She’s in Pain or Discomfort
On the other end of the vocalization spectrum are yowls and howls, which are usually associated with pain, illness, or discomfort, Morgan says. Cats sometimes yowl before they vomit, she says, which may mean they’re telling you to get the paper towels ready. Yowling may also be a territorial behavior that cats use when they feel threatened by other cats or animals. If the yowling is excessive, you should take your cat to a veterinarian for an examination, Simms says. Excessive vocalization, like yowling, can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, a common hormonal disease in older cats.
Cats may also start to hide if they are in pain. “Cats are really good at masking sickness,” Simms says. “They can’t show their weakness in the wild.” Over the past decade, an increasing number of studies have found that older cats, especially those 12 and older, have a high incidence of arthritis. One of the most common signs of chronic pain from arthritis is hiding or sleeping more. So if your outgoing and friendly cat suddenly starts avoiding you, call your veterinarian.