How to Train a Cat to Be Quiet – An Ultimate Guide
Your feline buddy is a little too talkative? Don't worry I got you.
Cat meows can be delightful when we are in the mood for it, but it can get a little annoying when your cat starts to meow in the middle of you trying to do something else. Particularly when your cat meows during the night, while you are trying to sleep.
There's one particular thing that makes it very annoying, which is that your cat will learn which particular sound triggers you and stick to that one. Seems evil, right? Well, it works. Otherwise, you would not be reading this post.
Cats don't generally talk with other cats using sounds, they mostly do it during kittenhood, as adults, they relinquish this to almost only mating or in fights.
When their meowing becomes unbearable it's usually too late because we've been rewarding and reinforcing the behavior (even if you think you didn't).
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But don't worry, there are a few ways to make your cats stop meowing excessively. So keep reading to learn everything there is to know about teaching your cat to stop using annoying meows to get your attention.
Why Is My Cat So Talkative?
A cat will discover that if it meows for a long enough period, you will give attention by feeding, playing, or waking up to let it come into your room. Remember that we unintentionally reinforce our chatty cats' behavior by giving them attention. The more we react or respond to them, the more they will meow.
Some of the reasons that might trigger your cat to try to get your attention are:
- Lonely and Bored
Cats are not low-maintenance pets, you probably already know that. Cats need regular playtime to deplete their energy. A cat that does not get the enrichment they need indoors will most likely be unhappy.
When trying to fill the void of boredom, cats will engage (usually) in behavior that's perceived as negative by humans. Increased vocalizations are one of them, but I can assure you there could become destructive or even aggressive.
Cats can sometimes try to fill the void of boredom by eating (don't we all?).
But sometimes, they might be hungry or thirsty. Some cats will let you know they are hungry by meowing at you.
NOTE: By feeding your cats when they meow, you are reinforcing the behavior.
- Cats in heat
Unneutered female cats will typically go into heat (also known as estrus) multiple times per year.
While in heat, they will experience hormonal changes that lead to behaviors such as increased vocalization, rubbing against objects, and a desire to mate. These behaviors can be quite pronounced and may be distressing for both the cat and its owner.
Female cats will also be more likely to try to escape the house in search of a mate. In addition to behavioral changes, physical changes such as swollen genitals and a bloody discharge can also occur.
It is recommended to spay or neuter your cat to prevent unwanted pregnancy, excessive meowing, and other behavioral issues.
- Senile Cats
Sometimes cats may undergo deteriorating vision or hearing. When cats can not see, hear or smell, they can get frustrated and cry out.
- Other issues
Additional physiological conditions that can make cats cry and meow can come from discomfort, either physical or psychological.
If your cat seems to be vocalizing more frequently, it is important to get them inspected immediately by a veterinarian. They will help to evaluate whether your pet has any medical or behavioral issues so they can be dealt with effectively.
Are All Cats so Talkative?
It's a normal thing for cats to talk, particularly when they are kittens. They use meows to communicate with their moms. I guess that humans take that nourishing role after they leave their “nest”.
Every cat has a distinctive personality of their own. Some will talk a lot, and some won’t. Breeds, such as Siamese cats or Bengal Cats tend to be naturally louder.
Your cat might just simply be meowing to say "hello" or maybe for some other reason, but once they reach adulthood, they typically don't meow at one another anymore. Only humans have access to their distinctive vocal language.
Can a Cat be Trained Not to Meow?
Yes, cats can easily be trained not to meow.
Ignoring undesirable behavior and rewarding desired behavior are the best ways to train cats. It's as simple as not responding to your cat's meows.
Instead, you have to wait for your cat to stop and only reward or give treats when they are calm.
When you first begin training your cat, this method will require you to wait for short moments of silence before giving rewards. As your cat learns that being quiet is rewarded, you can then wait for extended periods of silence before treating them.
Instead of punishing them for meowing, cats are easily disciplined and will learn better and quicker when they are rewarded for making certain behaviors. Behaviors that are rewarded, are likely to be repeated in the future.
Remain optimistic and patient when working with your cat during a training session. It might take some time, but ultimately your cat will understand.
Punishment in Cats
Keep in mind that any response to your cat's meows for attention only serves to reinforce the behavior.
That includes shouting back at your cat, answering back when the cat meows, and giving the cat what it wants when it meows loudly. If you wait for them to be loud, you are training them to meow louder when they want results. That makes sense, right?
Also, consider how inhumane is to punish a cat just because they are meowing. They have an unmet need, and it’s your responsibility as a cat guardian to ensure their needs are met. Plus, punishing will make your cat lose trust in you or even make dislike you.
How Do You Quiet a Talkative Cat?
Finding the cause is the first step in getting your cat quiet.
• Check whether your cat is hungry or not
If your cat wants food and is meowing for treats or food, and even though it is not mealtime, try to avoid them at that time and wait till they stop and it's the right time to feed.
Prioritize your cat's health and well-being as the main reason for doing this. Cats can develop obesity if they are overfed. Only give them food during designated meal times, if possible.
About 80% of cats in the US are overweight, and cat parents who have not been able to ignore their cat's meowing when hungry are usually the reason.
• Meowing at Night
If your cat only meows during the night when you're sleeping, probably that behavior is accompanied by many others like zoomies and throwing things off the table.
Your cat has probably too much energy. You may need to include more play sessions in your routine.
This type of meowing is frequently related to your cat's boredom. Before going to bed, spend some time playing with your kitty. Then, after playing, serve your cat's last meal.
This progression PLAY - EAT - SLEEP will get your cat to meet your circadian rhythm.
• Check whether the Litter Box is clean or not
If your cat is whining by the litter box, try cleaning the litter box more regularly. A fresh litterbox will make your cat more comfortable when going to the litter and prevent unwanted complaints.
• Check whether your cat is sick or not
If your cat is speaking more frequently than usual, it might be trying to communicate with you. It might be trying to get your attention or being sick.
Changes in behavior like meowing excessively can be linked to illness. If you can differentiate between your cat's regular meow and the new one that sounds unusual or like a persistent cry, consider visiting your veterinarian.
What Words Do Cats Understand?
In general, cats are quieter than dogs, and their behaviors and body language can be tough to understand, but we can learn about it, for example in this video below:
Just like we can learn cat body language, cats can also learn what words mean. Most cats understand their name and can learn to come on command. Words that are particularly relevant for them like food, outside, or play are the first words that your cat is going to learn.
Talking buttons have grown very popular amongst pet owners as this tool will help our cats use words to express their thoughts and desires.
Learn more about talking buttons in this blog
According to research, a cat can understand human expressions and gestures very well. In fact, when training a cat using a clicker, the gestures are more important than the verbal cues.
Can You Train A Cat To Meow On Command?
Just like you can train your cat to be quiet, you can train a cat to talk on command.
- Wait until they meow
Most cats will meow sooner or later when they need to get our attention. When that happens, use a marker to mark the behavior as positive. Clicker training or "YES" will work. Below is how I taught my cat Mia to meow on command:
- Understanding and anticipating the meow
I understood that Mia meowed in the morning, when she was hungry.
- I created a verbal cue and I would use it in the morning, so that her meow sounded like an answer to me. I would say (while she was already meowing) "Are you hungry?" and she would meown in response.
- Then I would reward generously after they respond to the cue, so that she learned that if she said meow after "Are you hungry?" she'd get food.
In conclusion, cats meowing is a natural behavior that can be caused by a variety of factors such as hunger, boredom, or a need for attention. While some meowing is normal, excessive meowing can be a sign of an underlying issue and should be addressed by a veterinarian.
To reduce meowing, it is important to provide your cat with regular meals, plenty of playtime and activities, and a comfortable living space. Additionally, using positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding quiet behavior can also be effective in reducing meowing.
Overall, understanding your cat's meowing behavior and providing them with the proper care and attention can help keep both you and your feline companion happy and content. Start disciplining your cat to stop meowing, it's easier than it seems and will save you and your family some headaches.
Stay Wild, Stay safe, and See you Outdoors!
Albert & Mia
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