Kitten Yowling

mangojuusu

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Hi all, thanks so much for reading this monster post.

I have a kitten I adopted almost a month ago. He's 4 months, and sometimes (usually in the middle of the night) he will just start yowling nonstop. It wakes up both me and be roommates. I tried to rule out as many reasons he could be yelling...

-He gets 4 meals a day, and he wolfs them down. One of those meals is right before bed.
-I play with him at least twice a day, one time is ~30m before bed. He has toys to play with by himself, which I rotate so he doesn't get bored.
-He has access to my room (open door) and the living/kitchen area if he wants to explore.
-He doesn't get attention at night when he yowls, because I don't want to encourage the behavior too much. If it's during the day, giving him pets/cuddles/play does not always stop the yowling.
-The vet gave him a clean bill of health.
-He has had no issues with his litter box.
-I have a Feliway diffuser, but haven't noticed much of a difference in him.

He's naturally loud but these cries are different from his normal ones, so I'm a little worried. I adopted him from a foster, who took him in as an orphan with his siblings. I originally was gonna take him and his sibling, but his foster mom said he would be fine on his own and I thought 2 kittens in a small apartment would be sort of overwhelming.

Does anyone have any ideas as to why he yells at night? I'm thinking he might need a kitten friend, but I don't wanna commit to the financial obligation unless I'm pretty sure he'll improve.

Again, thanks so much for reading and for any advice you can give!
 

ArtNJ

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Not playing with him at night is very important, but what have you been doing when he yowls at night, exactly? Do you get up and shush him, for example? Asking because cats can get "encouragement" in weird ways.
 
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mangojuusu

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Thanks for the reply! Almost always if I hear it at night I'll ignore it. If he keeps it up for over ~15m I'll shut him in my room and close the door, then ignore him completely (at least that way my roommates aren't being kept up, too).

He still yowls after I've done this usually, so I don't think it's too rewarding for him? But you're right, cats are weird about attention.
 

jen

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Is his food finished by the time you go to bed and he is hungry? A growing kitten should have unlimited amounts of food available for him. Dry food. With canned food meals in between. He may be hungry. They eat every couple hours. The fact that he is woofing the food down tells me he is hungry.
 
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mangojuusu

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rubysmama rubysmama He used to do a lot of those behaviors but those were targeted at me, and he grew out of them after the first week.

jen jen I haven't thought of that! I was taking the recommendations for kittens off the back of the can, and adding even extra to that, so I thought he was getting enough... I haven't fed him much dry food since I'm scared of him developing urinary issues, but I went out and got some to put in an extra bowl. We'll see how the next few nights go :)
 
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mangojuusu

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Well, he was definitely hungry! I doubled his wet food during mealtimes and left dry food for him all day and he ate sooo much. He slept almost the entire day after that. I played with him and went to bed. And now, at 12:30am... he's yowling again. :sigh:

We're on the third floor of an apartment complex and I haven't seen any stray cats or dogs around, so I don't think that's it either. Does anyone have any other ideas?
 

rubysmama

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Is he in your bedroom when he starts yowling? Or is your bedroom door closed, and he's on the other side.
 
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mangojuusu

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Is he in your bedroom when he starts yowling? Or is your bedroom door closed, and he's on the other side.
My bedroom door is open during the night, and he usually starts yelling while he's in the living room.
 

Pjg8r

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Is it possible there is anything wrong with his vision? Could he wake up in a dark room and have trouble seeing? It would be very rare in a kitten.
 
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mangojuusu

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Is it possible there is anything wrong with his vision? Could he wake up in a dark room and have trouble seeing? It would be very rare in a kitten.
I don't think that's the case? His eyes look fine, and when he plays with toys I can see his eyes tracking them.
 

Hellenww

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Adding more food worked but he slept most of the day. Try waking him up during the day to play. A night light might help in the livingroom but might make it worse. I don't know.

Will he come if you stay in bed and call him? For kittens and seniors I suggest a gentle bear hug. Get him in bed and gently hold him still to let him know this is time to sleep like a Mama cat would. When you go to bed take him with you.
 
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mangojuusu

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Adding more food worked but he slept most of the day. Try waking him up during the day to play. A night light might help in the livingroom but might make it worse. I don't know.

Will he come if you stay in bed and call him? For kittens and seniors I suggest a gentle bear hug. Get him in bed and gently hold him still to let him know this is time to sleep like a Mama cat would. When you go to bed take him with you.
He doesn't really come when called, unless he was looking for me. I can try the hug thing tonight, either way. Hopefully it works and he'll settle down.
 

rubysmama

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My bedroom door is open during the night, and he usually starts yelling while he's in the living room.
Does he keep meowing till you go check on him? And what is he doing when you do check on him?
 
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mangojuusu

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rubysmama rubysmama I usually don't check on him at night, he should have everything he needs and like I said I don't want to encourage this behavior. The meows always stop eventually.

The few times I have gotten up (usually to put him in my room to keep his noise down), he's just kinda standing/lying in the living room. He isn't doing much of anything, except yelling.
 
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mangojuusu

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Hellenww Hellenww Yeah, hugs before bedtime didn't work. He just squirmed until he got frustrated, then clawed my arms to get free. And by 1am he was meowing again.

Today he hadn't slept much during the day, and he had food and water available at all times, and we played 3x a day for 10-15m. None of it matters, he still yells at night.

Guys, I really don't know what to do at this point. I'm such a light sleeper, and I haven't slept more than 4 hours a night in weeks. He got better for a bit at nighttime after the first week, then this started. I thought I had every possibility planned out for a new cat, but I didn't plan on the stress and sleep deprivation tanking my mental health...
 

rubysmama

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So frustrating. :( Are you able to ask the foster mom if he ever yowled when he was with her?
 

di and bob

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If he sleeps most of the day after eating more, how about leaving the hard food out JUST at night. Maybe he will get full and sleep all night instead of all day. Just like any baby, he might have his days and nights mixed up. Try to keep him awake as much as you can during the day. You've only had him a month, that is not long enough for him to establish a regular routine, especially if he is used to staying up at nights. My Burt did that when he was young, and we did have his brother there for company. I think they get up at night, noone is there to keep them company and they get scared and are calling for mom or their siblings. i am betting he misses his cat family. It will fade and he WILL establish a better sleep routine, but it will take longer. I've had mama cats take at least a month to stop calling for their babies when they leave, just keep doing what you are, reassure him you are there for him before bedtime, leave out a bowl of hard food for nighttime snacking, and keep him up during the day.
 
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