How to Stop MEOWING! 6 Ways to Silence Loud Mouth #Cats

My Siamese wannabe Seren lived to be 21-years-old, and she talked constantly. We relished her kitty conversations, but some cats over-indulge and pet parents want to stop cat meowing.

Karma-Kat rarely talks unless we address him, and doesn’t randomly meow. Mostly, Karma comments center around FOOD and TREATS. Yes, he understands the words, and his “meow” is typically a “yes, please” answer to our questions!

how to stop cat meowing

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How to Stop Cat Meowing

Recently we had a discussion with some of my Facebook friends and colleagues who have new kitties with — let us say — loud mouth issues, LOL! How to stop cat meowing can be a huge challenge, especially with kittens and demanding older cats.NEW-KITTEN-COVER-lorez

I figured this was the purr-fect time to share some of the information from a couple of my books, particularly since kitten season is here. COMPLETE KITTEN CARE has some tips on choosing your new kitten based on breed (of course, strays may choose you!). When you want to stop cat meowing that pesters you, one of the best ways is choose a cat that meows less frequently.

A few cat breeds are famous for their loud voices. Siamese-type cats are known for their distinctive meows and love to hold long—and loud—conversations with their humans. If you adopt one of these kittens, they’ll always get in the last word!

BREED MEOW TENDENCIES (from Complete Kitten Care)

  • Highly active, in-your-face: Abyssinian, Balinese, Bombay, Burmese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Egyptian Mau, Javanese, Oriental Longhair, Oriental Shorthair, Russian Blue, Siamese, Somali, Tonkinese
  • Less active “lap sitter”: American Wirehair, Birman, British Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian, Ragdoll, Snowshoe
  • Vocal, opinionated: Balinese, Color-point Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Javanese, Oriental Longhair, Oriental Shorthair, Siamese, Tonkinese
  • Quiet, prefers watching: American Wirehair, Birman, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, Havana Brown, Korat, Scottish Fold, Snowshoe
  • High-fashion models, requires lots of grooming: Exotic, Himalayan, Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold (longhair)

KITTEN MEOWING & CAT COMMUNICATION

Cat communication begins early in life. Kittens less than three weeks old vocalize a defensive spit, contented purr, and distress call (similar to adult meow) if the baby becomes isolated, cold, or trapped. Interestingly, the call for “cold” sounds much higher pitched and disappears from the repertoire once the kitten can self-regulate body temperature at about four weeks of age.

stop kitten meowing

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Cat Meowing Explained

Cats rarely meow at each other. They learn to direct meows at humans because we reward them with attention. Each cat learns by association that meowing prompts feeding, access to locations, and other resources provided by humans. Some cats learn to produce unique meows for each circumstance.

Humans often overlook body language that makes up a great deal of cat communication, but feline yowls, growls, hisses and purrs get our undivided attention—especially at 5:00 a.m.

NEW-CatCompet-lorezDEALING WITH CATERWAULING (from ComPETability: CATS)

In multi-pet homes, troublemakers (other pets pestering) may prompt problem meowing. Cats introduced to other cats or dogs for the first time often meow more as a result. Felines use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with other cats, but seem to reserve “meows” primarily for talking to their people. Meows are demands: let me OUT, let me IN, pet me, play with me, FEED me! As the cats become more passionate and insistent, meows grow more strident and lower-pitched.

meowing

Image courtesy of Deposit Photos.com

Giving in to cat meowing demands tells Sheba that pestering works to get her way, and any response such as putting the pillow over your head, yelling at her, or pushing her off the bed still gives her the attention she craves. The only way to extinguish this behavior is to totally ignore the cat.

That means, you DON’T get up to feed her; you DON’T indulge in toe-tag games; you DON’T yell at her, spray her with water, or give any attention at all. That’s hard to do when she’s paw-patting your nose, or shaking the windows with yowls. It can take weeks to months to get rid of this behavior once established, but with patience, it can be done.

CLICK! TO GET YOUR 6 TIPS TO STOP MEOWING!

Before You STOP CAT MEOWING: VET ALERT!

For some reason, cats tend to become more vocal when suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure), which can be a result of kidney or heart disease. When Sheba can’t hear her own voice any longer, she tends to meow louder and longer. Excessive meowing also may be a sign of deafness in aging cats or even kitty Alzheimer’s (feline cognitive disorder).  Check with your veterinarian about excessive meowing in any cat and learn more about cat health and behavior issues from A-to-Z in CAT FACTS.

Here’s a fun Infographic that was shared with me–does any of this look familiar to you? How do you deal with bedtime pester bugs? Do tell!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!


Comments

How to Stop MEOWING! 6 Ways to Silence Loud Mouth #Cats — 32 Comments

  1. I’m a yeower. I start singing right after TW goes to bed at around 1 a.m. She used to get up to see if I was in distress but lately she’s been annoying me. She says I sound like a cat in heat up on a fence outside caterwauling. I’ve been spayed but I just want attention.

  2. My sweet, loving, beautiful, snow-white weegie (Norwegian Forest Cat) has been very vocal ever since I brought him home at six weeks old (about 7 years ago). This is a very good article (thank you), but it won’t help my current situation. Nicolai often walks around talking and yowling to himself and/or nobody. His hearing is good, and I don’t think he’s senile. Except for asthma, he’s healthy. But as soon as he wakes up from a nap, he starts talking and whining LOUDLY, and it will go on for a few minutes. He also does it at night. I don’t respond to him, and he gets no attention, either positive or negative. I simply dismiss it as a minor irritant sometimes.

    I recently got married. Hubby likes and enjoys my three kitties, but Nicolai is keeping him awake at night. If I can’t find a way to keep Nicolai quiet at night, I may have to give him away, and it will break my heart. Tonight I will try Benadryl, an antihistamine that cats can have. I hope it helps, but I can’t keep giving Nicolai drugs every night, either. Sigh …

    I’m still seeking a remedy that doesn’t involve giving up my baby (or a muzzle … lol). Suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

    • Hi Tricia,

      My best advice, without doing a full workup and consult, is to confine Nicolai at night in a room of his own, across the house from your bedroom so you don’t hear him.

      Good luck!

  3. Hi Amy!

    Almost 6 months ago I brought a gorgeous Exotic Shorthair (tortoiseshell coloured) female , Cleo, to my home. She’s 1 year old now. I live with my family (we are 4 humans) in a 2500 sq ft duplex (7th floor) and we have no other pets. I did quite a lot of research about this breed even before having her with me, and I learned these cats are really quiet…

    … but she is not. She meows an *awful lot*. From my observations, she meows like 80% of the time because she wants playing, maybe less than 10% because she’s getting too much cuddling from me and the rest of the time usually because she wants some door opened for her. My main problem is that most of the time she has not enough with a toy (I have balls, mice-shaped toys and some improvised stuff like ropes with something attached to them; anyway I have to point that curiously the toys she prefers the most are my hair bands). She has to have *me playing with her* where she wants (usually in the corridor near the stairs) or she would turn *really really noisy*. And she can be like this for hours everyday. I tried to ignore her, but I can prevent the rest of the family from eventualy paying attention, so training gets really hard (while not impossible).

    Is there anything more I can do? Maybe some kind of really-enjoyable and interactive toy (that doesn’t require my intervention) capable to get all of her attention? Any other means to have her entertained consistently without me?

    Thanks in advance! Kisses!

    • Hi Cassie, Congrats on your new lovely kitty, Cleo! Yep, they can be pretty demanding. Creating a schedule (and not deviating from it…) as well as training the rest of your FAMILY (LOL!) is the key. There are some fun interactive toys, self-engaging that the cats can play with by themselves, too. PetSafe has some nice ones like Frolicats brands. Good luck!

      • Thank you so much Amy!

        I’m working that out (family education lol) right now. Thanks for the link, gonna check it out!

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  6. My deaf cat hates me, he has never sat on my lap,won’t let me hold him and has attacked me several times. He will allow my grandson to carry him under his arms with his legs and belly dragging along the ground. He is extremely vocal. I feel used

  7. Thanks for this wonderful piece. I will forward this article to my friend, they have been saying their cat has some issues and keeps meeowing in the night.

  8. Hi I have a domestic Short hair tabby cat and I was just wondering how I can keep him from meowing at 8 o’clock in the morning?

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  10. Thanks for this wonderful piece. I need to share this with my neighbour. I will ask my dad to buy this book as a secret santa for them and insert the link on a sticknote. Sorry they have 2 cats which sing/meowing on our wall almost every night around 3am. 🙁

  11. I just got a 9 week old kitten and he screams at everything. I think he just wants attention 24/7 as he always wants to be on me. He’s the cutest thing and I love him but how do I help him get a little more independent and quiet?

    • Hi Julie, sorry for the delay. Much of the squalling should calm with maturity. It’s also helpful for YOU to learn when he’s truly in distress, and when it’s simply crying for attention. You’ll want to address the “help me!” cries, but responding too much to the “pet me/play with me” cries can train him to continue the behavior. It’s a balancing act. Thanks for visiting and commenting on the blog and congrats on your new kitty!

  12. Hi Amy! I was happy to find your article because our approach to curb our cat’s (domestic short hair tabby) meowing is not working. Background: We got our cat from a shelter about two months ago and she is an adorable 1 year old who is super sweet and otherwise extremely well behaved(no scratching, biting, clawing, and loves to spend time with us). Our only issue is the CONSTANT meowing. We tried the ignore method for over a month but nothing has changed. My partner has resorted to yelling at her and eventually spraying her in the face but I don’t think she has the sense to associate it with the fact that she is meowing causing her to get mad at us and hide under the couch. The odd thing is she does not do it when my boyfriend travels for business and she stays with me alone in my apartment. However, the minute he comes home it increases by about half and once we get back to his apartment it’s full blown. I know he is not giving in to her so I don’t know what the difference could be. Any advice? We figure it must have been a behavior learned in her previous life. Does she think she will be left again? Is she uncomfortable around men? The meowing doesn’t sound like she’s scared or upset it’s a bit shrill and always the same pitch. We are staying consistent but feel horrible about having to constantly ignore her and not being able to enjoy her company as much as we’d like. I’m sure it can’t be fun for her to be ignored. She can be a bit of a dumb dumb and we are concerned she isn’t making the connection. If she stops meowing and we go over to reward to her she just starts right back up again the moment we get near her and we have to walk away. So frustrating. Thanks!

    • Oh my, how frustrating for you. If it primarily happens when your boyfriend is there, and not when you’re alone, there is something that rewards the behavior. Meows tend to be bids for attention so — when you’re alone with her she has you to herself. When he’s there, you pay more attention to him, perhaps, and she mews to get in on the attention? Also, timing is key–if you go to her when she’s silent but it happens too quickly after silence begins, she may think, “the longer I meow, the greater the chance I’ll get attention!” Maybe think about an alternative behavior to cue (chasing a feather toy?) when she’s quiet, that keeps her busy without resorting to meows. Good luck!

      • What made the difference for us was your advice about how even bad attention is still rewarding the behavior. As mentioned, after a month of the ignore method not working we had admittedly resorted to yelling and a spray bottle but it did absolutely nothing because as you said, it was still providing the attention. After paying more attention to my boyfriends interactions with her, he finally came to the realization that he is giving into the meowing way too soon and has now stopped that behavior. We were told by the vet it would take a couple weeks to improve but it took our cat about two months to show any change after sticking to the ignore only method. As per your advice, we also wait longer when she stops meowing before giving her attention she has to be sitting relaxing before we engage. It has now reduced to about half and strangely seemed to have happened overnight. We’re really relieved because we’re trying to have kids and had serious concerns about whether we could even keep her (used to meow in our face if we were doing anything but sitting still on the couch). I also STRONGLY recommend people get an automatic feeder so your cat dissociates you from food. I fed her via the bowl for a week when we were traveling and she started associating me with food again and meowed in my face starting hours before meal time for the entire week. We also got her a tall elaborate cat tree (we live in a small city apartment) so she leaves us alone a lot more now probably feels like she has her own space. Thanks again!

  13. I have a male ragdoll he always meows at night or even during the day but he’s worse at night while we try watching tv or when where going to bed he just walks arould the house meowing driving us crazy and he meows at the front door a lot because he wonts to get out but our cat is a inside cat has been since he was a kitten but because we live on a highway I won’t let him outside it’s too dangerous with cars going up and down he could get ran over so he’s a inside cat . As much as I love him his meowing needs to stop it really dose can anyone help me with this please as I need it to stop .

    • Unfortunately, as I say in the tips guide, it will get worse before it gets better. But you must follow the tips provided. There is no magic wand! When you pay attention to him (with good OR bad attention) that rewards him and encourages the meowing to continue.

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