Why Do Cats Cry Like Babies At Night? (A Guide For Baffled Cat Owners)

When I first brought back my cat from the shelter some time back, I never knew life would feel like I’m living a nightmare for the next few months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat to bits but I wasn’t very prepared for what was to come.

For the next three months, I felt like one of the living dead from my favorite TV series ‘The Walking Dead’.

My cat would cry like a baby at night.

And when I mean cry, I meant to wail, like I was abusing him. That might explain the funny looks that I got from my next-door neighbor in the mornings.

Why Do Cats Cry Like Babies At Night?

Cats cry like babies as a form of vocalization. This is to signal a desire for one their necessities like food, water, play or even to mate. They can alter the way they cry or meow to suit their needs. This is how cats communicate with humans.

The main interesting question is why do cats sound very much like babies when they cry?

The answer is actually very interesting

Why Do Cats Sound Like Babies?

To fully comprehend this phenomenon, we will need to understand the nature and history of cats.

Before cats were domesticated, they were known to be solitary animals. This means that once they leave their mothers’ nest as young cats, they are pretty much on their own.

The only time they might seek out another cat would be to mate.

Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years and over these years they have grown to be more and more dependent on humans for food and shelter.

What started out as us providing shelter in return for their service in catching rodents has evolved into pet parents looking after their cats like a biological child.

As cats evolved to be more domesticated, they developed a vocalization to mimic that of a crying human baby.

Cats cry to vocally manipulate their owners to tap on our natural response to nurture a baby in distress.

That’s a very smart move by our dear cats.

Let us take a closer look at the reasons that can cause your cat to cry like a baby at night.

Your Cat Is Hungry

If you can hear your cat crying at night, there’s a chance that it could be hungry. Unlike feral cats that hunt outdoors, indoor cats need their humans to feed them.

My cat can get hungry at the weirdest of times at night and it is forever changing. He can eat his normal evening meal and get hungry again at 1.45 a.m. and 4 a.m.

It is almost impossible to ignore his cries for food when it sounds so much like that of a baby.

Trust me, when your cat is hungry and demands food, he will let you know and won’t stop till you get out of bed.

If you don’t wish to be disturbed by your cat’s incessant cry for food while you’re sleeping, you cake leave out some food for your cat before you go to bed.

Your Cat Wants Attention

A cat cries at night when it is craving attention from its owner. This can be rather common for cats with separation anxiety issues.

There are some cat breeds that are known to be very clingy like the Ragdoll, Bengal and Siamese.

These cats love being around their owners all the time and can follow them around like dogs. Very adorable until it is time for bed.

Another thing to note is that cats have different sleeping patterns than humans. They are naturally crepuscular.

Their sleep cycle ensures that they are active in the early hours of the morning and evening.

Your fellow feline is crying because it wants your attention.

Even if you lock your cat out of your bedroom, it has enough lung endurance to keep crying until you let it in for pets.

Your Cat Is Feeling Lonely And Insecure

If you have recently adopted a new cat or you have moved to a new home, this sudden change in the cat’s environment can make the cat feel lonely and insecure.

Older cats will cry due to a change in the environment but kittens will usually cry like a baby due to them feeling helpless and vulnerable.

Cats are not fans of change and the crying cat is a sign of its uneasiness.

Make sure to give your older cats or kittens a lot of assurance and attention during the day.

Your cat might just be feeling afraid to be alone. You can let your cat sleep in your bedroom until it feels confident to be on its own at night.

Your Cat Is Feeling Bored

Feeling bored can also make cats cry like babies. Even though cats might not require as much attention as some other pets like dogs, they still do require a fair amount of quality attention daily.

Regardless of breed, it is good to spend 20-3o minutes a day with your cat.

You can take this time to groom your cat, play with your cat or even just sit on the couch together and watch TV.

Believe it or not, cats actually do enjoy spending time with their owners. You can see this when you are back from work after a long day and your cat is waiting by the door.

That’s quite an awesome feeling.

The only thing wrong with this scenario is that your cat is feeling bored at 3 a.m. in the morning.

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your cat busy and engaged while you sleep. Get toys that can activate your cat’s hunting instinct.

They really love that.

Your Cat Is Feeling Anxious Or Stressed

Being in a new environment can contribute to this. But an indoor cat can start to feel anxious or stressed when it senses danger outside the house.

Cats have senses that are beyond a human’s comprehension. They can hear and smell danger even before actually seeing it.

It is possible that your cat senses another cat or animal roaming outside your house and that spooked your cat causing it to be on a constant lookout.

Cats crying at night could also be a warning signal to their owners that danger is near.

You can get someone to build some fencing around your house or backyard to keep other animals from getting too close.

There are also motion sensor lights that come on when a wild animal trespasses your property. It would be sufficient to scare it away.

Your Female Cat Is In Heat

Female cats that are going through their mating cycle tend to get rather noisy during this period.

Female cats cry or yowl loudly to get the attention of roaming male cats. This is the female cat’s way of letting other male cats know that she is ready to mate.

One way to prevent your female cat from raising a racket during mating season is to get her spayed.

This will prevent her from turning into a howling cat whenever her hormones kick up.

Neutering your cat has more benefits than just keeping them quiet.

It keeps them healthier, living longer, stops them from spraying cat urine all over your home and stops the cat population from exploding.

Every year, millions of cats at shelters are being put to sleep due to the lack of space. It is a very sad fact and one that we can help by making sure our cats are sterilized.

Your Cat Might Be Sick

Cats cry when they are not feeling well. It is usually a cry for help from their owners.

It could be that your cat ate something that it wasn’t supposed to during the night. Or it could have injured itself in some freak incident.

Some signs to look out for:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Stomach upset
  • Weakness
  • Drinking and peeing more
  • Difficulty in breathing

If you notice any such symptoms from your cat, it will be a good idea to bring it to the vet for a thorough check-up.

Anyone who has owned cats before will know that the crying sound a cat makes when it is ill can chill you to the bone.

Why Is My Male Cat Crying Like A Baby?

The gender of the cat doesn’t really make a difference when it comes to crying like a baby.

Your male cat can also sound this way when he wants something from you at night.

Unlike the difference in voice pitch between a male and female human, a cat’s meowing pitch can’t be differentiated in this manner.

How to Stop Your Cat From Crying At Night?

Truth be told, trying to correct this behavioral trait can be rather challenging and frustrating.

Firstly, it happens when you are sleeping. The last thing cat owners want to be doing is to be training their cats in the wee hours of the morning.

Secondly, it can be difficult to ascertain the actual reason that is causing your cat to be behaving this way.

Most importantly, just make sure that it isn’t due to an underlying medical problem.

You can try to troubleshoot your cat’s behavior in the daytime by closely observing your cat.

Is your cat always trying to get your attention? Is it getting enough exercise and playtime? Are you feeding your cat enough during the day?

Should I Ignore My Cat’s Meowing At Night?

If you are trying to correct your cat’s behavior then yes, you should ignore your cat’s meowing like a crying baby at night.

I know it can drive you crazy when your cat is crying non-stop but any reaction towards it will add fire to fuel.

It will reinforce the thinking in your cat that the louder and longer it cries, you will eventually give in.

Wear earplugs if you have to.


It took me a good four months before I could start to have a peaceful night’s sleep. It basically boiled down to the batter of wills between me and my cat.

I guess my cat figured his energy is better spent sleeping than trying to wake me up.

In most cases, such a behavior is just a phase for many cats. They will grow out of it and peace will start to reign at night.

However, don’t wait to bring your cat to the vet if you suspect that it is due to a health problem.

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