Meowing for dear life

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If your cat meows incessantly, ensure that the cause isn’t physical, emotional, or both. Attention-seeking behaviour may be because of stress or anxiety, particularly concerning household changes. These include, but aren’t limited to: moving; new baby or pet; owner’s absence; aggression by another cat; sickness of owner or another cat. So, first do some homework on possible causes.

The most common reason a cat meows non-stop is because it’s been trained to do so. Your moggy has learned that it simply has to meow to get whatever it wants – food, attention, affection. Often, what starts out as a demand for attention soon becomes self-reinforcing. Now kitty will meow all day just for fun. This becomes even worse when the cat’s lonely or bored.

Attention-seeking meowing can be curtailed by starting to exercise your cat daily with active play sessions. Don’t expect your cat to exercise itself. Many cats will swat at a ping-pong ball or catnip mouse once or twice, then lose interest. Involve yourself in the game. Tie a string to the mouse and pull it slowly and repeatedly across the floor.

Next up, whenever your feline’s quiet, give it what it wants. Ignore it when the vocal blackmail starts. It’ll soon learn to associate silence with rewards. Each time you accede to your cat’s verbal demands, you’re teaching it to meow even more.

Some cats love vocalising and their owners enjoy this. But if you want some peace, teach your cat to be quiet on request with a “Shush”. If the cat ignores you, shout, “Quiet!” or squirt it gently in the face with water. After a few repetitions, the message will sink in and the cat will obey the “Shush” command. Infinitely preferable to being screamed at or spritzed with water!