If your cat is a chronic meower — we're talking long, loud, and irritating meows, not cute little kitten chirps — they could be trying to tell you something, or they may just be seeking attention from you. Either way, having a screaming kitty isn't exactly ideal. If your cat is of the vocal variety and this behavior is one you're looking to put an end to, keep reading to learn what could be going on with your fur baby and how to proceed.
What to Consider If Your Cat Won't Stop Meowing
First and foremost, make sure your cat has food, water, and a clean litter box. They could simply be communicating to you that they want something to be done about one of those basic things. If the meowing is a new issue and your cat seems less chatty and more irritated, consider a trip to the vet. When cats are vocal, they are usually trying to communicate something to us. In this case, the reason could be that they aren't feeling right, so check with your vet to make sure they're healthy.
However, if you're pretty sure the answer is none of the above, then they're likely just trying to get you to fuss over them, and there are a few things you can do to get them to stop being so chatty.
How to Get Your Cat to Stop Meowing
First, figure out when your cat is not meowing, and if there's a pattern. Is it a certain time of day or during a certain activity? If you pay attention to them, do they continue to meow? When do they start up again? Then, try to find a way to continue whatever activity stops the meowing (for example, if your kitty usually meows right after you stop playing with them, get some new games for them to amuse themselves with — they probably want to keep playing!).
Many times, cats are meowing purely for attention, exactly at a time when we can't pay full attention to them. You could definitely try to ignore them while they're being particularly chatty, but they probably won't stop immediately. That can obviously be very frustrating and makes it hard not to pay attention to them, so you'll likely end up giving in to whatever it seems they want, thus continuing a behavior cycle.
You need to try to break the cycle! If your cat (or any pet) gets a response from you by doing something like meowing or scratching, they will simply repeat that action again and again to continue getting a response. The first rule of thumb is to avoid directly responding to your cat's meowing, whether it be petting them, shushing them, or something else — any reaction counts, even if it isn't a positive one. If your cat continues to meow, try a time out. Shut the door to the room you are in, and when they stop meowing they can come out to play. If they meow again, back outside the door they go. Eventually, a new behavior chain will form for them, and they'll realize that meowing gets them shut out of the room. More than anything else, this will take time and patience, but it's definitely possible to achieve (even with a mischievous kitty).