I’ve heard many superstitions in my time, and generally, I find them quite interesting. I love to look at the history behind them and understand how and why they first came about.
I look at how superstitions change with time and become something quite different from the original belief! One such superstition involves cats crying at night and what this is supposed to represent. So, why do cats cry at night?
The cat crying at night superstition
What is the cats crying at night superstition? An old superstition says that a cat crying at night outside an ill person’s home means their death is imminent. Cats have always been linked to witchcraft and evil spirits which probably explains how this superstition originated. If a cat cries at night some still think it means the end is nigh for someone nearby. Is this just an old wives’ tale?
There are many versions of this superstition. One variation is that the cat must be on the roof whilst crying. Another claims the ill person must be lying in bed at the time.
They all have something in common though (apart from not being consistent): all involve a cat that’s crying and someone who’s not in good health.
If your cat is crying at night it is far more likely because it is feeling lonely, confused, or even bored when everyone has gone to bed and left it on its own.
A cat might cry at a window at night if it sees a strange cat pass by. This type of cry is more like a yowl.
Cats crying at night
It’s a fact – cats cry at night. If you hear a crying cat, it’s okay at first, you put up with it. But if anything is repeated enough times it becomes worrying or annoying.
You love your cat, but you need to get to the bottom of this. Are you doing something wrong? Is it in pain?
This article explores why a cat cries at night and whether there’s any truth in the superstition.
Is the superstition true?
A superstition often starts because of a coincidence. The cat crying at night superstition may well have begun because someone died at the exact time that a cat began crying in the street. And from that point, a cat crying was perceived to be a bad sign.
If you look at this logically, cats cry at night outside quite often. They might be yowling at another cat or searching for a mate.
At the time this superstition originated, there were more cats roaming free so it’s hardly surprising that some were heard crying when people died in their beds.
Many people believe that cats are spiritual and that a cat crying at night has a spiritual meaning. I think it’s more likely that a cat crying at night when someone passes away is just a coincidence.
Another superstition suggests it’s bad luck if you hear a cat crying just before you set out on a journey.
The origins of a lot of these superstitions seem to emanate from China but honestly, we don’t really know in this case.
What Are the Facts About the Cats Crying at Night Superstition?
There are many reasons for a cat is crying at night and if you have one that does this regularly, try to understand why.
Don’t automatically think someone is about to die! A little investigation will help you solve the mystery.
If your cat isn’t crying because it is hungry or fighting, there may be a psychological reason for its behavior. Let’s examine the possible causes.
Anxiety In Cats Can Cause Crying
If you haven’t had your cat for very long or if you just bought a kitten then the reason for its crying at night could be separation anxiety. A cat may cry because it has been separated from its mother and/or littermates.
It may be confused and have feelings of loneliness associated with this separation. As sad as this may seem, and it is certainly sad, you can do something about it and it shouldn’t last long. Give them your love and attention.
Yes, this may mean at 3.30 am on a Tuesday morning when you have to get up for work in a few hours. But your little kitty doesn’t know this (although knowing cats as I do, I’m not sure they’d care if they did know it).
Talk to your cat and comfort it. Create somewhere warm and safe near you where it can curl up and sleep at night.
A good suggestion would be a simple box with an open top. Cats love to feel protected and often if you put a box down they’ll jump right into it, they love the four ‘walls’ around them when they get in, it makes them feel safe.
Similar feelings can occur in cats that have recently lost a sibling or a friend they’ve spent a long time with. You may find they cry for a long time, waiting for an answer, but never getting one.
It’s sad, yes, like the above but this is life and it’s fixable. Using the above caring nature and attention will soon cheer your cat up and the crying will stop naturally.
You may find a cat cries if it’s not getting enough attention from you. Cats are quite astute. If they cry and you give them attention, they know what to do to get some another time.
I know this contradicts the earlier statement about giving them attention when they cry but it’s a very delicate balance.
If you give a cat lots of attention during the day, play with it, and feed it just before you go to bed, then it’s less likely to cry during the night for your attention.
Is Your Cat Unwell?
There can, of course, be other reasons why your favorite little kittie cries at night and one is it may not be feeling very well. Your cat may be trying to communicate to you that something is wrong and it needs your help.
If your cat is crying and this is accompanied by a loss of appetite and/or not drinking then you shouldn’t waste any time and get it checked out by your vet.
There could be numerous reasons why your cat doesn’t feel well. Is it moving around as normal? Limping? Examine it to see if you can spot any obvious problems with its limbs.
When you stroke it, it should be obvious if there are any areas where it would prefer you not to touch.
If your cat is female then are you sure she’s not in heat? Or if your cat is a male then maybe he wants to mate and can smell a female in heat. There are some tell-tale signs that your cat is in heat, but they aren’t definitive.
For instance, if you notice her rolling around on the floor and purring a bit more than usual then this could be a sign. Also, is she more affectionate towards you? If in doubt, take her to the vets to find out for sure!
When a cat becomes old it can experience changes with its senses. It may start forgetting things and become confused in certain environments.
These feelings can understandably unsettle a cat and it may simply be crying out of confusion.
Despite what you might hear, there are things that you can do and some therapy that can be provided. Have a chat with your vet about this.
It might be possible to alleviate the symptoms but the results can be a little unpredictable.
Could it be true that the answer is as simple as this? Your little (but very loud) bundle of fur is just hungry? It’s unlikely maybe but definitely possible.
Give your cat some food just before you go to bed. Otherwise, you may find that after a few hours they go for a snack and there’s nothing there.
So, they tell you about this in the only way they know how! Which is going outside, getting on the roof and meowing as loudly as they can.
Hmm now I think about it, this probably isn’t very likely, is it? Surely if they were hungry they’d just meow in your face just after you fall asleep?
Cats crying at night superstition – Conclusion
If you hear a cat crying at night don’t panic! It is highly unlikely to signify an imminent death. A cat’s cries at night don’t usually last long and typically the reason will be easily discovered and peace will reign again.
You’ll be getting that much-deserved sleep once more in no time! Look out for signs of something more serious and if in doubt, get your cat checked out by the vet.
If you’ve heard of the Cats Crying at Night Superstition – more often than not, there’s nothing to worry about! Just work out what your cat wants – break up the fight if that’s the cause!
How did the superstition about cats crying at night originate? I’m sorry to disappoint but no one, despite what they may claim online, actually knows the answer for sure. It’s easy to speculate but not possible to confirm.
One final thing, maybe a cat cries at night because it is feeling bored. Make sure you play with it more during the day. If you want a sure way of keeping your cat happy, take a look at this toy – our cats love it!
If you’d like to hear what our cats sound like (they’re Maine Coons and have a very distinctive sound) then please take a look at the below videos from our YouTube channel – we’re quite new so would love it if you’d care to subscribe!