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C2005-41

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat started yowling about the time she turned 14. Why does she yowl so much?

Christopher Responds

I yowl when Mom feeds the dogs something special but forgets that I like treats, too.

We cats vocalize when we want attention, feel anxious or experience pain.

Furthermore, vocalization is a normal part of aggressive displays and sexual behaviors in cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered.

When yowling begins during the senior years, it’s often a sign of disease, discomfort or senility.

Your cat may have back or joint pain, even if she walks normally. In one study, researchers examined the radiographs (x-rays) of 100 cats over 12 years of age and found that 90 percent had osteoarthritis.

Nighttime yowling and changes in social interactions also may indicate senility. If your cat’s yowling is due to senility, medication can help.

Other diseases may contribute to yowling as well, so it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian for a physical exam and lab work. With your vet’s help, your cat’s yowling should diminish soon.

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