Cats often meow and yowl to get attention from their humans. Though meowing may be natural for cats, excessive meowing can become increasingly annoying and frustrating.
Many cats begin meowing at night for various reasons, from hunger or thirst, loneliness or health concerns. To stop this behavior from escalating further, it’s best to identify its source before working towards redirecting it.
Keep the Cat Busy
Meowing is a cat’s way of communicating with humans, and many cats will meow constantly when seeking things or voicing concerns. Kittens meow to notify their mother they need food or warmth, while adult cats usually only communicate through meowing with humans directly – although they may meow at doors demanding entrance or exit; or as an attempt to attract attention.
Keep your cat entertained by playing with them, giving them toys, and providing interesting places for them to sleep. For maximum activity and entertainment value, choose toys which engage their natural instincts such as hunting and stalking; such as string-on-a-stick type toys, fishing rod toys or snapback stretchy toys. Catnip and other scented toys can also provide hours of amusement – make sure that you rotate and hide toys regularly so that they remain fun for your pet!
If your cat is meowing frequently because she wants you to play with her, it is essential that she breaks out of the habit of demanding attention with each meow. One effective strategy for doing this is providing plenty of playtime during the day while ignoring her when she doesn’t ask for it; though this might prove challenging if your cat has become used to having someone sit next to them; in such instances it might help if she knows you will leave when her meowing starts and come back when quiet again.
Encourage her independence by temporarily hiding some of her favorite toys during the day and reintroducing them later, using catnip to add extra excitement when you do reintroduce them.
If your cat has suddenly started meowing frequently at night, it is advisable to visit their veterinarian as soon as possible. Older cats may begin experiencing cognitive dysfunction which causes confusion which leads them to meow more frequently than normal. This is particularly relevant if they start meowing out at odd hours of the night or appear unwell or uncomfortable.
Don’t Give In
If your cat has taken to meowing at night and you reward it each time, they may learn that this behavior gets them what they want – be that attention, food, petting or a walk. Instead of giving in and rewarding this behaviour with attention or food or petting or walks, try offering something fun like a new toy before or after they start meowing; just make sure they offer it before it begins or once they quiet down.
If a cat is meowing for attention, it’s important to keep in mind that they could be meowing to any member of their environment or family as a whole, rather than specifically trying to gain it from you. They could be lacking sufficient stimulation; make sure they have plenty of toys to play with each day as well as spending some time grooming or playing with them; this way they will likely settle down faster! A tired pet tends to be calmer!
Meowing cats could be in heat or searching for a mate. If this behavior bothers or wakes you at night, take steps to have your cat neutered or spayed as soon as possible; their instinctive meowing should stop after having been fixed.
If none of the reasons above can be resolved, it may be best not to respond when your cat meows. By not responding, they may eventually learn not to expect an answer and stop meowing altogether. If they persist in meowing, try looking away or going into another room until they stop making noises. When speaking with them directly, remain calm and brief. Do not yell or scare them as this will only encourage more vocalization and could cause health issues for them. If silence is impossible, try turning on some white noise to mask their meowing temporarily until you can teach them not to meow anymore. Additionally, never hit or yell at your cat for meowing as this reinforces their behavior while scaring them of you and may worsen things further.
Reward Quiet Behavior
If your cat continues to meow even when distracted or ignored, or after having been ignored for some time, rewarding only quiet behavior may help. By doing this, it will show them that their meowing no longer gets them what they desire: attention. Training them to sit for treats while they yowl is one way of accomplishing this; giving attention once they stop meowing will do just as well; this process may take some time but will work eventually.
Many cats meow when they want food. If you feed them when they meow, they may continue doing it because their demand gets an immediate response from you. Try waiting until they are quiet before feeding them again or invest in an automatic feeder with scheduled opening times.
Other cats tend to meow for attention; if yours does this at night, engage them early in the evening in play to tire them out. If they’re meowing at the door instead, if possible leave another room until their meowing has subsided before returning home.
Finally, some cats meow because of an internal clock or medical condition which prevents them from sleeping soundly. If this seems like the case for your cat, speak to their veterinarian to see what treatments could help him or her sleep more soundly.
Assign them a verbal cue such as “sit.” When they begin meowing, ignore it and mark their desired behavior with a clicker and treat. Repeat this training session until your cat reliably stops meowing when you give the cue. At that point, use hand signals instead or in addition to verbal cues for communication purposes. Hold out your arm at a 90-degree angle with palm up, and as they meow move it slowly in circles around them; mark their behavior when they stop with a click and treat. Gradually decrease frequency until they understand that quiet behaviors now earn them attention from you.
If your cat is meowing excessively in the morning and evening, they likely want you to get up out of bed or feed her. To teach them to stop meowing, try ignoring when she does it and only responding when they quiet down – this takes patience, but will teach her that their meowing won’t earn her any additional attention from you.
Punishing her will only backfire; in fact, it could make her meow more often. Never hit or strike out at your cat during play time if it bites or scratches you; this only reinforces its behavior and may make it fearful of you; thus fuelling further meowing from her side. Instead, leave the room when she begins meowing and return only when she has quietened down before returning.
One way to stop her from meowing is to provide something engaging for her to do – this could include something as simple as placing her on her mat or playing with her in another room, but interactive toys like paper bag tunnels, catnip mice or puzzle feeders may help. Just make sure you give her the toy before she begins meowing so you can reward her when she stops meowing with some attention.
Finally, don’t respond to her begging. Feeding her when she meows will only reinforce this behavior and teach her that meowing her way into food. Instead, move out of the room when she starts meowing until her begging has stopped and return only then to feed her.
Once your cat has learned to stop meowing, it is vitally important that the training continues. Otherwise, she may revert back to old habits and continue meowing all night long again. If all else has failed and she still meows excessively, it might be worthwhile visiting a veterinarian to rule out any possible health problems, such as anxiety or arthritis – this will allow you to try more effective forms of discipline before giving her any medications.