Vocalizing is one way for your cat to communicate with you and with other animals. Some cats “talk” more than others, but most cats do make noise some of the time. We’re all familiar with the meaning of hissing and growling, but there are also many other sounds that your cat is capable of, and a variety of reasons for vocalizing.
If your cat’s behavior changes suddenly, the first thing you should do is take her to your veterinarian for a thorough health examination. Cats often hide symptoms of illness until they’re seriously ill. Any change in behavior may be an early indication of a medical problem. A new vocalizing behavior, in particular, may indicate physical discomfort stemming from an urgent need for medical attention.
Oriental breeds, such as the Siamese, are known to be very vocal. If your cat has a pointed face and a long, lean body, chances are she has some oriental heritage, so “talking” may be a part of her character.
Some cats “talk” because they know they’ll get a reaction. People may talk back to the cat, offer food, pick the cat up or engage in play with their cat, all of which can encourage the cat’s talkative nature.
Sometimes after the death or departure of a person or animal in your cat’s life, she will vocalize to express her grief. This can be a normal part of the grieving process. The best thing you can do for her is keep her schedule the same (or as close as possible) and spend some extra cuddle and playtime with her. With time, this problem should take care of itself.
If your cat is new to your home or has just gone through a change (move, new person/animal in the household, person moved out) and has just started her talkative behavior, be patient. This may be happening due to the transition and will stop on its own if the behavior is not encouraged. Remember, even scolding can be perceived by your cat as attention, and thus encourage the behavior.
Some Solutions To Try:
If your cat’s talking seems to be attention seeking behavior you’ll want to make sure that your cat has plenty to do during the day while you’re gone. Making sure they have a nice selection of toys and that those toys keep your cat engaged is a good place to start. Swapping toys out regularly for new toys will keep them new to your cat. You don’t need to buy new toys, you can simply keep the ones you have in a nice rotation so that your cat thinks they’re new and exciting. Offering battery operated toys that can engage your cat in play can be a great choice for more active cats.
Make sure that your cat has plenty of opportunities to peer outside, maybe watch some birds or the action outside, for some free enrichment. Some cats are intrigued by a fish tank or a TV left on with Animal Planet playing. These are great options when a window seat isn’t possible. Hanging a shiny mobile can serve the same purpose of visual stimulation.
You can offer a puzzle feeder, which can keep your cat engaged in play as well as keeping their mind engaged. Try wrapping some treats or catnip in small tissue paper balls and hiding them around your cat’s popular hang-out, this can create a scavenger hunt for them. Similarly, hiding toy mice that have been covered in cat nip creates a great scavenger hunt opportunity. A simple internet search for “cat puzzle feeders” or “cat enrichment” can come up with dozens of free or low cost ideas to make your own puzzle feeders and enrichment toys.
Don’t give in and start feeding your cat every time they meow at you. Keeping your cat on a reliable feeding schedule will reduce the amount of food seeking vocalizing you hear from your cat.
You’ll also want a reliable schedule of play time with your cat. Set aside time every day to really engage them in energetic play. Cats thrive on routine, if they know what to expect, they feel less need to vocalize to ask for it.
A great way to curb bedtime vocalizing is to make sure that your cat is awake and playing during the day and that once you’re home you’ve got a routine of energetic play and then a meal right before bed. Ignore the meowing at the bedroom door. If you stick to a routine that encourages play, then a good play session and meal right before bed, you’ll eventually see a reduction in the nighttime play needs.
If your newly adopted cat is vocalizing a lot, be patient with them. They need reassurance that everything is ok…. Giving them lots of love, playtime and extra treats can really help them to settle in and eventually the vocalizing will stop.