Cats generally meow for the following reasons.
- As a greeting - Not much you can do about this except enjoy it. A cat that excessively meows to greet you will calm down in time after a little attention.
- To gain attention - Some cats will meow excessively for attention and a good tip is to teach your cat that you will pay attention to them when they are quiet. Wait until the meowing subsides and as soon as there is a brief moment of silence reward this with attention. Remember we are only talking about excessive meowing here and cats, if you are patient and consistent, can learn a healthy association between what they meow for and what you do about it.
- To ask for food/basic needs - When cats excessively meow for food a good tip is to only feed them at prescribed times and don't feed at all outside of these times. This will encourage your cat to understand that meowing outside of these times is a futile exercise. If your cat wakes you with excessive meowing and it bothers you it may be worth investing in an automatic feeder that is scheduled to open at specific times. Always be alert to your cat trying to communicate their basic needs, their water bowl may have been knocked over or litter tray may need cleaning are good examples of this. Your cat may have become trapped in a cupboard and be alerting you that they need your assistance.
- To attract a mate - Female cats during their heat cycle can be prone to excessive meowing and a good tip to curb this is to have the cat spayed. Male cats are known to excessively meow around female cats when the female felines come into heat and if you can't prevent an intact male cat from detecting females in heat it may be a good idea to have the male cat neutered.
- To ask to go out or be let back in again - Cat flaps are the obvious solution to a cat excessively meowing to go in and out but if you prefer your cat to remain indoors then building an annexed enclosure on the side of your home with permanent access to it is another option. If you're considering keeping your cat indoors when they've previously roamed outside then it would be reasonable to expect a temporary amount of excessive meowing at doors and windows and most cats will settle down and adjust to their new routine over time.
- When they're experiencing mental confusion or cognitive dysfunction - This can often happen with older cats and veterinary attention should always be sought, a trip to the vets should also be a priority if your cat suddenly starts meowing excessively outside of their normal habits and the potential reasons outlined above.
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