Cat meowing can certainly become annoying or worrisome if your cat is meowing constantly, loudly or all night long. Your cat may be meowing because they want attention, they’re bored, hungry, stressed out, their litter box needs cleaning, they want to breed, or perhaps it’s something more serious like pain, illness, or age-related difficulties. Let’s talk about how to determine the reason why your cat keeps meowing, and how to stop it.
Why Do Cats Meow?
Some cats are vocal and some aren’t. How much they meow may depend on their unique personality. When my kitten, Whiskers, was very young, he barely made a peep. Now that he’s getting older, he’s quite chatty, especially in the morning! I had a cat once named, Miss Abigail who would meow, meow, meow first thing every morning, as if to report the night’s events!
Her older sister, on the other hand – quiet as a mouse (get it…cat…mouse…lol) Regardless, here are some common reasons why a cat meows.
They want attention. Your cat might just be the chatty type and is simply communicating with you. If this becomes annoying, don’t respond. Only give them attention when they’re quiet. If they don’t stop, walk away. If they still won’t stop, read on.
They’re bored. Make sure you’re giving your cat enough attention every day and that they’re getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. You might consider a bird feeder outside a window, or interactive toys. You can get specific help with this in my article, How to Keep Indoor Cats Happy.
They’re lonely. If your cat is left alone a lot, you might consider getting a house sitter or a trusted friend or neighbor to stop over for a short visit with your cat. Refer to my article, Leaving Cats Home Alone for tips on keeping your cat safe and comfortable when you’re not there.
They’re hungry or thirsty. Make sure their food and water bowls aren’t empty, and also make sure you’re feeding your cat enough. For help on how much to feed your cat, read my article, How to Take Care of a Cat.
They’re having litter box issues. Some cats will meow constantly if their litter box isn’t clean, or if they’re having some sort of issue with it! For help in determining if this is the problem, read my article, 10 Reasons Why Your Cat Won’t Use the Litter Box.
They’re stressed out. You’d probably be surprised to learn some of the things that can stress a cat out. Big changes like a new baby, person or pet coming into the house are more obvious reasons, but they can also get upset about small things like the location of their litter box, sharing with other cats, or even certain scents. For more about this, read my article, 10 Things That Stress Your Cat Out!
They want to breed. If your cat isn’t spayed/neutered, they might meow a lot. Unspayed females will not only meow, but yowl loudly when they’re in heat (Have you ever heard this? It sounds like a baby crying…creepy!) Unneutered males will behave downright obnoxiously when they’re on the prowl for a female; meowing, yowling, spraying, being aggressive…ugh!
For help on this issue, read my article, Free Spay and Neuter Clinics, which talks a bit more in depth about this topic.
Age related reasons. For help determining if your elderly cat is having problems, read my article, How to Help and Aging Cat, which discusses symptoms you can look out for and ways to help your cat. You should contact your vet if your cat is showing symptoms like a change in their appetite, weight gain or loss, poor grooming, not using the litter box, crying (especially at night), or getting lost or confused.
And certainly, they may begin to meow more often if they’re having health or age-related issues.
Why Does My Cat Meow at Night?
Cats aren’t exactly nocturnal (refer to my article, How Much Do Cats Sleep?) but they are usually active during the night. I once had a pair of cats who sounded like a heard of elephants running around the house playing together every night. Luckily, they didn’t meow loudly, so I could usually sleep despite the activity.
If your cat is meowing at night, they may want to go outside, or they’re meowing for one of the reasons we’ve discussed here. Check with the vet if you think it’s excessive, especially if it’s more like yowling or crying or if it’s loud. If your cat’s health checks out ok, consider providing your cat with more activity during the day and something to entertain them at night like interactive cat toys.
If you’re baffled as to why your cat is meowing so much, especially if it’s excessive or constantly, your cat may be sick. Cats have a natural tendency to hide illness, so if it’s gotten to the point where they’re becoming vocal, lethargic, not eating…you need to call the vet right away.
Some health issues that may cause constant meowing are kidney disease, overactive thyroid, problems urinating, and several other possibilities. If you think there’s something wrong, you’re probably right. Please call the vet.
Don’t ignore your cat’s meowing without considering whether there’s a problem. You don’t want to reward meowing if it’s inappropriate, but always consider the things we’ve talked about in case your cat needs you to take action.
Don’t ever punish your cat for meowing. Shouting at your cat or hitting them will not be effective and will likely only cause your cat to be afraid of you and stressed out. Cats who are stressed out often develop a whole host of behavioral issues – punishment is just not wise.
Don’t back down. If you’ve determined the cat isn’t having a serious issue and they’ve developed the meowing habit to get what they want, be consistent in not rewarding their behavior. Keep giving the praise and rewards when they’re quiet and not when they’re meowing. Be patient – this may be a hard habit for your cat to break.
Be patient with your kitty! Pets generally don’t do certain things or act a certain way without a perfectly valid reason. It’s our job as pet owners to educate ourselves so we’ll know why they’re doing it and how to stop it if their behavior is problematic. I hope the reasons for cat meowing we’ve discussed in this article have resulted in your figuring out why your cat keeps meowing.
For Help with Cat Behavior
If you feel you need more help with your cat’s behavior, I can recommend a very good resource for cat training called, Complete Cat Training Guide from KingdomofPets.com. This is a downloadable Ebook containing step-by-step instructions on how to solve 25 real-life cat behavior problems. This program is $37 and comes with a full money-back guarantee.
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