Seriously, he talks. All. The freaking. Time. And not a single word of English. My cat won’t shut up…and we’re not talking polite, conversational tones, either. He YELLS. I wonder how he can even do that with his lungs being all screwy with asthma, but it never stops. Sparrow was born talking and since then he’s had a lot to say, to everyone. Especially me.
Excessive meowing can be both cute and annoying, but your cat is trying to tell you something. He may just be attention seeking but it could also be a sign of something more serious. If you’re part of the ‘my cat won’t shut up’ club, welcome.
“Hey, Human. I’m Talking to YOU!”
Cats communicate with each other using body language, facial expressions, growling, yowling and hissing. Kittens and their mothers meow to each other, but once a cat matures the only meowing they do is at us humans. So listen up. There are a few things your cat could be trying to say to you:
- “Something is not to my satisfaction” – cats are fussy creatures, and if kitty’s needs are not being met he will let you know. Is he hungry? How’s the water bowl? Does the litter box need cleaning? Check that the basics are covered.
- “I’m not feeling well” – Asthmatic cats are often not feeling well, so check that kitty is breathing easily, eating properly and not showing any feline asthma symptoms. Other medical reasons for excessive meowing include kidney disease, high blood pressure and an overactive thyroid. A visit to the vet may be in order, especially if your cat is talking more than usual.
- “I’m stressin’ out, man!” – any changes in the home from new furniture to the illness or loss of a loved one can upset your cat. Likewise, if you are stressed, kitty may be feeling that. Once you figure out the cause of your cat’s distress, you will be able to help him relax and adjust to the changes. Click here to check out my number 1 kitty calmer.
- “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!” – Kitty wants your attention. Kitty wants to annoy you. Kitty wants to play. Kitty is bored. If you thought having a cat as a pet wouldn’t require much work, the joke’s on you. Cats are emotional critters, they need attention and affection just as much as you do.
- “I smell something sexy!” – Female cats turn into crazy, wailing hussies when they’re in heat and males respond in a stereotypically male fashion. It gets loud.
- “Hi. I’m glad you’re here. I have so much to tell you!” – Some cats are just talkers and there’s not a lot we can do to stop this. Breeds such as Siamese, Siberian and the rare Catdogus Sparrowicus are known for being exceptionally vocal.
Make it Stop!
Understanding why your cat won’t stop meowing is a good start. Most cats have many tones of voice and will talk in different ways depending on what their problem is, so if you know your cat well this will be a breeze. If you’ve ruled out the obvious (food, water, litterbox) and kitty still won’t shut up, you could try these things:
- Go to the vet – there could be something seriously wrong that needs medical attention. Be prepared to tell the vet what’s been going on, in detail. You want to rule out concerns about your cat’s asthma and other serious health issues first.
- Give your cat plenty of quality time and attention – but make sure you’re only doing this when he’s quiet. If you only pay attention to him when he’s noisy, you’re teaching him that noise = fun times. Cats need their play time the same way dogs need their walkies. This is especially important if yours in an indoor only cat.
- Consider spaying or neutering if your cat is intact; it’s possible all the fuss could be heat related. Here are a few more reasons to give your kitty the snip.
Breaking The Habit
Any attempts to discipline your cat are likely to be futile. Don’t kick, slap or scream at your noisy cat (or any other animal, for that matter), and please, put down the spray bottle. It’s not nice to shoot your cat with anything and besides, he’s smarter than that. He knows who’s squirting him with water and this form of ‘training’ will only make him resent you.
The best way to train your cat to shut up is to simply ignore him when he’s ranting at you. Completely ignore, don’t talk to him, don’t look at him and don’t give in. Pay attention and reward your cat when he is quiet. I quite enjoy Sparrow’s jabbering, but when he was a baby he liked to wake me up in the middle of the night for a chat. It only took about ten nights of being ignored for him to learn that if I’m in bed, yelling will get him nowhere. He will come and sit quietly in my face, but he will not make a sound. Most of the time I can sleep through that, which I suppose is very annoying for him.
Cats are stubborn little beasts and they will keep going until they break you, so don’t break. You can train your cat to be quiet at certain times (like when you’re in bed) but let him ramble away to his heart’s content at other times. If your cat is just a chatterbox for no reason other than to hear his own voice, you can train him to shut up when you want some peace. Same idea, say a certain word – for example, “quiet” – and then ignore him until he stops. If you don’t want to completely stifle your chatty cat, it’s important that you use the same word every time you want him to be quiet. When you feel like a chat just let him go and carry on a normal conversation with him as you would with any other person. Or catdog.
Confession time! I know you talk to your cat – head to the comments and let us in on the conversation…