Wear ear plugs…Can a cat’s voice be too loud for their human caretaker, even when the caretaker is a good one? A person who shouldn’t really keep a cat might find a lot of things about a cat that are unacceptable. But when a a good cat caretaker becomes a bit desperate about their cat’s loud voice what has gone wrong?
I am pretty sure that 99% of domestic cats do not have voices that are so loud as to cause a problem. Of the remainder the “problem” is about when and how the voice is used.
There is a bit of a culture clash between the domestic cat and the human. Humans routinely are active during daylight hours and go to sleep at night.
Charlie has a loud voice but is silent at night.
Cats are what is called “crepuscular”. They are naturally active at dawn and dusk. These are twilight hours when the cat can see clearly using their boosted eyesight designed for low light hunting. This is the time to hunt. It can extend to being throughout the night. Cats also hunt in the daytime. There preferred “slot” is dawn and dusk.
This takes us to the loud voice problem. If a cat has a loud voice and likes to use it to ask for things and is particularly active during the night, you have the combination of circumstance that results in you developing bags under your eyes.
A lot of people say one way of dealing with this and to stop the cat making demands is to ignore the demands. By responding to a cat’s demands you encourage more demands. It is a case of cat training human. I see the argument and it has some sense. However, we don’t keep a cat to ignore him or her. So this plan is not 100% successful.
Another group of people might suggest that if your cat calls at night with his loud voice demanding attention, you should close the bedroom door and keep him out. That does not work. Cats are very persistent. If you close the door he will probably sit or lie down outside it and wait making intermittent calling sounds. You will feel even worse than if he was in the bedroom because you are doing something that goes against the grain of what comes naturally to a good cat caretaker.
What is the answer in dealing with a cat with a loud voice who makes demands with his voice while you are trying to sleep? The answer is probably about training; not your cat training you but the other way around. This need not be classic cat training but just changes in routine and habit.
Perhaps the first thing to do is to assess what he is being vocal about. Loud vocalisations directed at a human caretaker are usually demands for food. Perhaps making sure he is well fed before bedtime might help. Perhaps playing with him before bedtime might help too. This would be a dusk-time hunting substitute. He might be more inclined to snooze afterward and be less active having had the chance to express his natural desire to hunt.
There is one aspect of nighttime calling that has nothing to do with crepuscular activity. Geriatric cats sometimes call out in the middle of the night because they are alone (we are asleep) and they are confused due to dementia to varying degrees. There is nothing you can do about that but tolerate it. It does not last that long but it will probably keep you awake.
Cats with loud voices are often Siamese cats or moggies with some Siamese in them (Siamese mix). Other individual cats will have loud voices. Many cats have very quiet, almost silent, voices. It is just pot luck unless you adopt a purebred cat when you can select a breed that is known to have a quite voice: the British Shorthair. There are other breeds. I’ll do a page on that next!
I would still adopt a nice random bred cat who needed a home – for me, a far better way to find a cat companion. One lase point: never consider devocalisation.
Associated: Cat Sounds