General Question

wildflower's avatar

Can you train a cat to meow less?

Asked by wildflower (11152points) June 15th, 2008

I’m temporarily looking after a cat. He’s a funny little thing and I quite enjoy having him around, but he’s doing my head in with his attention-seeking meowing! He’s got food, he’s got his litter box, he’s not looking to go out (indoor cat) and he doesn’t particularly appreciate when I pick him up.
He just keeps crying for attention and expects me to follow him around….....any suggestions on how I can make him more content and give me a bit of peace and quiet in the morning?

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43 Answers

simone54's avatar

I think you should just ignore him and not give in then maybe he’ll stop.

What kinda kitty is it? Does it have any Siamese in him? They like to talk a lot.

wildflower's avatar

For the most part I just speak Faroese to him (tell him to not be silly, etc.) or meow back at him. I’m not gonna run around the house after him before I have my coffee…...I like pets and all, but still!

He’s some sort of bred semi-hypo-allergenic cat – looks most like an egyptian cat; giant ears and eyes and long legs. He’s got a funny, kinda curly, fur.

simone54's avatar

Yeah I think that fits into the category of talkative cats.

wildflower's avatar

I put him outside now – that made him a bit quieter. And now I can have my coffee and fluther in peace :)

jrpowell's avatar

Do you have any catnip?

How long do you have the cat? You could put the cat in a room alone while it gets used to not having a ton of attention.

My cat is super needy since I am always around. She freaks if she doesn’t have a warm lap to sleep on. She loves to sleep on my face too. I’m not really sure how that is comfortable for her. But she enjoys it.

wildflower's avatar

I haven’t put down any catnip, but I do put him outside for a while every day (he has a lead and stuff) so he gets to play with the grass.

Not sure how long he’s staying; until the owner finds a new home. Could be a week, could be a month.

I guess one reason is that while he’s with us, he has to sleep alone. He’s not getting in to the bedroom since my other half is allergic.
He’s not used to any more company than this, his owner works with me and would be gone similar times as I am.

now he’s meowing to get back in…..oh joy

jrpowell's avatar

The cat might be looking for consistency. He wants something familiar and I bet he is really confused right now.

You could try setting up a schedule for feeding the cat. Don’t just make sure the bowl is always full. Feed it in the morning and night. It will learn when and where to eat. That will help with the cat learning where home is.

Melonking's avatar

I asked my cat to stop meowing, and she meowed at me. So I didant talk and thus she didant meow, see you must make a deal with a cat you can’t train them.

wildflower's avatar

Believe me, I’ve tried the reasoning, negotiating approaches – even given ultimatums, but no joy.
He is just very attention seeking, but not in a sense of “come here and cuddle me”, no no, it’s “come follow me around the house and scratch my head when I let you catch up”.

Melonking's avatar

Ok there is only one thing to do, give cat lots of kippers cat will be so full, cat will fall asleep. I say cat because I do not know cats name or gender.

edmartin101's avatar

I would give the cat some toys to play with. What is happening is that the cat used to sleep in with her previous owner, and now that he’s with you, he misses that. So is gonna take a while before he understands is not gonna happen in this house. Give him a rat toy he can chase around while he feels bored

ketoneus's avatar

I think edmartin101 has it right. The cat is probably bored and wants to play.

syz's avatar

It’s a Cornish Rex or Devon Rex. They tend to be rather inbred and neurotic (but sweet). I’m afraid he’s just going to be vocal while he’s with you.

playthebanjo's avatar

you could get one of those laser pointers and try to exaust him. Or put cough syrup in his food.

wildflower's avatar

Oh dear – what syz said is what I was afraid of. And he has scratch post and toys (two little toy mice). Also, I’m sure I’m letting him go outside a lot more than he was used to before, but he’s still got energy left over (he follows me to the bathroom! and meows outside the door when I don’t let him come in with me.)

I like the idea of cough syrup….might mellow him out a bit ;)

gailcalled's avatar

Let him in the bathroom. He will amuse you by prowling around and not staring rudely. I have a stick with a string and when Milo gets annoying, I wave said stick around with non-dominant hand and continue what I am doing. The attention span here is about 10 minutes. (his not mine.)

When I am at the computer, I take off one shoe and swing my leg. Milo finds the foot clad in a sock fascinating and I am still faster than he is. (Occasionally I shut my garage door and let the cat prowl around there. Apparently there are many scented rodents tucked away. The problem is that I end up watching Milo – who is a stalker but a dim-witted one.)

wildflower's avatar

haha….yea, I’m not convinced of this fella’s intelligence either. He’s so attention-seeking, yet doesn’t come when you call him (silly cat).

The other day he did make it in to the bathroom and for whatever reason, decided to jump in the tub – I know for a fact he doesn’t like baths (found out the hard way yesterday!).

I’m pretty sure he’s still adjusting, but he seems comfortable running all over the house (except the bedroom, that’s the only closed door). I suppose I’ll just have to put up with his noisiness for a while – maybe I’ll record it and see what I can do with it in Garageband….see how he likes that!

gailcalled's avatar

@Wildflower; some cat books suggest throwing several ping pong balls into a bathtub (empty and dry, of course.) I am tempted to try it. Apparently it is common for cats to hang around in tubs..

playthebanjo's avatar

definitely post your recordings for a garageband project….maybe we could all use them and see what we each come up with as another fluther project.

gailcalled's avatar

Someone else got there first, of course. I don’t know whether this link will open; it is a cat ecard with sound effects. When I first turned up the volume, Milo came down two flights of stairs to investigate.

playthebanjo's avatar

Wow that was creepy.

gailcalled's avatar

@Banjo; no, just a hyped-up version of what I live with. But you can use the sound track.

Seesul's avatar

And only a little while ago, gail was asking US for advice. Such an adept and quick learner! I agree you have a Devon or a Cornish Rex. My cat was raised with Devons and one adopted her. My son nicknamed her “sniffy” and my cat picked that up. She is like a vacuum cleaner, sniffing everything. Rex’s are characters, but fall into the neurotic CATegory. Some breeds are noisier than others as well. Mine only talks when she has something to say. The kitty misses her human.

marinelife's avatar

My sympathies, wildflower. I do not like talking pets. I inherited a talking cat and she drove me nuts. That aspect of her personality blinded me to her good points to some extent. I got used to it, but never liked it. The cat you are describing is a “talking” breed and probably will not stop.

tinyfaery's avatar

the cat is stressed. Its in a new environment, with new people, and a new routine. There is a product called feliaway that has soothing cat pheremones. It comes in a spray and a diffuser. This will calm the cat and give it a sense of security. You can also try interactive play time. If you notice your cat meows at specific times, have a good hard play time with kitty. Feathers on a stick are good for this. Not only will it tire the cat, but it will give it the satisfaction of a successful hunt. Sometimes all you can do is ignore it. When the cat starts meowing give it a bit of reassurance with a rub on the head and a soft “its ok” then let it meow. Once kitty knows meowing will not meet its needs, it will stop, or at least meow a lot less. This can take time though. Good luck.

Trustinglife's avatar

This could be a stretch… but one way you could look at it is just to let yourself long for the peace and quiet you had, and that you will have again soon. This issue is temporary, yes?

(Personally, I really miss having a cat and would be happy to trade places with you!)

wildflower's avatar

That’s an interesting thought! I’m like you, I miss having 4-legged housemates, so I’ve been enjoying playing animal-rescue, but that’s one way to minimize the impact of letting him go.
And I won’t miss hoovering/vacuuming the kitchen floor daily (litter box and food bowl – messy cat)

Trustinglife's avatar

Maybe your little furry one is saying, “Love you!” “Love you!”

Gigi's avatar

A company called Pet Essences makes flower essence drops for pets. They’re very effective. They have one called calming drops that I have given to my cat in situations when she gets stressed.

I can tell you that it is possible to train a cat. I have an older cat and sometimes she gets her grumpy tone when asking for food. Kind of a loud and demanding meow. I’ve trained her now to say it nicely. When she’s demanding and loud I gently say to her, “No, you say it nicely.” Now, (with a little time and practice) I can just say to her, “say it nicely” and she drops the volume a few notches and shifts the tone to a sweet meow. It took her about 2 weeks to get it.

wildflower's avatar

Update: Found out he’s staying for another month or so (till late July), so I’ve decided to try and install some routine, like let him be outside for a while after work and feed him specific times of the day and have cuddle time…...and worst case; buy some ear plugs!

Thanks for all the input :)

bluemukaki's avatar

Ugh! My Cat just started doing this because my mum went to Thailand and left me in charge of the cat. Damn thing wont shut up!

delirium's avatar

I advise that you just suck it up and get used to it. Count it as a conversation and talk back.
I have a norwedgian forest cat who is a constant talker ( and impossibly loud) and a mutant mutt cat who talks slightly less but will climb all over you if he wants attention. (he’s been known to jump up to my shoulders [owwwww] and ride on them)

I’ve learned to love it and to talk back.


wildflower's avatar

Hahaha….yea, it’s good for keeping my Faroese fresh. For some reason I can’t talk to pets in English, it’s just not right!

delirium's avatar

Hahahaha, I talk in a little bit of english and a little bit of cat.

(Something else that’s fun is learning to identify what meows mean what. My kitties both have different meows for different things. A purring whimpery thing as a “Oooh, wub!” which can be asking or thanking, and a Murroww as a somewhat demanding “HI! PAY ATTENTION!” and so on and so forth. Its nice to be able to talk back to them. [I am very proud of my flawless cat imitations] They get startled if I use the wrong one and sometimes will even fluff up or tail twitch at me which I take as a sort of “Well, I never!”.)

scamp's avatar

I have a very talkative cat. He’s pretty smart too. I ask him where the war is, and he answers (RRR ACCKK) When I ask him where he’s been, he says (RRR ound) and when he wants to go visit the neighbors, he goes to the door and says me-out!! ha ha!!

Seesul's avatar

Actually, you will never train a cat to meow less, the cat will train you to tolerate it. By now, you have probably figured that out.

scamp's avatar

@Seesul truer words were never spoken!

PIXEL's avatar

This is an easy problem to solve. Spank her with a spatula every time she meows.

ambahyo's avatar

MY cat used to have the same problem. She would meow for attention… or sometimes, for no reason at all. I have learned that a trick I used for my dog works on my cat too! When he stops meowing, say “quiet” in a calm voice and pet him. When he begins to meow again, stop petting him. If you continue to do that, he will soon realize that he gets more attention when he is quiet rather than loud. However, all cats are different, and respond differently…so I hope that if you do in fact try this, it works wonderfully for you too!

tanzy's avatar

he seems to have everything, so let him see what its like to have nothing. leave him in the flat, take away his toys and things everything but food and litter box, and dont pick him up, hell soon see what hes missing out on, give him a reat when hes good,

food's avatar

Maybe you gave him food or a prize before when he meowed. Make sure that whenever you give him food or a prize, that he is not meowing.

food's avatar

pixel, shame on you,

pinkclouds13's avatar

Was looking for help with this same issue, but am pretty sure I know what my cat’s problem is. He is almost 7, always been an inside cat, and recently got out accidentally and LOVED it! Now he begs at the door because he knows that’s how the dog gets let out and I can’t give in because he’d chase cars or something awful and is declawed. Catnip pillow for him to drool on is the only thing that has worked so far.

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