Shut this damn cat up, please!
December 3, 2012 3:51 PM   Subscribe

My cat is driving me insane. We moved into a new place near the end of October/beginning of November. Since we got here, she has been so incredibly vocal. She's always mewing and howling. It's the same noise she makes when I'm in another room and she wants me around. Or when she's stuck somewhere. I haven't had a good night's sleep since we got here. It's a loud, shrill noise and I can't sleep through it. She keeps me up late at night, wakes me up early in the morning. What can I do about this? I need to be able to sleep.
posted by Modica to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
Get a couple of Feliway plug-ins; they contain a pheromone that is soothing to cats (and you won't be able to smell it). I have used Feliway to great effect when I've moved with my cats and when introducing new kitties to an established household.

A vet visit would also be in order, just in case your cat has something physically wrong with her. I had an elderly cat who started howling at night - turned out she was in pain from arthritis and the colder temperatures at night aggravated her condition. I got her a kitty heating pad and she was her happy quiet self again. (The vet said "nothing could be done" about her arthritis which I now know to be false, and I'd have switched vets if I could at the time; but the heating pad really, really helped.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding Feliway - it really helped my cat a lot when we moved. Moves can be very disorienting for cats, and it sounds like yours might be manifesting that unsettled feeling. One thing about the diffusers is that one isn't meant to cover a whole house, so you might need to get multiple and/or be strategic about which rooms you cover. We installed ours until they dried out, and then didn't have a problem not using them after that (eg, it didn't need to be a permanent therapy).
posted by handful of rain at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2012

Response by poster: What perplexes me is that when we moved from Iowa to Austin, she didn't take long to adjust. BUt in this new house, she's just been problematic since day one.

She doesn't go outside my room/the bathroom because she doesn't get along with the other cats and dogs in the house, so I would think one plug-in would be fine. The only problem is: Those things are kind of expensive (I work for AmeriCorps and make a thousand dollars a month and half that goes to rent). So cheaper options would be much appreciated.

Same goes for the vet visit. I think she has ringworm, because I seem to have it now.
posted by Modica at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2012

Feliway for her, squishy silicone earplugs for you.
posted by elizardbits at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2012

Possibly the previous owners had a dog (at least that's what was the case over here...). Or something else smells strange-animaly to her. If that's so it will eventually wear off.
posted by Namlit at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2012

She doesn't go outside my room/the bathroom because she doesn't get along with the other cats and dogs in the house

I might cry too if I lived my life in two rooms, and everything beyond that was unfamiliar.
posted by Glinn at 4:20 PM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Modica- MeMail me your address and I will send you a Feliway diffuser and half of a refill. I caution you that it does not work for all cats though. The minute I plugged the thing in, my damn cat started peeing in the bathtub. I unplugged it and sealed it in a Ziploc and the peeing stopped almost immediately. Let me know if that's a risk you want to take.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:28 PM on December 3, 2012 [8 favorites]

My cat did this, but settled down after a couple of months. You have my sympathies.
posted by b33j at 4:31 PM on December 3, 2012

How old is your cat?

Mine whine a lot of they're bored and need play which yours might if she only stays in those 2 rooms. The feliway seems to clam them a bit.

Does she have a good sleeping spot that smells like her or like you?
posted by oneear at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2012

This ringworm page seems to have some good information. Looks like your cat could have gotten it from one of the other animals in the house, and you maybe got it from her. Highly contagious. Everyone in the house would need to get on board with a cleaning/medicating regimen to be fully rid of it.
posted by brina at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2012

Vet. Hyperthyroidism. Timing is mostly a coincidence. Vet, and then medicate as suggested and also make her a comfortable spot/room near you.
posted by vers at 4:50 PM on December 3, 2012

Pets are expensive - you have to be prepared to take care of them. If my younger sister were working for Americorps, I would consider this an appropriate situation in which to lend her money (Feliway + vet visit, and maybe a play tower). I LOOOOVE my cats, so maybe that's just me.

As you're working for Americorps, you could also try to ring a few vets offices and see if you can find one that's sympathetic and is willing to cut you a deal, or put you on a payment plan or something. I've met a number of vets that will "work with people".

I have successfully used Feliway; though it's probably worth taking her to the vet just in case. Also, she may well be bored in just two rooms if it's a much smaller space than she's used to... and realistically, I think that's one room - I'm not sure the bathroom counts. Creating some vertical space/cubby holes and getting her a good cat tower to jump on could go a long way too. Ikea hacks has some good ideas, and there are tons of instructions on the web on how to make your own cat towers/scratching posts/etc. out of stuff you can get really cheap/recycling/re-use center etc.

Is it only that she doesn't like the other animals, or is the objection mutual? If it's just her, she may be more amenable to them once she calms down (Feliway, time) and her curiosity gets the better of her - and that will take care of boredom/loneliness. Ask the vet about introductions too... there are ways of finessing the relationship. =) Good luck!
posted by jrobin276 at 5:49 PM on December 3, 2012

Response by poster: She doesn't like them but they are perpetually curious about her. One of them is super territorial and outright violent, and I don't trust him around my baby girl.

But she definitely needs some toys and things to do. She didn't have much at the last place, though, and she was fine there.
posted by Modica at 8:12 PM on December 3, 2012

Did the last place have a window? that is tv for kitty. The more entertainment kitty has, the better they act. Also, they like being able to be up high and have some private hiding spots.
posted by Jacen at 9:10 PM on December 3, 2012

BUt in this new house, she's just been problematic since day one.

What do you know about the previous owners? Your cat may be responding to the scent of animals that lived there before you.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:13 AM on December 4, 2012

One of them is super territorial and outright violent

Not to go off on a tangent, but why do you have an "outright violent" animal (presumably to other animals and possibly people) in the house?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:43 AM on December 4, 2012

I'm not sure where in Austin you're located but Animal Tustees of Austin is a great low-cost vet, if you have time to wait longer than you would at a regular vet's office.
posted by a red so deep at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2012

Is your cat spayed/neutered?

Also, you should be able to find a low cost vet, but you'll want to get the ringworm taken care of. It's not a big deal, but it can spread on both the same animal and the others.

When my kitten had ringworm I got meds for her and I didn't have health insurance at the time, so I just used the same cream they gave me for her on my leg and stomach where I got it and it went away and never came back.
posted by Georgia Is All Out Of Smokes at 1:27 PM on December 4, 2012

Was she living in such a small area before? If she's used to it, fine, but if she's used to having more room she might be going stir crazy -- I've known two cats who did that, both with a lot of meowing. (Moving to a bigger apartment was how we fixed it, sorry.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:54 PM on December 4, 2012

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