My Cat Won’t Shut Up!

Noisy Sparrow - My Cat Won't Shut Up

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 Hiding Sparrow - My Cat Won't Shut Upcat’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 Stop The Noise - Cat Won't Stop Meowingwhat 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:

  • 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.

 

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.
Sparrow in Cushion Land - My Cat Won't Stop Meowing

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…

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10 Comments

  1. I so agree with you regarding disciplining a cat, you’ve no chance. They are completely different to dogs who can be trained but not a cat, they like to do their own thing.

    Ours only came home on an evening, something to eat and have a play. Next morning he’d be off for the day doing his own thing. Where he went and what he got up to, we’ve no idea but this was daily.

    You instantly know from the meows that something is wrong, it’s an unusual sign of behaviour with a different pitch. After noticing problems with our cat’s habits and unusual noise we took him to the Vet. Unfortunately his kidneys were failing and was recommended to put him to sleep, so his days were over.

    Great post. Is this your cat in the photos?
    Simon.

    1. It’s true, cats have absolutely no regard for our silly rules. It is possible to get them to behave though, it just takes a bit of patience. Yes, the little black and white furrball in the pictures is my Sparrow.
      Sounds like your cat was quite the adventurer – it’s good that you got him checked out and he didn’t suffer, as sad as it is having to put your pet down. Thanks for stopping by, Simon.

  2. This is hilarious – I have really enjoyed reading this – my kids have been on to me to get a new pet cat for the house and I am still on the fence about it, all of your tips are really helpful and much appreciated so when the cat arrives – I will know where to look for help!

  3. I haven’t had a cat in years and your article brought back a lot of memories. We humans tend to think that when it comes to human/pet relationships that we are the intelligent one. Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat knows otherwise. When they talk to us they are telling us something and you can usually tell by the tone of the meow if something is wrong. Sure you can teach them some things but your best bet for a good relationship is to enjoy their company every day and treat them with love and respect. After all you did get your cat for companionship right!
    Good luck with your talker!

    1. Exactly. You can teach a cat to do something, or to behave in a certain way but they are moody creatures who don’t care for rules. That’s my favourite thing about cats and mine is exceptionally strange.
      Thanks for stopping by, Maureen.

  4. Hello Shirley, another fun post of ‘chatty’ cats. I grew up with cats and other animals around yet I never acquired so much information about them. I am sure the different culture/climate have some baring on it. One of my older family members kept several cats and dogs at the same time. She was a very disciplinarian type. As a child, feeding time was something to watch.

    She would call them all at a set time and the cats were all offered their food first, with the dogs standing by watching. Occasionally an impatient dog would commit the sin of going towards one of the cats’ food. He would be disciplined by her firm command to wait its turn! And it would retreat!

    I think because of the ‘open space’ we did not have as close an interaction with them. Those cats hunted a lot, they even climbed trees for food. We only top up their food and water supply. We assumed ‘something was wrong’ when we saw them eating grass and not interested in much else. A few days later and they are chasing things again! We only noticed their meowing mainly at nights, (and they can sound strange then). They never slept inside the house.

    Your post brings back much happy childhood memories about cats, (and dogs). Thank you

    1. Hi EJ, your story just brought back many of my own happy childhood memories of living on a farm with lots of cats. Thank YOU!

  5. I love this article. Cats are great and they all have very different personalities. My cat talks all the time too and he sounds different, and has different body language depending on what he wants. In the mornings he won’t talk and wake me up until my alarm goes off. If I don’t get up he starts knocking things off of the nightstand, or he will sit on the alarm clock and make the snooze go off again. He is an old cat, he is male but we call him a diva, he complains all of the time. I enjoyed your article about the catnip as well, I think I will try to grow some.

    1. Thanks Donna! They’re great, the little talking kitties, aren’t they? Sparrow has only one volume (loud), but the tone of his voice is different depending on what he wants. There’s so much more to cat language than just the noises though. Most of the time he just wants me to look at him, but that’s what I get for loving a runty weirdo. Good luck with your catnip experiment, come back and let me know how it goes!

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