By Gayle Hickman
Affectionate cat Are there some days when your cat just won't be quiet? When you hear meow after meow after meow and don't understand what your furry friend is trying to tell you?
Here are 7 possible reasons behind your cat's calls:
1. "Look at Me! Look at Me!"
Just as a child learns to cry when he wants something, excessive cat meowing sometimes is the feline's way of getting what what he wants. If your cat is always meowing to initiate play or to seek your attention, stop responding every time you hear her meow. Give her attention only when she is quiet. When she begins meowing again, walk away.
Don't completely ignore her - spend quality time with her every day, playing and talking with her. Let her know she is loved. Consider getting a pet sitter if she's left home alone for most of the day.
The attention-seeking meows are not quickly stopped; nor are they easily brought to an end. Breaking this cycle will take time and patience. Teaching your cat that she will be rewarded for being quiet is quite a task. Keep rewarding quiet behavior while ignoring the ongoing meows. Eventually she will get the idea.
Related: 6 Tips To Make Your Cat Be More Affectionate
So, what kind of rewards are we talking about? Sophia Yin, DVM, MS (a veterinarian and animal behavior expert), suggests that you use food to teach your cat that quietness is rewarding. Give her bite-size treats or kibble, making sure she finishes each one with just one or two bites. Instead of pouring her kibble into a bowl, feed it to her one piece at a time, teaching her to sit quietly for several seconds to receive the treat. Always reward her before the meowing kicks in, as well as before she gets up. This method is the quickest way to teach a kitty that sitting quietly has its rewards.
2. "I'm Not Feeling Well"
Meowing is a cat's way of vocal communication. Your cat may be trying to tell you of a discomfort she may have or that something is not quite right. If your cat is always meowing at night, she could be suffering from hyperthyroidism (usually seen in cats older than 10). Other medical possibilities that may be causing the nonstop meowing are high blood pressure and/or kidney disease. A trip to the veterinarian is in line, especially if the continuous meowing is a new behavior.
3. "Feed Me!"
Many cats become incredibly vocal when feeding time approaches. Getting an automatic feeder that opens at set times will entice kitty to meow at the feeder - not at you. (Also, have you checked your cat's water bowl? Maybe it's empty, and Fluffy's trying to tell you so. And why we're on the subject, have you cleaned the litterbox? Is the entrance blocked to it? These things might all be additional reasons for the extra meows.)
Related: Cats As Therapy Pets
4. "I'm Totally Stressed Out"
A nervous or stressed cat often becomes meowy. Any changes in home, an illness or the loss of a loved one can trigger stress in a cat. Once you figure out what is stressing her, you will be able to help her adjust to the changes. Give her extra attention and quiet time during this adjustment period.
5. "I'm Getting Old… and Kinda Confused"
As with humans, cats can suffer from a form of mental confusion because of aging. Becoming disoriented, they often meow pathetically for no apparent reason, especially at night. Try a nightlight if the cat seems to experience nighttime disoriention.
6. "I Want to Breed"
Female cats go crazy with the vocalizations when they are in heat, and male cats reciprocate when they smell the female in heat. This can be a maddening noise to live with, so do what Bob Barker always told us and have your pet spayed or neutered!
7. "Just Saying Hello"
Your cat may begin meowing as soon as you walk in the door after a long day at work. Sure, you may be tired and ready for your own quiet time, but take this meowing as a compliment. Isn't it great to know that you are loved by your kitty?
Check out more from WebVet and PetsAdviser!
Understanding the language of cats
How Old Is My Pet? Correctly Calculate Your Dog or Cat's Age!
3 Symptoms of Deafness in Cats
By Gayle Hickman