It’s a fact of life – cats meow. It is one of the ways they communicate their needs to us. If you believe that your cat’s meowing is excessive, you need to understand why your cat is vocalizing in order to change his or her behavior.
Cats, especially young ones, are naturally most active late at night and early in the morning. If this is generally when your cat’s meowing occurs, read our article Crepuscular Cats for recommendations.
Change of Routine
Cats like stability and predictability. Changes, whether major (moving, a new pet or person in the home, altered schedule) or minor (rearranged furniture, new litter) can upset some cats; meowing is a reaction to the stress they feel. Providing a new toy and offering some quiet cuddle time with your cat (ideally when she is not meowing) should help to reduce her stress and get her mind off what is worrying her. Try to provide as much consistency and stability as you can. For instance, if you have moved, keep feeding her at the same times as you did before the move; decide from day one where the litter boxes and pet beds will be and put them there, rather than moving them as you unpack. When she is more comfortable with the change the meowing will stop. A Comfort Zone® diffuser can be beneficial for cats in new or drastically altered environments. Speak with your veterinarian about giving Rescue Remedy® to your cat if she isn’t relaxing after a few days.
A sudden increase in vocalizing, especially in an older cat, may be an indication that she is sick. Cats do a good job of hiding their illnesses; often a behavior change is the first sign that there is something wrong. Take your cat to your veterinarian for a thorough physical examination to make sure she is healthy.
Cats often meow in order to get attention and much of the time they are successful. This can become a vicious cycle, though; you pet your cat to make her be quiet, she learns that being noisy gets attention so she meows more, so you pet her more…. The cure for this type of meowing is to ignore it. Any type of attention, including telling her to be quiet, reinforces the behavior. Walk out of the room if you must, but don’t give in to your cat’s calls. Do give attention when she is quiet or engaged in another behavior that you find acceptable – sitting in the window or rubbing against your leg, for instance. For more information, read our article Improper Attention Seeking.
Some breeds, such as the Siamese and Tonkinese, are predisposed to being talkative. This can be modified somewhat by not giving attention during meowing; however, if you prefer a quiet pet, it is best to avoid a cat that has an Oriental look: triangular-shaped head; long legs; and slim body.