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The Meaning of Your Cat’s Meow

When Meow Becomes Annoying

We also reinforce the meowing behavior because we often respond quickly. If the cat meows and we know what he wants, we typically supply it right away – whether it’s some petting under the chin, a play session or refilling the empty food bowl. Even if we don’t supply what the cat is asking for we often still reinforce the behavior by giving attention. If your cat is meowing and it’s becoming annoying to you, chances are you’ll tell the cat to quiet down or pet him just to shut him up. When you respond to unwanted meowing you reinforce his attention-seeking behavior.

Meow Warning Signs

If you have a cat who displays an increase in vocalization it can indicate an underlying medical problem. Some older cats, especially ones who are experiencing age-related cognitive dysfunction, may begin meowing or even yowling at night when the house is dark and quiet. If your older cat has begun nighttime meowing, it’s time for a veterinary check-up.

black and white cat

photo: Fotolia

If your cat meows at night because he’s bored, his environment is quiet and there’s no one awake to play with him, make sure you conduct a good interactive play session right before bed and then offer him a food reward. You can also set out some puzzle feeders and other activity toys to keep him busy while you sleep.

If your cat is vocal and way too active at night and isn’t allowing anyone else to sleep, make sure you don’t have too many lights on. Often, after you’ve done a good interactive play session with your cat and offered a food reward, lower the lights so your cat will get the message that it’s time to settle down.

Need More Information?

For more specifics on dealing with meowing behavior or nighttime activity, refer to any of Pam’s books. If your older cat is exhibiting increased vocalization, consult your veterinarian so a thorough examination can be done. Be sure and check out CatWise, from best-selling author, Pam Johnson-Bennett. Pam’s books are available at bookstores everywhere, through your favorite online book retail site and also right here on our website.

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