Q: My kitty is a chronic meower. Every morning when I get up, she just follows me around meowing very loudly. Really, I don't mind too much, but the fact that I live in an apartment is what really troubles me. I'm scared that some of the other tenants might start to complain about her meowing so early in the morning. And it's not just friendly, tiny meows . . . these are like loud, long, irritating meows. What should I do?
A: Before I talk about ways to work through kitty's continuous meowing, there are a couple of things to check out first:
- Make sure the cat has food, water, and a clean litter box. Your kitty could simply be communicating that she wants something to be done about one of those things.
- Figure out when your cat is not meowing. Is it a certain time of day or during a certain activity? If you pay attention to kitty, does she continue to meow? When does she start again? Then, try to find a way to continue whatever activity stops the meowing (for example, if kitty consistently meows after you stop playtime, get some games for her to amuse herself with after you go to bed).
- Consider a trip to the vet. When cats are vocal, they are usually trying to communicate something to us. Check with your vet to make sure your pet is healthy. There are certain times when cats are noisier, like when they are in heat or pregnant.
Many times kitties meow for attention and many times they meow exactly when we wouldn't (or couldn't) pay attention to them. I agree with the general consensus to ignore pets when they behave in attention-seeking ways. However, the big problem with this is often times the pets don't stop immediately. That can be very frustrating, it and makes it hard not to pay attention, which just continues the cycle!
You need to try to break the cycle. If pets get a response from you by doing something (meowing, barking, etc.), they are just repeating that action to get a response again. The first rule of thumb is do not respond directly to the cat's meowing, even to get up, shush, or yell — any response counts, even if it isn't a positive one. If your pet continues to meow, try a time out. Shut the door to the room you are in and when she stops meowing, she can come play. If she meows again, back out she goes. More than anything else, this will take time and patience. Good luck!