Cat Meowing 
What Causes This Annoying Cat Behavior?

Excessive cat meowing can sometimes be very annoying, but we must remember that they are just trying to communicate something, either to us or to other cats. 

Understanding these cat sounds can help us to prevent excessive meowing. 

Over the years our cats have learnt that as humans, we respond to vocal sounds much better than by using body language and scent, which are the main sources of communication in their feline world.

Information On This Page:

1. Why Do Cats Meow?

2. How To Stop Excessive Cat Meowing

Why Do Domestic Cats "Talk"?

When domestic cats meow at us, they are usually trying to tell us that they want something, like "Open the door", "I'm hungry"; or "Hey! Look at me, I want a tickle!"

Many of the cat sounds they make are variations of the mother to kitten chirping sounds. This is because cats see us as a mother figure (as opposed to a leader of the pack like dogs do).

They depend on us for food and comfort and so they behave like kittens around us.

Cats who spend a lot of time around other felines will use a different vocabulary other than meowing, including body language, scent, and other forms of cat communication.

They mainly vocalize with each other at times of mating (caterwauling) and between mother and kitten.

Find out more about cat communication on my other page all about Cat Sounds.

Why Won't My Kitty Stop Meowing?

"If your cat starts to meow more than usual for no apparent reason, it is essential that you check with your vet that such a change in cat behavior is not due to ill health" 

Excessive cat meowing is often caused simply because the animal has learnt that this gets them what they want, when they want it. A bit like a child who learns to cry whenever they want something.

This can become a habit and the cat starts to do it more and more. If it starts to happen all night long or is driving you crazy during the day, then it’s time to break that habit!

Here's a delightful video of a kitty meowing for his dinner time

How To Stop Excessive Cat Meowing

Step One:

Never shout or scold your pet when meowing! Why? cats do not understand shouting as we do, they see it as a positive reaction. I.e they have your attention and that's what all the meowing has been about, so they have got part of what they wanted.

Shouting can also cause fear in your cat and instead of stopping the behavior they simply become afraid of you. That can lead onto all sorts of other problems.

Step Two:

Make sure:

  • Your cat is not unwell, in pain or distressed in any other way. This can be difficult sometimes as cats are very good at hiding their pain. So the first thing to do is to run your hands over their body to see if you get a reaction. Check to make sure your cat hasn't been sick somewhere or urinated or defecated somewhere in the house. If you suspect that your cat is unwell, then a visit to your vet the next day is your best option.

If all is well then check:

  • That your cat has been fed adequately. A hungry cat will demand food no matter what time of day or night it may be.

  • It has access to clean, fresh drinking water. Cats do get thirsty from time to time, so the availability of fresh water is important. often a cat will smack or lick its lips if it is thirsty. I know my cats yell at me if they need a drink and their bowl is empty.

  • It has toys to chase and play with. Cats do not sleep through out the night and so when they wake up they need something to do other than come and wake you up. i always make sure that there are a few toys around to keep them happy. Alternate these toys to keep their interest.

  • It has access to a clean litter tray, or can go outside for the toilet. 

Step Three:

If all these things are taken care of and the cat meowing still won't stop, then the next step is to simply ignore their meowing. Yes i know this is easier said than done but....

Just like kids they can become used to getting what they want when they meow. So you have to break this cycle and get them used to getting what they want when they are quiet. So make sure that you only feed them when they are not constantly meowing at you. they will soon learn that they only get food when they are not creating a fuss. Be strong, It can take a little while for this habit to change. Follow feeding with lots of attention, this will help to reinforce the behavior.

Step Four:

There is a school of thought that recommends you use a skirt or water to stop their cat meowing excessively. However I do not personally like to use the water method, I feel it is a little too severe. Instead we have discovered a much simpler and much less frightening method of stopping our cats ceing excessivily demanding. The face blow, let me explain:

When we first brought Little Mo home, she wouldn't stop meowing and stuck to us like glue which was okay except that we kept falling over her. We were at our wits end when we discovered a neat little trick.

If we blew in her face, just the once, she would stop her meowing at once and go and sit on her cushion. It was like magic.

It wasn't a hard blow, just a little puff of air that surprised her enough to stop herin her tracks, a sort of distraction therapy. we have found that it works with our new cats too. It doesn't hurt them, theya re not afraid , it just surprises them enough to stop what they are doing and move on to something else.

Try this for yourself if all else fails and if the cat meowing and pestering simply won't stop.

Step Five : Prevention

They say prevention is better than cure and preventing excessive cat meowing and waking you up at night in the first place has to be everyone's main goal.

We have devised this night time routine for our cats which helps to settle them down at night, so that they sleep for much longer.

  • About half an hour before we go to bed at night we play a vigorous game with our cats. this normally entails chasing after balls and string. this helps to tire them out and get rid of any excess energy they may have.

  • Then just before we go to bed we give our cats a small meal. This too encourages them to settle down for the night.

  • We make sure that they have toys available in case they wake up at night to keep them occupied. we also make sure that their is some fresh water available.

This method works for us nine times out of ten. Our home does not allow us to keep our cats in a separate room over night and so we have found that carrying out this night time routine has worked well for us. But of course if you are able to provide your cats with a separate room over night then this can be the best option (make sure they have toys, litter and water available in that room though).

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