Cats can be very resourceful in finding ways to attract attention. They want attention, you have no time, then they walk to the bank and extensively sharpen their nails until you respond. You are reading the newspaper, they walk across the newspaper and sit down in the middle of the page that you were just reading. You are asleep and they will tap their cheek against your cheek or jump with their full weight on top of you! It is all used regularly by cats to attract attention. But the most effective way to attract attention is undoubtedly the pervasive, long-lasting meowing that some cats use too badly.
Causes of excessive meowing
In addition to attracting attention, boredom and the fear of being alone, there may also be medical causes, such as dementia and illnesses that make the cat feel unwell. So if you have a cat that often meows, go first with your cat to the vet to have a check if your cat is in good physical condition.
If there is no medical cause, then there is a good chance that you are dealing with acquired behavior, that is to say: the cat has learned that meowing is beneficial to him. That can be a bowl of food, opening the door, calling the cat, stroking the cat, but also yelling at him and chasing him away are forms of attention and in the cat’s eyes therefore rewards for his behavior.
Cats that meow a lot, especially at night
Cats feel more vulnerable at night than during the day. Due to the absence of the owner and the silence in the house and outside, all kinds of sounds suddenly become noticeable during the day. That is why we see this behavior less often with cats who are allowed in the bedroom at night and with cats that have cat friends in the house with whom they sleep together.
Cats can also have too little to do during the day. If a cat cannot go outside during the day and is sleeping all day, he will find it is high time for action at home at night. In that case boredom is the cause.
Prevent and remedy
Ignoring the unwanted behavior is very effective if the behavior has not been around for long. If the cat meows, don’t pay attention to it. So don’t talk to him, shout nothing, don’t even sigh annoyed, but pretend he’s not there. This applies if you are in the bedroom, but also for leaving the bedroom in the morning. If the cat is mewing in front of the door, when you leave the bedroom, first walk on without looking at him to do something else and only then give it attention. Realize that this method only works if you never respond. If you respond occasionally, the behavior will become even more persistent.
Has the cat shown this behavior for a long time and does it also help to ignore it in combination with other measures to ensure that the cat sleeps better at night? Then it’s time to get help from a professional or cat behavior therapist.
Approach unwanted meowing
Ensure that your cat is not bored: Play with the cat regularly. Especially toys that are pulled over the ground are often very popular. Give your cat enough space and challenges. If your cat is alone and still young, it is usually a good idea to have a second cat.
Rewarding the desired behavior: give the cat sufficient attention during the day (especially if it does not require attention by meowing). That reward can be anything that your cat likes, a little play, some treats, petting, etc.
Ignore the unwanted behavior.
Rewarding unwanted behavior: Feed or give another treat or attention when the cat is meowing.
Punish the cat or shout at the cat. Don’t punish your cat if it meows. When the owner punishes me in the case of excessive meowing, two things can happen: The cat sees it as a form of attention and then the behavior will only be maintained / increased, or the cat will be frightened and become afraid of the owner.
Other things to take into account
Certain breeds, such as Siamese, use their voices much more than the average cat and can also be against it alone. These cats cannot live without the company of another person and / or animal and certainly if they do not have another cat as company, it is important to keep these cats out of the bedroom at night asking for problems!
Cats can have a mourning period if they lose an animal or human with whom they had a close relationship. It may be that they also meow more. The best thing you can do in such a period is to be extra patient with your cat, to keep doing as many things as possible in the same way, but to give the cat some extra attention during the day. In addition, keep to the above guidelines what to do and what not to do.
Also moving to a new house, a new owner, a pet or a person who has left home can cause the cat to suddenly show different behavior, including meowing at night. The same applies here as for the cat that has a mourning period. Cats simply have trouble with changes and a little extra understanding for that in such a period helps the cat to get through faster.