Why Does Your Cat Meow So Much?
5 May, 2015
Our cats love to meow and some more than others. Kittens meow to let their mother know they’re cold or hungry, but once they get a bit older, cats no longer meow to other cats. But they continue to meow to people throughout their lives, probably because meowing can get us to do what they want! Cats also yowl, a sound similar to the meow but more drawn out and melodic. Some breeds meow more than other, like the Siamese cat who is quite the talkative one.
If you think your cat is meowing excessively and that this is a new and unusual pattern, make sure to take your cat to your veterinarian to rule out any medical condition.
Below are some reasons why your cat might be meowing:
To greet people. Your cat can be expected to meow in greeting when you come home, when she meets up with you in the house or yard, and when you speak to her.
To get attention. Cats enjoy social contact with people and some will be very vocal in their requests for attention. Your cat might want to be pet, played with or simply talked to. Cats who are left alone for long periods of time each day may be more likely to meow for attention.
The more I meow, the more attention I get!
To ask for food. Most cats like to eat and they can be quite demanding around mealtimes. Some cats learn to meow whenever anyone enters the kitchen, just in case food might be coming. Others meow to wake you up to serve them breakfast. Cats also learn to beg for human food by meowing.
To ask to be let in or out. Meowing is the cat’s primary way to let you know what she wants. If she wants to go outside, she’ll likely learn to meow at the door. Likewise, if she’s outdoors and wants in, she’ll meow to get you to let her back inside.
Elderly cats can become very vocal. Elderly cats suffering from mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, may meow if they become disoriented—a frequent symptom of this feline version of Alzheimer’s Disease or just because they aren’t even sure what they want!
How to help your cat to become less vocal (if it bothers you)
Before you try to stop your cat’s excessive meowing, you need to determine its cause. Look at the circumstances around her meowing and make note of what seems to get her to stop. Once you identify when she’s likely to meow excessively, try some of these recommendations to help her control her vocalizations:
To help with all the meowing, make sure your kitty is getting enough exercise. A tired cat is a quieter cat. The first step in breaking this habit is to exercise your cat daily with active play sessions. Don’t expect your kitty to do it all by herself. Many cats will swat at a ping-pong ball or a catnip mouse once or twice then lose interest. Give your kitty a good workout and expend some of her energy (particularly before bedtime is he or she keeps you up).
If your cat meows to say hello, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do much to change things and I’m sure you don’t want to change that!
If your cat is meowing for attention, teach your kitty that you’ll only pay attention to her when she’s quiet. Be patient and wait for a brief moment of silence. Immediately give her the attention she craves. If she starts to meow again, walk away, and only return to her when she’s quiet. If you’re consistent, she will learn to quiet down (and throw in some extra love and petting).
If you think your cat cries out of loneliness because you spend too much time away, consider having a pet sitter come during the day to visit and play with her. Or adopt a sibling if you have a one cat household. Win for both of them!
If your cat meows at you for food, stop feeding her when she cries! Feed her at prescribed times so she learns that it’s not worth asking for food at other times. If that doesn’t work, buy an automatic feeder that you can schedule to open at specific times. At least then she’s more likely to meow at the feeder than at you!
Make sure to spay and/or neuter your kitties as they are very vocal when in heat!
What you shouldn’t do if your cat is meowing:
Once you figure out the why or when your cat meows, you can help curb the behavior. However, if your cat just starts excessively meowing, it’s safe to assume that something’s wrong: your kitty might not have access to her litter box, her water bowl is empty or she may be locked up somewhere. Always make sure that your kitties’ needs are met before assuming that she’s just being demanding by meowing at you.
AND as always, don’t ever scold your cat for meowing too much. It could have a lasting effect on your kitty’s meowing behavior and will only scare your poor kitty.
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