Why Do Cats Meow? Understanding Kitty Chitchat


Meow, Meow, Meow! Can you hear me now? Can you get your cat to be less chatty?meow

Cats are extremely smart animals and have realised that their humans have absolutely no idea about body language and pheremones as a means of communicating across species. So what did cats do? They noticed that human beings talk in order to express themselves, and thus adapted their behaviour to communicate with us by meowing.

If you don’t believe this, try and remember the last time you saw two cats meowing at each other for an extended period of time!

Some breeds of cat are more vocal than others, especially oriental breeds like Siamese.

So since we know that meowing is a learned behaviour, what do you do if your cat is “talking” up a storm and you want her to quieten down a bit – especially when it’s at 2am in the morning, ever morning? Just like small children who know they get a reaction out of their parents by throwing a temper tantrum, a cat knows that by meowing she will get a reaction out of her human. The best thing you can do is to ignore the meowing by not reacting to her, and over time she will realise that it’s not working and may try another tactic.

You can also teach an alternative, more appropriate less vocal behaviour by using a clicker. Begin by training your kitty during a time when she is not meowing at you for something. For example, if she constantly meows at you to open the door at 2am every morning, start the training in the vacinity of the door but not asking to be let in or out.

Cats like to think it's their idea
Clicker training: Cats like to think it’s their idea

You will need to use a clicker and a target stick to coax her towards the door. When she approaches the door, make sure it’s closed, press the clicker, and give her a treat. Then let her sit at the door. When she does, press the clicker and open the door. She will probably be surprised and go in and check out the room, or she may wait for another treat. If she wants a treat, let her have one. Once she comes out of the room and is back at the door again, close the door and repeat the exercise.

Eventually you won’t need the clicker or the treat as she would have made a new association that keeping quiet has its rewards. You may even want to try this at feeding time if she is an excessive meower.

Essentially all you’re doing is teaching her good manners, even though you’ll never be able to get her to go completely quiet.

As an aside, certain (more understandable) factors such as fear and anxiety may also cause meowing, for example a cat who hates being transported by car may meow excessively, but in this case one is able to understand why it is happening and the best thing to do would be to calm her down by placing your hand near her or offering soothing words to make her relax.

– Article posted by Phillipa Mitchell

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