Screaming/yelling Cat

by Kathy
(New Jersey )

Hi there,

I have an 8-year-old American Shorthair spayed female cat named Ginger. She is extremely lovable. She's always been more on the vocal side but nothing unmanageable. Until about 3 years ago when her sibling whom she was completely devoted to, died suddenly at the age of 5. After he passed she became very vocal, walking around our apartment screaming and yelling unless she was sitting in my lap or somewhere near me. If I left the room or the apartment she would also yell. Our vet recommended getting another cat so we got another brother and sister duo (kittens) about 2.5 years ago and they all get along very well. The screaming and yelling did subside for awhile but recently it has started back up again. It's to the point now whenever I am home she is always making some kind of noise either grunting, screaming, yelling, crying unless she is sleeping or sitting on my lap or near me. And it's driving both my husband and I insane. She's only like this with me not with him. (I had her as my own cat with the other one before we got married)She's a very anxious cat to begin with. We cannot give her wet food because she becomes too overly excited and screams all day for it and there's a certain kind of toy we can't give her either because she will just walk around with it all day and cry also.

So I have taken her to the vet and talked to the vet multiple times about this. She cannot find anything medically wrong with her and has even tested her thyroid, which came back fine. I have done my own research on the net and have read ignoring her is the best thing but that doesn't seem to work and I have tried removing her and putting her in a room by herself. Then she will just scream louder until she screams herself out and then will stop. Then I let her out and she's usually quieter for awhile but will eventually start back up again.

I looked up stuff on cat behaviorists but they're very expensive and not really sure that they would be of any real help. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Answer by Kate

Hi well yes this sounds like a little bit of separation anxiety mixed in with perhaps some boredom. She obviously relies on you for entertainment and enrichment.

Cat yelling etc is purely to get our attention (if not done to other cats etc) and if she is doing it all the time she must be feeling both a little anxious. The only thing I can suggest is to repeat the ignoring behaviour on your part as this will help to stop the reinforcing of the behaviour and also to try and make her home environment more stimulating for her.

Perhaps you could try to make one room her play area for a few days, fill it with all sorts of things to keep her occupied (see this page for some ideas http://www.our-happy-cat.com/indoor-cats.html ) Perhaps setting up a routine may help her. Regular meal times, regular play times with her, regular petting or lap times etc.

often very anxious cats can benefit from a more structured life with lots of things to keep them occupied outside of these times you have with them. I hope I have been able to give you some more ideas to try and help this situation. I know how distressing and annoying it can be with a persistent crying cat.

Best wishes Kate

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