Categories: meow

How can I stop my cat meowing?

On the Internet some cat owners ask: “How can I stop my cat meowing?” and I find the question rather strange to be perfectly honest. It implies that their cat is making too much noise. Although the question is about meowing which is a specific vocalization of the domestic cat.

Meowing is normally used by a cat to make a demand upon their human owner. So if a cat is meowing too much it may be that his or her demand is not being met which means the solution to the so-called problem falls at the feet of the cat owner in satisfying the cat’s demand.

Photo: FreeUsePhotos

Attention Seeker

Some say that domestic cats can be attention seekers. They meow ‘unnecessarily’ at their owner. They say that the way to stop this is to ignore your cat. I have never ignored my cat if he meows at me. I like it. It is part of the relationship. If anything I would suggest that most cat owners don’t get enough meowing from their cat because normal cat owners like it. You have a domestic cat to interact with him or her, to be friends, to make you happy, to entertain you and you can’t achieve those objectives without interacting with your cat which can lead to meowing.

Surprise

So my initial reaction to the question is one of surprise. If you extend the meaning of meowing to other vocalizations then it widens the scope of this article. For example, some elderly cats can become confused and howl at night perhaps seeking their owner’s reassurances. The me the answer to that particular issue is to respond positively and if at all possible to go to your cat even if it is in the middle of the night. After all you are awake because you heard your cat therefore why not get up to see whether you can stop the howling. Some cats howl at their water bowls.

Punish

One thing you cannot do to stop howling or any unwanted vocalization is to punish your cat. This is a complete no-no. It doesn’t do any good and simply distances the cat’s owner from the cat emotionally.

Sometimes a cat might meow a lot for an obvious reason such as he or she is trapped in a room or wants to come inside the house and there’s no cat flap. A cat owner cannot complain about that because the solution is straightforward: let her in.

Caterwauling

Caterwauling is a very distinctive sound made by courting cats as its primary function is sexual. However, it is an aggressive threatening sound made by sexual territorial rivals. It can be heard at any time when two or more cats are fighting so sometimes it is not associated with sexual encounters. The sound is disturbing and discordant. I would suggest that this sound is made quite infrequently and as such it shouldn’t disturb any cat owner who likes a bit of peace and quiet.

Stress?

A stressed cat might become more vocal than normal. The solution in this instance is to discover the source of the stress and remove it. Humans create the environment under which cats live and therefore if a cat is stressed it will be because of his owner and the solution lies with the owner.

Loneliness

Loneliness might be a cause of excessive vocalizations in a domestic cat. Personally I have not experienced this and I doubt whether most cat owners will because if the cat is lonely he or she is alone and therefore the owner is not around to observe the vocalizations. The answer will be to ensure that your cat is less lonely if at all possible.

Greeting

If a cat owner is disturbed because their cat meows when they return home then they should not own a cat. This is one of the great pleasures of owning a cat.

Demand

As mentioned, the classic circumstance under which a cat meows is when they demand food. It is quite normal and to be expected. It is said that the meow has been developed by the domestic cat as a means to speak to their owner and the primary reason why a cat speaks to their owner is to make a request. No owner should dislike this. It’s a good thing and the owner simply asked to respond positively.

Ill?

An important aspect of excessive meowing or vocalizing is that the cat may be ill. Normally, in my experience, when cats are ill they go quiet and find a place to hide so the opposite happens. However, a cat might cry in pain and discomfort and I’m told by a veterinarian that an overactive thyroid or kidney disease can result in excessive meowing.

Siamese

I’m sure most cat owners will know that the Siamese cat and associated breeds such as the Oriental Shorthair are known to like using their voice. And their voice is very particular in its tone. No other cat is quite so noisy. The voice can sound raucous and persistent. The volume is loud. This may irritate some cat owners. Others might find it charming. A person who adopts a Siamese cat should be aware of this trait. If you are the sort of person who might dislike it then the answer is obvious. It’s a question of doing your research before adopting a cat.

Silent Meow

Conversely, there are some cats that are almost silent such as the silent meow of the British Shorthair. It doesn’t have to be a breed of cat because some individual cats meow quietly or even silently. Once again this is a question of taking proactive action and adopting a cat which you believe is not going to meow too much or too loudly.

Acceptance

The ultimate solution is for the owner to take a mindset which allows them to accept their cat’s traits and characteristics. And they should know those characteristics before adopting.

I suspect that the question in the title comes from cat owners who are not ideally suited to looking after a domestic cat. I don’t think the question comes from Siamese cat owners because these people know Siamese cat characteristics before adopting. It’ll be the cat owner who lacks knowledge, who doesn’t really understand domestic cats who complains that their cat is too noisy. They shouldn’t have a cat.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • My cats chatter all the time. Mercy sounds like a little fax machine most of the night. The only time their nonsense disturbs me is when it gets too quiet in the house.

  • I love my cat's voices, each miaow has so many vowels and so many different notes, it is like being sung a little song. I try to join in, but our tongues are nowhere near as bendy as that of the cat!

      • Both of them, better quality of conversation see!

        Have you read The Silent Miaow by Paul Galico?

        The silent miaow is considered the big gun of miaows, the ultimate in pleading. No human can resist. 😺

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