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post #1 of 3
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I've had my male cat, Vladimir, for five years. He had a sister until last fall when she died of cancer. Sister was not herself for the last year of her life and Vladimir definitely sensed it.

Vladimir has always been a vocal cat, annoying many a roommate of mine. He is also spoiled. He came to me that way from a previous owner and I never did anything to fix the problem; likely, I made it worse by reinforcing bad behavior (such as giving him food when he whines).

I'm a bad, bad cat-mom.

Well, now I'm reaping what I sow. After a year of living with a sick sister, and now almost a year of living as a single cat for the first time, Vladimir has become unbearable to live with.

My husband and I both work 9-5, so Vladimir is alone all day. He meows loudly and agressively while getting under my feet from the moment I walk in to the apartment. Actually, I can often hear him meowing from the lobby of my apartment building (we live on the third floor). I'm not sure if he meows often while we're away, or if he simply senses I'm home when he hears the lobby door. On several occassions, my husband has witnessed Vladimir wake from a nap, run to the front door, and meow loudly. Moments later, I walk in.

But the meowing doesn't stop when I get home. In fact, it rarely stops at all. Unless we are touching him, Vladimir will continue to meow. He does take breaks, but I can't figure out what, if anything, causes him to be satisfied. He'll be quiet after eating wet food--sometimes. If I brush him until he gets bored and walks away, he might be quiet--or he might walk away and resume whining. He wakes me up in the middle of the night and early in the morning.

I've tried nearly everything, but I'm so unhappy and desparate for his behavior to improve that I'm not sure I've stuck with anything long enough to get a result. If he's not better after a day or two (which he never is), I give up and try something else. He's been to the vet and is healthy. The vet encourage me not to reinforce his bad behavior. The problem is, he is almost always meowing. What am I supposed to do, ignore him and not feed him until he stops?

So, my question (finally) is: what should I try and how long should I keep at it before I give up?

I've tried:
-adding wet food and olive oil to his diet in case hard stool was making him feel bad and, therefore, whine. (This has created a dependence on wet food and bouts of frantic meowing in the morning and evening until I give him his food)
-Petting him and brushing him for ~15 minutes as soon as I get home.
-shooing him with a snapping towel and a loud voice every time he meows persistently (this tends to make me feel mean and guilty--plus raising my voice makes me more irritated)
-locking him in the bedroom when he meows, only letting him out when he is silent. (he's in there for a very long time, plus he's alone all day so I feel bed locking him away as soon as I get home)
-Spiking his food with a homeopathic anti-anxiety treatment for pets. (No noticeable change after 1 week)

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Please be sure to tell me how long to expect to wait for results--perhaps if I know it'll take a month, I can be patient!

post #2 of 3
I would try another cat. Perhaps he is lonely and this is his way of telling you. He could be bored, he needs a good tall cat post, cat toys and stimulation during the day.
post #3 of 3
Animal behaviorist and vet Dr Dodson has a book called The Cat Who Cried for Help and he gives an account of a similar cat — behaviorally that is — to yours. His advise was to withold food and attention (anything that kitty wants) when kitty is being demanding, and provide food and attention on YOUR terms. By giving in to the whine, it only teaches the cat to whine.

I guess thats easy for me to say. My cats are the noisiest in the world. In fact, one cat was a one word meower when we adopted her. Now she has many many many things she likes to tell us

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