Original Question: A little over a month ago we adopted a 3-year-old long haired male cat from an animal shelter. Ever since we brought him home he has been extremely vocal. His meows range from little squeaks to long deep moans almost. He is eating, drinking and using the litter box and otherwise does not show any other signs of stress. He meows even after he is fed or for what seems like no reason at all. He seems to enjoy our company and will cuddle on our laps throughout the day or night. I live with my parents who are both retired and they are there throughout the day. I'm just wondering if there’s any solution to this - he is persistent in his vocalization and it seems like he might just be bored and I try to play with him as much as I can but I can’t all the time. We do not have any other pets in the house so I also wonder if he is missing that type of companionship. Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks! - Hillary
Thanks for your question.
I can see how this can be quite frustrating. The first thing we need to do is determine whether this problem is medical or behavioral. Medical issues are always ruled out first.
There are conditions that can cause excessive vocalization in cats. Hyperthyroidism in cats can cause them to be overactive and vocal. This is easily tested by performing blood work. Other causes may include pain of some kind like a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or dental issues. I would recommend having a physical exam performed and a few diagnostics like blood work and a urinalysis and maybe some radiographs depending on the result of the physical exam. If everything comes back normal, we can safely assume that this is a behavioral problem.
There are a few things that can cause a cat to act like this. There could be intact female cats in the area that he is detecting and vocalizing about. So shutting windows and reducing exposure could help. He may have previously been an outdoor cat and now that he is inside, he is experiencing stress. Feline stress of some kind would be my first consideration. You could look for the source but it may be hard to find. Even simple boredom and lack of stimulation can be stressful, but as you say, you are trying your best to address that.
I would recommend you start addressing stress more proactively. You could speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety supplements. There are pheromones that work really well. These are synthetic airborne hormones that you can spray around the house or even put in a diffuser and plug into an outlet. This has a significant calming effect on cats and may very well be the only thing you’ll need to do to solve the problem. You could increase stimulation with toys, using a laser, or buying electronic cat toys that frequently turn on and off at different times. You can buy cat treats that you hide around the house and have him hunt for them. This can take the place of some of those outside activities of foraging that he used to do if he was an outdoor cat. If none of this is working, you can speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications. You may not need to use these forever, but possibly only a few months until your cat learns to settle down.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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