

What is Crying?

There are many reasons why cats meow and cry more often than others.  If a cat does not normally cry or is not typically a vocal feline, then crying can be a concern for the owner. We all know cats cry when they are hungry, thirsty, want their litter box cleaned, or desire attention. If a cat is crying out for long periods of time for no apparent reason, it may be time to call the veterinarian.

Cats can cry for several different reasons. The explanation for the cause may be a mild, moderate, or severe one, depending on the underlying health condition, if any. Reasons cats cry may include:

  • Aging                          
  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Anxiety
  • Bowel disorders

Why Crying Occurs in Cats

There are many different reasons cats cry, and if you have a crying cat, you will need to make an appointment with your veterinarian. From that point, your veterinarian will need to discover what is bothering your cat. There will be several different factors that he will be looking for which may include:


As cats become older, they may suffer from loss of vision or hearing. The loss of these two senses may cause your cat to cry more often; a period of adjustment is expected.                          


Aging cats can also develop joint pain, or arthritis. This degenerative condition affects the cushioning material in between their joints, causing pain when getting up from a resting position or as they lie down.


There are many types of infections such as a urinary tract infection, skin irritation secondary to flea bites, and upper respiratory virus. Many of these infections are treatable, but they can be quite painful or distressing. Cats may cry due to pain from infection.


Overly anxious cats may cry out for more attention. When cats feel anxious, such as when a new pet is introduced into the home or if their environment has changed, this may make them more vocal.

Bowel Disorders

If your cat is suffering from bowel disorders, such as constipation, inflammatory bowel disease or other illness, it can be painful and they may cry more often, especially when using the litterbox.

What to do if your Cat is Crying

If your cat is crying and you cannot figure out the cause, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Once you take your cat to the clinic, the veterinary doctor will begin by doing a complete physical examination. He may also need information as to the symptoms, such as when they began, if your cat cries more during specific times of the day or night, and details on his diet, his lifestyle, living environment, and more. He may also want to know if your cat is typically a vocal cat or if this is something completely new to him and you.

Your veterinarian may perform laboratory testing, such as blood work, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile. These tests will let the veterinarian understand more about what may be causing your cat to cry. He may need to perform imaging such as a CT scan, palpate the stomach to check for excessive fluid, or test your pet’s pulmonary function.  This will all depend on what your veterinarian suspects could be causing the discomfort.

If he is unable to find an underlying illness or condition that is causing your cat to vocalize more often, he may consider a diagnosis of anxiety. If this is the case, your veterinarian will give you advice on how to help your cat with the anxiety or behavioral issues he may be having.

If he does find an underlying illness, treatment can commence. There are many medications that can help with inflammation and pain, if that is the case. More serious illnesses will need to have a higher level of treatment and a possible long-term plan, and your veterinarian will discuss these options with you.

Prevention of Crying

Although it is impossible to prevent your cat from aging, there may be ways to prevent any conditions which occur due to aging. As your cat gets older, you may consider making a regular veterinary appointment, perhaps quarterly, so your veterinarian can perform physical examinations, thus finding the onset of age-related illnesses early on. This can increase the chances of your cat recovering more quickly. Oftentimes, cats have had an illness for quite a while before it comes so painful that they cry out.

If your cat has a serious condition which caused him to cry more often, your veterinarian can give you advice on how to make his life happier. You may need to change his environment in order to accommodate his illness and make it more comfortable. This may involve alterations to feeding or sleeping arrangements (type of food or location of bed) in order to help prevent your cat from suffering and crying in pain.

Cost of Crying

The cost to treat your cat’s crying depends on the diagnosis and the underlying condition. To help with your vocal cat, the cost can begin at $150. For other conditions, such as a painful bowel, the cost can begin at $500. when improving the quality of life for an arthritic cat, the expense may average $500.

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© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.