It can be extremely distressing for both the responsible cat owner and their indoor cat if it’s meowing excessively and you can’t work out why that is. There can be lots of reasons why your cat is meowing to the extremes and I’ve covered as much as I can in this article.
In order to stop your indoor cat meowing excessively the first thing you need to do is to work out why your cat is meowing. There could be several reasons. It could be either medical or behavioral or simply having their needs not fulfilled properly. It may be simply that they are wanting attention. Below I have explored the issue on why cats may meow excessively. Also why that might be the reason for your own cat meowing excessively.
In addition, I have explored why my own cat Boo meowed so much when I first got him and how I solve those problems. These may also help with your own cat’s issues.
How to Stop Your Indoor Cat Meowing Excessively and Why It Might Be
In the wild, under natural circumstances, cats do not meow the way they do with us, humans. While they do use sound to communicate most of the communication is via body language. It is the unique relationship that humans have with cats and an odd combination of each learning another language that makes the cat meow more than it normally would.
The only exception is when they are talking to their kittens. It is their way of communicating with us, their humans. So excessive crying must mean they desperately trying to communicate with us and are being ignored. We’re not fulfilling their needs in some way.
This post has been inspired by Boo my indoor cat who when I got him, to say he cried to excessively, I think is an understatement. He cried from dawn until dusk and beyond he cried at night he cried in the morning and he did not stop, not ever, while he was awake.
If you want to read more about Boos story and improvements please see his story at the bottom of the article.
So To Your Own Cat:
Why Is Your Cat Crying?
There can be lots of reasons why your cat is crying. It can be like Boo where his needs were not be met and because of his history, he was used to crying as that’s the only way he could ever get attention. Or there can be other reasons.
Reasons for Crying:
Stress: Cats will cry when they are stressed. There could be many different reasons why your cat is stressed. Some of these have been explored below under different sections. Cats are creatures of habit and routine and they don’t like change. If you have workmen in or too much activity or you have changed your routine your cat may become stressed. There, of course, may also be medical reasons.
Solutions: There could be medical reasons and if your cat does not normally cry as much. Please note I’m not a veterinarian or a vet nurse so if you have any doubts as to the reason for your cats crying then please seek veterinary help this is only for general advice.
Has Your Cat Developed the Beginnings of Dementia?
Reason: Dementia: It could be like my previous cat Holly whereby they are suffering from dementia. So even if I fed her she would be then crying for food 10 minutes to half an hour later because she didn’t realize she been fed. In addition, I had to keep swapping the food over on an almost weekly basis because she would just refuse to eat it. In the end, I had to hand feed her to get her to eat.
Solution: If you have an older cat that starts behaving in this manner it might be a good idea to take it to the vet’s to see whether it’s got dementia. There will be other signs as well.
Some cats will get separation anxiety if you leave them for too long. This is especially a problem for indoor cats because they rely so much on you for the attention and companionship. It is also a large issue for very social cats are needy cats like Boo for example. Ragdolls may get anxiety when you are out of the house.
The solution: If possible could be too not leave your cat for so long. If it is a social cat to give it another cat to play with to keep it occupied. Or to give it some form of entertainment and noise while you are out like a TV or radio for example.
I’ve even seen toys online that are warm with heartbeats to keep your cat company while you are out. I’m not sure which country these are available in though.
If you are expecting to be out of the house for a long time and you know this in advance of getting your cat, it’s best not to get a cat that needs lots of attention as it will suffer from separation anxiety.
It might not even be a long time. It might simply be that you leave the house when it’s not your normal routine. This has happened recently to my mum when she left Willow in the evening. When she got back Willow was crying frantically and being really extra affectionate and desperate for attention. Mum had left some noise for her. But Willow was simply worried. Cats are creatures of habit and when that habit is broken it can become stressful for them.
You can also use a calming spray like Feliway, for example, to help keep them calm while you are away.
Has your Cat Got an Illness or Injury?
If your cat is an indoor cat it may save it from some injuries. However, for some cats being attacked by other cats can cause them injury. In addition, there are other things that may have injured them. You may notice a sudden change in behavior they may meow excessively whimper or they may even just be quiet and hide away. If this happens is best to take them to the vet immediately to get them thoroughly checked up but be careful not to cause injury while moving them.
When my sister’s cat was injured he had to stay in an inside cage for quite some time. Before this, he didn’t cry very much. My sister noticed an increase in the amount he cried since that time. This has never reduced.
There are also lots of illnesses that can cause your cat to meow excessively some are covered here.
Overactive Thyroid or Kidney Disease
These two may also result in your cat crying a lot.
Loss of Vision and/or Hearing
Your cat may cry if they are losing their vision or hearing.
To Find a Mate – They Yowl
If you haven’t neutered or spayed your cat that it is likely that it during its mating time it will yowl frequently. Although this is not a meow as such I’m covering it here as an example just in case this happens.
The solution, if you are not planning on breeding your cat, is obviously to get it spayed or neutered. This is a good idea because the length of time for breeding can range from only a few months to most of the year.
If you’re not planning on neutering your cat then having the yowl is going to be part of your routine. There are a few things you can do to calm your cat down such as make sure you wear it out with exercise for example. Also, make sure it has a rich environment. I’ve covered the need for a rich environment in other posts and regardless of whether your cat is neutered or not its environment should be enriched.
If this is excessive than a trip to the vet may be in order. They may have something to help calm your cat down.
They Want You To Do Something For Them
Cats will usually cry if they’re hungry and it’s time for their feed. This will depend from cat to cat.
Of course, the solution is simple. You simply have to feed them. However, if they are still crying for more food when they’ve been fed there may be an underlying medical problem. (Or they may not have had enough food). For example, they may not want to eat their dried food because they have tooth pain or jaw pain. If your cat doesn’t usually cry excessively in this area and it suddenly changes its habits then it’s best to take it to the vet’s for a check-up to see why.
These days free feeding is becoming less and less popular and actual set times for feeding your cat is recommended. This is meant to reduce the amount of crying for food that they do.
They Want Your Attention
Sometimes cats wanna cry for a reason they may want you to feed them, to pet them or to cuddle them or to have with your lap or simply pay them some form of attention. Or to get you up in the mornings.
The solution for this is said to be to stop responding to them when they cry for this reason.
Now if you have ever tried to ignore a cat when it doesn’t want to be ignored then you will know this is extremely difficult to do. People suggest that you do not speak to your cat at all because this encourages it to talk. I think this is a very sad way of dealing with your cat.
However, selective ignoring may be in order for you to get some peace and for your cat to be better adjusted and not so stressed and crying all the time.
As you can tell from what I’ve written about Boo below some of his habits were sorted very quickly while there is an ongoing issue. There are things that if I could do them it would help but I’m unable to where I’m living.
If your cat is constantly being a pain and then it means may need to be firmly told no. They are like children and they do try it all.
Is Your Cat Simply Chatting To You?
While this is not meowing excessively, some people who aren’t used to their cats crying might think that’s what was happening. I chat to Boo all the time and he talks back to me. Actually, sometimes he answers back to me and gives me stick.
A solution would be to reduce the amount you speak to them if that’s how you want your relationship to be with your cat. This simply wouldn’t work for any of our family members who all communicate quite a lot with our cats.
Is Your Cat Mad At You?
If you listen to your cats crying the meows are all different for different occasions. They may be higher for food, a short chirp. Or they may get louder and more annoyed if you were ignoring them. Boo does raise his voice to me when he gets mad at me if I keep ignoring him. In which case I have to give him a firm no.
If you listen to your cat you will gradually learn the different types of crying for different needs. And you will also know when they’re trying it all and to be firmer with them.
Is Your Cat Bored?
Your cat may cry because it’s fed up and it wants attention or to play. If this happens and this is the reason then it’s likely this will be coupled with other “naughty” behavior such as bashing something that’s noisy just to get you to pay attention to it for example.
The best solution would be to spend more time with your cat when you can to keep it active or to give it some other form of stimulation like looking out the window or cat toys while you’re around. Here in this post, there are signs that your cat is bored.
Some Cat Breeds Are More Vocal
Be wary of judging your cat’s quantity of meowing because some breeds are naturally more vocal than others. Bengal cats, for example, are said to be very vocal. I am no expert on all the different cat breeds so it would be best to look on a website that is specific to your breed of cat.
What Not to Do
If your cat is crying excessively it’s a good chance that it will drive you nuts. I know there were times in the past where I could tear my hair out. I’ve done absolutely everything they have had food, water, attention & play. You name it they had it and they still cried.
When a cat won’t stop crying it could be very tempting to hit out at them or to shout at them or scream at them. Or as some people advise spray them with water. None of these things is a good idea. Although I know people that say the water does work, it is not a good way to connect with your cat.
The reason why is because not only is it cruel it can diminish your relationship with your cat. And it won’t work effectively because it will have one of several different effects. Either your cat will become withdrawn and timid and stressed, which will cause other behavioral issues. Or your cat may become aggressive and scratch out at you or your rest of your family.
Everyone recommends as I’ve said previously just to ignore the behavior that is unwelcome and to reward the good behavior. Along with using good routines where your cat knows where it stands. This can be very stressful while you’re doing it but in the long run, it’ll pay off. If you look at this story of Boo, my cat, you will see how I managed by listening to him and creating learned behaviors that it reduced his crying right down. He still does try it on from time to time but overall is much improved.
Boo had a lot of issues when I first got him. In fact, the reason the people before me got rid of him after only a week was due to his excessive crying and constantly demanding. I cannot deny I was a little bit worried because I had a few problems with Holly as she got older was crying due to dementia and I struggle with constant noise.
This is how I stopped most of Boo’s crying, during the day.
This may be different for everyone however this will cover lots of different issues and how to reduce or stop them.
My Cat Boo’s Excessive Meowing and How I Solved It
I got Boo on the 18th of August a couple of years or so ago and the first few days didn’t go very well. He just did not stop crying not ever while he was awake. To start with I could not understand why. It took a lot of time effort and understanding for me to learn what his issues were.
It wasn’t because he hadn’t settled in. It was because of it his long term history. He had been pretty much being ignored and shoved in a corner for years and it was his only way to communicate. Being partially a Ragdoll he also, needs a lot of attention, time and understanding. Again he was not getting this.
When Boo Cried
In the morning & during the day. Before I fed him, as I fed him and after I fed him. Sometimes for hours.
The reason for this we decided was partly because he was being given crunchies or dried food for his breakfast. I’ve been told because he had had teeth issues that he had to have crunchies to keep them strong.
What I did was change the morning feed to soft food. The crying almost immediately stopped for the most part. Except this caused a new issue for early morning wake up calls, lol.
At Night Because He Wanted Food and Water
I was a bit slow on the uptake for this one it took a while to me to figure it out. I could not understand why he was crying he had clean litter, food, and water. He’d played and had had cuddles and a comfy bed. He would sit on the top of the stairs and cry his little heart out. I would say to him “what do you want to do? Show me.” And he would take me downstairs and he would eat is crunchies. Half an hour later he would be sitting on the stairs at the top crying again. We would repeat this process he would go downstairs and drink his water.
Later at night while I was asleep he would sit at the edge of the stairs and start crying again. A slightly more annoyed me by this time says, “What do you want Boo?”
Writing it here it seems really clear what the issues and solutions were but at the time it didn’t cos I didn’t understand his nature.
He did not like going downstairs in the dark at night on his own to eat and drink. Seriously, yes, this was his issue! So as a trial I took the crunchies and the water upstairs.
This sorted this issue. He was happy. I could now lay there and listen to him eating and drinking without a fuss.
However, it created another issue because now his crunchies are upstairs in the morning. So I have to go upstairs after he’s had his soft food with him so that he will eat his crunchies. Bringing them down or having more downstairs doesn’t work.
He seems fine with his water upstairs. Although I do have some water elsewhere for him as well if he wants it.
He’s a Very Needy Cat
Boo is a very needy cat. He needs lots of attention and cuddles and affection and lap time. And by a lot, I mean that If I sat down at 4 am he would quite happily stay there except for a bit of food and exercise until 5 pm; hence the box near my desk. If he doesn’t get that I don’t hear the end of it even now.
He does seem to need to be by me at all times. I made sure that he could be. I rearranged the furniture so that he could have his sleeping bed right next to where I work. This way I can face him and he feels secure and he is much more relaxed for it.
By paying attention to his habits and his needs I’ve been able to cut his crying down by about 80-90%. We do have issues in the early morning because he’s insistent on getting up early and as yet we haven’t come to a solution as the standard methods which work for most cats do not for him.
And of course, he does cry if he wants his food or for attention. But the amount is crying has been substantially reduced. This did not take very long only about a week and total for the majority of it.
I hope this story of Boo helps in some way or gives you ideas as to why your cat may be crying. Boo is an extreme case. I have had cats most of my life and I’ve never had one that needs me by them to eat.