This is Molly. She's nineteen years old. She's healthy and active. But as she aged, she developed one habit that nearly wore us out: She started yowling at night. We discovered two products that worked like magic to stop the yowling. Now we all sleep peacefully through the night!
This is what cat yowling sounds like:
Imagine hearing that all night long.
Our first step was to take her to the vet for a check up. She was given a clean bill of health. Our vet assured us that she was not suffering. This was just a behavior that some older cats develop. He suggested giving her a night light to help her find her way around at night because her vision isn't what it used to be. Sometimes, he said, cats yowl because they are confused, like elderly humans who are developing dementia. They look around and ask, "Where am I? Where is everyone?"
Dementia? Yes, cats can get that, too.
But Molly seemed pretty alert and "with it" during the day. So we decided to try putting night lights in the hallways to help her navigate around at night. When that didn't work, we moved her cat bed into our bedroom, and moved her food, water, and litter box into the master bath so she didn't have to travel far to get to them. No change. We tried cuddling her. Nope. We tried putting her in a room far away from our bedroom and closing the doors. Nada. We could still hear her, and it broke our hearts to think of her all alone in there.
Another call to our vet brought this response: "It might be time to say goodbye."
But she seemed so happy and healthy otherwise that she didn't seem ready for that yet. And neither were we. So I scoured the internet, and found two products that worked like magic.
The first was a nutritional supplement called Cholodin. It is a choline-loading supplement formulated for older cats. Cholodin® contains choline, amino acids, vitamins, taurine and minerals. These nutrients aid in hearing, memory, muscle tone, alertness, and fur. (In humans, similar formulations appear to aid in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. You can read more about that here.)
With our vet's approval, we started Molly on a daily regimen of Cholodin, and we noticed marked improvement within the first week.
And then we found a second product that stopped the yowling entirely! It is a calming collar that emits a pheromone that mimics the one mother cats produce to calm their kittens. The collar lasts for about a month, and has no long-term side effects. The collars are clinically proven to reduce or eliminate stress-related behavior such as inappropriate marking, destructive behavior, clawing and anti-social behavior. They are also said to help alleviate problem behaviors triggered by travel, thunderstorms, fireworks and new social situations.
Molly stopped yowling the very first night we put the collar on her. And every night since then. We take the collar off in the morning so that she doesn't accommodate to the pheromone. Every month, we switch to a new, fresh collar.
It's been three months, and so far, so good!
Copyright February 5, 2018 Denise Cummins, PhD
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