I have a problem with our cat who is roughly 18-years-old. She started howling at night around five months ago. This is an issue because she hangs out in my daughter’s room upstairs (she is away at college, second year). My 22-year-old son who lives at home is also upstairs. Last night, she howled for several hours waking up the entire house. My son will be starting a job soon, and I can’t have him woken up throughout the night. Are there any options other than putting the cat down? I have not taken her to the vet yet. I am on a limited income and can’t afford a huge bill.
— Ed, Bethpage, New York
If your cat has never done this before, any sudden change in behavior is cause for concern. Your 18-year-old cat could have health problems resulting in pain or could have a cognitive dysfunction, like senility or dementia. Either way, she should be seen by a vet, and then the two of you can decide how to proceed.
If she is healthy, however, she could be missing your daughter since the howling is occurring in her room. Give your cat more attention during the day and keep your daughter’s room closed at night to see if this stops her howling.
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.