Cat Chat! HELP! My Cat Meows Too Much!
My cat Norman isn't much of a talker. In fact, he will only "meow" once or twice a day…if that. Some cats, however, are big talkers and meow non-stop. Obviously, cats meow as a way of communicating with not only other cats but their owners as well. It is a fact that feral (wild cats) don't meow as often as domesticated cats do. This is because in the wild, cats tend to communicate more through their body language. I guess domesticated cats have figured out that humans are not very smart when it comes to reading kitty body language so they meow in order to get our attention…and it usually works.
Though all cats meow, some breeds "talk" more than others. Oriental cats, for example, are known to be quite chatty. Some cats "talk" so much it becomes annoying (even a problem!). In the past, meowing has gotten your cat what he wants…so it's really not his fault he is a big talker…it's yours for giving in to his chatter! If your cat, for example, meows outside your bedroom door every morning at the crack of dawn and you always get up and feed him…then he knows that this behavior will get him something yummy (hence the reason he does it day in and day out). The only way to stop this annoying morning behavior is to NOT GIVE IN and simply ignore your fluffy friend. At first, your cat may simply meow louder and longer…but STAND STRONG, my friend. Eventually, your cat will get the message that his chatter no longer gets him his breakfast and he will move on to a new behavior like clawing your face in order to wake you up (yes, Norman has been known to do this).
I will tell you right now that you will NEVER be able to stop your cat from "talking" all together (though I don't know why you would want to…an occasional meow is kind of endearing if you ask me). If you have a low tolerance for kitty chatter, then either don't get a cat or get a breed that is known NOT to vocalize much (avoid big talkers like Orientals and the Siamese). If you have the patience, you can always try to "clicker train" your cat so that he meows less. Training a cat can be much more difficult than training a dog…so understand that clicker training your feline will TAKE TIME! It is also important to note that if have an outdoor cat and are planning on turning him or her into an indoor only pet…be prepared for some LOUD meowing as your cat adjusts to his new indoor life-style (he may sit at the door for hours on end thinking that he will eventually "break you." It is very important that you entertain your new "indoor friend" with cat toys (such as teasers) in order to keep his mind off the great outdoors. Turning you outdoor cat into an indoor only pet is a wise thing to do as caring for your cat is much easier INSIDE your home (and safer too!).
So what have we learned? Well, all cats meow…some more than others. Constant (often annoying) chatter is a learned behavior that YOU are responsible for…so it is up to you to retrain your cat so that he or she becomes a QUIET companion. Finally, turning your outdoor cat into an indoor only pet is a smart thing to do and may even prolong your cat's life (as life indoors is MUCH less hazardous). Good luck and here's to a quiet cat! Meow!