Nighttime Annoyances and Crying for Attention in Cats

24 05 2011

Nighttime Annoyances and Crying for Attention in Cats

Cats and kittens that spend long periods of time alone will naturally seek attention when an owner returns home.  Pets are often bored when no one is at home and will often sleep the day away.  Especially with single pets their world revolves around the owner.

Attention-seeking behaviors can include vocalization, pawing, jumping, trying to climb or weaving in and out of an owner’s legs.  The correction may be easy by providing a buddy for the pet to play with during the day when the owner is away.  Daycare may be obtained that effectively keeps the pet active while the owner is gone.  A pet that is active during the day will be too tired to demand constant attention when an owner returns.

Any inappropriate behavior should not be reinforced.  Attention, including eye contact, should be avoided until the pet is calm and quiet.  Interactive toys and adequate playtime will also help to eliminate problems.

Pets should not be physically reprimanded because it will interfere with the human-animal bond.  Such punishment will make the pet withdraw and become aloof.

Not all attention seeking responses are behavioral.  If it is unusual for a pet to be crying it may be due to a medical problem that the cat wants to bring to your attention.  Cats that are unable to urinate due to bladder stones may cry our in pain.  Older pets with cognitive dysfunction way wander aimlessly and are usually noted as a gradual decrease in response to outside stimulus.  Endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism increase the metabolic rate and may make a cat suddenly excitable and restless.  Your veterinarian will be helpful in diagnosing a medical verses behavioral response.

References:

Horwitz, Debra DVM.  “Destructive and Annoying Behaviors in Cats”.  NAVC Clinician’s Brief. July 2007. Pp. 55-56.

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