BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How to Get a Cat to Stop Meowing: Enjoy Some Peace and Quiet

Close-up of a cat meowing in front of a door
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

Cats meow as a way to communicate specifically with humans. They don’t meow around other cats—perhaps you’ve noticed that they use their body language instead when communicating with other of their species. We all love how they’ve developed an entirely new language just so they could get our attention, but sometimes the meowing can get too much. If it gets to the point where it’s even starting to bother your sleep or annoy the neighbors, then perhaps it’s time you learn how to get a cat to stop meowing.

No cat lover would find their cat’s meow unbearable. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be cat lovers at all, no? We understand that your aim is not to silence your cat for good. Rather, you want her to be able to differentiate between when she’s allowed to beg for your attention, and when she should keep her voice down—usually when everyone in the house is trying to sleep. You want to tone her meowing down to a reasonable level without inhibiting her right to express herself and consequently stressing her out.

Cute kitty meowing outside in the yard

We created this article to show you how to get a cat to stop meowing. If you do not understand what she wants, it will be difficult to keep her from meowing, and that’s why before we provide the do’s and don’ts on how to teach your cat that silence is golden, we would like to list out some possible triggers behind the kitty orchestra first.

Reasons Why Your Cat is Meowing So Much

Cats meow for multiple reasons. This is why it is very important to understand what she wants from you when she starts meowing. If you know what she wants, it will be very easy to nip the source of her distress in the bud so she will calm down.

Illness

Your cat might meow more when she is not feeling well. She is sending you an alert regarding her health. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to take her to the vet.

Incessant meowing could be a symptom of many things. It could also be a reaction to certain symptoms. For instance, if the illness is making her thirsty, in pain, or excessively hungry, she could try to express her discomfort by meowing.

A cat meowing at his owner

A cat can develop various diseases over the course of her life. She could be suffering from thyroid or kidney diseases. These are the most common diseases which usually lead to excessive meowing from her side. Let the vet diagnose her and tell you the prognosis.

Even if it turns out that she is perfectly healthy, taking your cat to the vet wouldn’t be in vain because the vet could suggest some alternative solutions to you. Also, now that you’ve ruled out illnesses, you can breathe easy and focus better on finding the real reason behind why your cat’s meowing so much.

She’s Seeking Attention

Some people claim that they do not like cats because they are too independent, but the reality is totally different. Cats crave attention, and they are not shy to tell you about it. A cat will meow to ask you to play with her or pet her. We’re usually only too happy to oblige, but if you’re serious about stopping your cat’s incessant meowing, giving her attention when she asks for it will be counterproductive.

Kitten meowing to his owner for some attention

On the contrary, you should pay attention to her when she is quiet. This is an efficient way to educate her and to let her know that meowing is not the way to get attention. However, it is also not recommended that you ignore her. A cat needs to spend quality time with their owner. Get her to calm down first, then play with her. We will explain how in the following section.

She is Hungry

When you are hungry, what do you do? You tell your partner or friends that you are hungry and go to the kitchen to prepare something to eat. The same is true for your cat. The difference is, she cannot prepare food for herself. She needs you to do it for her.

a cat meowing-and-yowling for food

When you see your cat going to the kitchen or to the place where you keep her food and meow, it’s a sign that she wants you to feed her. The same logic as when she asks for attention applies here. Don’t reward her with food immediately. Calm her down first, then feed her when she is quiet and nice.

She’s Greeting You

As we’ve mentioned already, cats do not like to spend too much time alone. Therefore, when you come back home after a busy day at work, your cat will meow in greeting when she sees you walk through the door. This is her way of telling you how much she has missed you.

A cat greeting his owner for coming home

To prevent your cat from feeling alone, you can try to put a bird feeder outside the window. You can also leave some toys around the house to keep her busy. The less lonely she feels, the less noisy she will be when greeting you.

Stress

There are many situations that can stress out your cat. For instance, if you’ve just adopted a new kitten, she will immediately be on guard. This can be a stressful situation for her as she might feel that she is not your number one anymore.

Image showing face of a stressed cat

Therefore, it is very important to find the source of her stress, then devise a countermeasure accordingly. You can give her some extra attention or spend a bit more time with her to help her get over the situation.

Age

As your cat grows older, she may experience a cognitive dysfunction and can get easily confused. When she gets disoriented, your cat might start meowing. This is her way of letting you know that she needs help.

Mating Season

During the mating season, cats will become very vocal. The meowing may even transform into yowling when cats are in the heat.

A pregnant cat sitting outside on the snow

In this situation, you either bear through it until the mating season is over, get them neutered, or find a partner for them.

How To Stop Your Cat’s Incessant Meowing

Once you’ve discovered the cause behind your cat’s incessant meowing, it’s time to apply the countermeasure. We’ve separated this section into do’s and don’ts to help you better understand which methods are acceptable and which should be out of the question—even if your cat’s meowing is starting to drive you crazy.

Do’s

We have a few suggestions on what you should do when your cat starts raising her voice at you.

#1: Do Rule Out the Food-Related Meowing

If your cat often meows because she wants food, the best solution is to get her used to a feeding routine. If you feed her whenever she makes the first noise, she will understand that this method is very efficient. If you keep her on an organized feeding schedule, she will understand that no matter how much she meows, if it isn’t time to eat, she will not eat.

Hungry scottish fold cat eating a food on bright background.

If you have an adult cat, you can feed her twice per day. In case this doesn’t work for your cat because of a health issue or whatnot, you can even give her more frequent but smaller meals. On the other hand, if you are the lucky owner of a kitten, you should feed her more. She will need at least three meals every day.

An automatic feeder can be a great solution when you want to educate your cat. It will dispense the food at regular intervals. Your cat will understand that you do not decide her feeding schedule—the automatic feeder does. Therefore she will have no reason to meow at you.

#2: Do Consult the Vet

As we have mentioned, it is important to consult the vet so you can rule out illness-related meowing. Even if your vet ends up giving your cat a clean bill of health, you can still ask for advice.

Cat being examined at the vet

In case your cat continues to meow even though you have just fed her, try to re-think her diet with the vet. It may be that she needs more fibers to make her feel fuller. Remember that the change in diet should be done under veterinarian supervision. You could provoke some digestive issues in your cat if you mishandle the proportions.

#3: Do Play with Your Cat Before Going to Bed

If your cat meows during the night, it’s probably because she’s feeling lonely or bored. A cat does not sleep the way a human does. They are the most active at twilight. They also tend to wake up several times per night. Try to wear her out by playing with her for 15 minutes before going to bed so that she will sleep more soundly.

A woman holding a fluffy cat

You can also plan ahead and give her something to occupy herself with during the night while you sleep. Leave her favorite puzzles or toys at her disposal. Another great solution would be to get another cat. As long as you introduce the new cat to the resident cat slowly and carefully, they may build a strong relationship together.

#4: Do Reward Her When She is Quiet

A clicker training is great when you want to keep your cat silent. You should avoid rewarding your cat whenever she starts meowing, but once your cat calms down, you will need to give her positive feedback.

Quiet cat sitting with her head on the table

A clicker training tool will be of great help to let your cat know that she will receive what she wants if she does not meow too much. The clicker training should be done in short sessions. 10 minutes at a time is enough when you want to train your cat. A good exercise would be to reward your cat after 5 seconds of silence, then increase the period to 10 seconds, 15, and so on.

Don’ts

We know that a cat’s incessant meowing can be very stressful at times. However, you should not overreact. Be careful about how you treat your cat; she is a very sensitive pet. Here’s what you should not do when you want to stop her meowing:

#1: Don’t Ignore Your Cat

You should not ignore your cat before you know exactly what is going on with her. Whenever a cat starts to meow, she is doing it for some very real reason. It might be that her litter box is dirty or that she is thirsty.

A cat lying down looking at the camera

Look for the reason first then act. If she just meows to ask for more attention, you can think up ways to educate her a bit.

#2: Don’t Punish Your Cat

Under no circumstances should you hit or shout at your cat when she meows. This is not a healthy way to educate her. If you apply this method, she may not trust you anymore. It’s not even that effective because your cat may not understand what you’re mad at her for. In her mind, she’s doing something entirely natural, so there’s no reason for you to get angry.

#3: Don’t Reward Her When She Begs You

This method could have her meowing even louder in a bid to get your attention.

a cat sitting with an empty red food bowl in front of her

However, you should resist and be patient. You will see that if you are constant in your conviction not to reward her, she will soon understand that her meowing does not win her anything.

Wrap Up

Cats meow for several reasons. They meow to ask for food or to express their affection for us. Moreover, as the cat becomes older, the reason for their meowing may change. For instance, a kitten meows to get food or affection from her mother. As she becomes older, she may meow because she’s feeling disoriented.

Either way, a well-educated cat will not give you any headaches and will be quiet. Apply the do’s and avoid the don’ts we have listed above to finally be able to enjoy some peace and quiet in the house.

Abyssinian cat meowing

The secret lies in your capacity to understand what your cat needs. If you feel that something weird is going on, you can discuss it with her veterinarian, and he or she will give you some great suggestions for this situation.

Tell us how you stopped your cat from meowing. Which method worked best? Did we fail to mention an effective solution? Don’t hesitate to leave any opinions and suggestions in the comment box below!

About the author
Steve Corelli
Steve Corelli

Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed.

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