Why is Your Cat Crying All The Time?

A cat crying can be a sign of a number of behavioral and/or physical conditions. Determining why a certain cat cries often is something that owners can do with simple observation of the cat's behavior.

A Learned Behavior for Getting What She Wants

One of the most common reasons for a cat crying frequently is that it's a learned behavior. The cat has learned from an early age that when she cries, she gets what she wants, be it attention from her owner, food or playtime. When the cat cries during the day and gets this positive reinforcement, she will attempt to cry for what she wants even later at night when the owner is trying to sleep.

It will take some time, but the only way for a cat to stop crying for this reason is for the owner to stop acknowledging the cat when she cries. When she stops crying, the owner can wait about a minute and then go to the cat and give it food, playtime or affection. The owner can also try to give the cat these things on a regular, scheduled basis regardless so that the cat won't feel compelled to cry for attention.

Reaction to a Change

A cat crying may also be grieving. Cats dislike change. The loss of a human companion, an animal companion, the addition of a new person or animal to the household or even a move can cause the cat to cry to express her dislike of the new situation. A cat crying in this situation may not require serious medical attention unless she also exhibits other worrisome behaviors, such as loss of appetite or fatigue. Eventually, the cat will become accustomed to the change.

The owner can ease the cat's discomfort with regular affection and playtime. In the case of a loss of an animal companion, some owners experience some success in showing the cat the body of a deceased pet to show the cat that the other pet is no longer coming back. However, some cats do not react positively to this demonstration, and taking the animal's body back home is not always convenient or possible for the owners.

Sign of a Medical Problem

Some cats cry when they're experiencing a medical problem. If the cat is older, the owner should especially be on alert and watch for other signs of illness, which include fatigue, loss of appetite and withdrawal to dark, cramped spaces. Owners can also examine the gums of the animal (they should be pale pink, unless the cat is black, in which case there may be splotches of black on the gums) for paleness.

The Cat Is in Heat

Cats who are not spayed or neutered may also cry excessively when in heat, especially if the cat is female. Owners of unspayed cats should expect as many as seven week-long cycles of excessive crying during cats' mating season from March through September.

If the owner suspects that the cat crying is related to a medical problem, she should make an appointment with a vet to rule out serious conditions. Otherwise, if the crying is behavioral, the owner can attempt to correct the behavior by not rewarding the cries.