I have two Himalayan cats, Tango and Cash. These three-year-old brothers are very healthy indoor cats. However, at 9 p.m. every night, Cash starts screaming bloody murder for about two minutes. I can’t figure out what is wrong with him. Any ideas? Tango just looks at him in awe!
— Carol Freburger, Aventura, Florida
It’s not uncommon for cats who have a health issue to meow intensely. Take Cash to your vet for a health exam to rule out health problems, like epilepsy or other neurological issues. Cats who have seizures may vocalize loudly.
If Cash gets a clean bill of health from your vet, then his screaming could be related to diet or anxiety. If you are feeding him a few hours before this happens and around the same time every night, Cash could have some digestive issues. If you see a correlation between feeding and his screaming, visit your vet again to discuss his diet.
If it’s not a health issue or diet-related, the behavior could stem from anxiety and have formed into a nightly, attention-seeking habit. Because Cash is punctual with this behavior, you can get in front of it before it begins each evening, and work to change it. Start a play time routine a few minutes before the behavior usually begins and continue playing until 10 minutes past the time to see if that stops the screaming. If it’s behavioral, the new activity each night should stop the habit. If it’s a seizure or other health problem, he will likely stop during the play to meow intensely – a clear sign something is wrong health-wise.
Keep me posted on what you discover about Cash’s strange behavior.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal