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training/meowing question

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Ok, stange question: is there any way to train a cat not to meow for food?
The only time Kipling ever talks to me is when he wants food which I know is normal, but for some reason, his voice just grates on my nerves, especially first thing in the morning.
Due to his weight, he is kept on a strict feeding schedule. He is fed three times a day, morning, after work and before bed. This schedule has not changed for the last few years. The absolute moment my alarm goes off he starts and I'll admit, I'm not a morning person so this is REALLY annoying. The moment I walk in the door from work, he starts. The moment 9:00pm comes he starts. Obviously he knows he's getting fed at these times because he only meows at those times. I've tried varying the times, but he watches me and for example, at 9pm the moment I make any movement at all regardless of whether its toward his bowl or not he starts. I've tried waiting till he takes a breath so that I only put the food down when he's quiet...well he's not quiet long enough to get the bowl down so he still gets rewarded for meowing (I only use positive methods to train my critters, never aversives). I've also tried free feeding him, but not only does he get too fat, but he still meows at me when its feeding time and then runs to his room to eat.

I know most people would not find this a problem, but he just has one of those voices that grates on my nerves.
amanda and kipling
post #2 of 22
His voice grates your nerves??? I don't get that in all honesty.

I would panic if my cats did NOT meow when it's feeding time. If they were totally quiet and did NOT come running, I would think they were sick!

What's so odd about your kit's voice? Is it low & growly, or throaty or something?

The moment I walk in the door from work, he starts. The moment 9:00pm comes he starts. Obviously he knows he's getting fed at these times because he only meows at those times.

Sounds to me like your cat is "simply trained" and this is a good thing. Aside from starving him or finding him a new home, I don't know what to tell you.
post #3 of 22
Training a cat not to meow for food is like telling a child not to ask for anything to eat when it's hungry.

It's a natural instinct for cats to meow. My two meow all the time when they see some wet food in my hand, and Sophie's meowing away right now because she wants me to open up the door to another bedroom just so she can have a wander around and come back out again, so if you'll excuse me....
post #4 of 22
I adore the sounds of my babies voices! There is no more lovely sound in the world than their good morning duet at breakfast time, and their greeting to their Mommy when I arrive home is the most loving I could ever imagine.
post #5 of 22
Goodness, I get an orchestra every morning. The cats all warm up their windpipes around me as I open up cans and set out kibble! I would hate to not have them be vocal, it is their way of saying Thank you, we appreciate what you do for us!

I would not suggest starving a cat as one reply suggested. Very BAD idea- how about putting on classical music, or wearing earplugs?
post #6 of 22
I can understand a voice grating on your nerves, but I suck it up and deal with it, it's part of pet stewardship.
We have one that whines, think of the most obnoxious, whiney child you have ever heard (bad parents!), his voice is very much like that.
Nice meows, angry meows, lovey meows, all in an extremely whiney voice.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
Goodness, I get an orchestra every morning. The cats all warm up their windpipes around me as I open up cans and set out kibble! I would hate to not have them be vocal, it is their way of saying Thank you, we appreciate what you do for us!

I would not suggest starving a cat as one reply suggested. Very BAD idea- how about putting on classical music, or wearing earplugs?
I would never starve my cat or use any aversive training methods. I didn't even take that as a real suggestion. Nor would I rehome him. I make a lifetime commitment to all my animals.
I don't know what it is about his voice that gets to me, I've never had another cat that bothered me in that way. I wouldn't even mind if he switched to another method of getting my attention such as pawing at me.
I just figured there may be a method of training an alternative behavior pattern. If I can teach a 70lb pit bull to ask politely before climbing into my lap for a cuddle, surely I can teach a cat an alternative to screaming LOL!
amanda and kipling
post #8 of 22
Guys I was only joking about starving the cat. I would hope to heck y'all know that??????

I was being sarcastic. Guess it came through too honest or something. One look at my cats and you can tell none are starved... 4 have "bellies".

Anyway I second the earplug advice. They make really good ones out there now, cuz there are alot of wives with snoring husbands, or on the flipside, husbands with nagging wives.
post #9 of 22
I have two cats, one talks when he's hungry, the other knocks stuff over. It's just their personality. Personally, I think it's cute. I think the suggestions to get earplugs and what not, that's good. I hate to be blunt but it's not the cat with the problem here...he's just being who he is. I'm a grouch in the morning too, but I deal with Napoleon talking to me when he's hungry, or Cassie knocking over my tissue box!
post #10 of 22
I believe training a cat would be a lot more difficult than training a pit bull.

If it is just HIS voice that bothers you so very much, perhaps you should try to find a new home for him (it sounds as though you have a few animals). Your frustration and dislike of his voice must surely be communicating itself to him as animals are not as stupid as some people would have you believe.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite
I believe training a cat would be a lot more difficult than training a pit bull.

If it is just HIS voice that bothers you so very much, perhaps you should try to find a new home for him (it sounds as though you have a few animals). Your frustration and dislike of his voice must surely be communicating itself to him as animals are not as stupid as some people would have you believe.
So you think that ripping him out of the only home he has ever known for over 10 years, away from all his best friends and dumping him in a strange place with a person he's never met before is a better alternative than trying to teach him a new behavior?
Sorry if I'm being rude, I know I'm new here and all. Maybe its from being in rescue, but I don't take rehoming an animal lightly.
You're right, animals are not as stupid as some people believe, that's why I happen to think training is a helpful tool and something that can only help enhance my relationship with him. I'd much rather make the effort teaching him a behavior we both can live with than just give up after 10 years and toss him out. Animals are not disposable when they become inconvenient.
amanda
post #12 of 22
No offense meant. As you can imagine, from just reading a post it is difficult to tell what tone of voice, frustration, etc. there is implied in that post.

Your post sounded as though you were at your wit's end ("voice grating on your nerves") and you say you've had this cat for 10 years so it seemed to me you were at the last straw with him.

If that were the case, (and I guess it's not from your response), then the only humane thing to do would be find him a home where his voice does not "grate on their nerves". I hope I didn't imply that you would take re-homing as less than serious. I also hope you will do what is best for the cat though.

I can appreciate his voice bothering you as our Bijou has a very loud Siamese voice and has no problem using it when he feels he needs to, but I love to hear him "talk" to me in that loud Siamese voice. If I didn't like the Siamese yowl, I wouldn't have gotten a Siamese and I know there are folks out there that won't get a Siamese just because they can be loud and that's fair.

I wish you luck training your cat to change his habits because as I said earlier, I'm sure it's much easier to train your pit bulls.
post #13 of 22
Ok...I think I'm probably the ONE person here who will admit to the fact that it irritates me when mine do this, too. My husband has successfully gotten them to stay out of the kitchen when we're putting food down (only after picking them up and putting them time & time again back out of the room, though), but they still meow about it. And this is while having a bowl of dry food out all the time!!

Hobbes is quite the piggy, so he BEGS for our food and RUNS into the kitchen whenever anyone goes in there. We have trained ours to know what "OUT!!" means, and they promptly leave the room. Not without a disgruntled squeak from Hobbes while leaving, though.

I've had many, many cats, and have never had success in getting them to stop meowing during feeding time, no matter what the food. So, don't feel alone in this. And you're not insane...it is VERY irritating (especially when you've JUST woken up...I'm not a morning person, either...so I can TOTALLY sympathize!!).

Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging, or have advice to help! Hopefully knowing others deal with it will help a bit, though!
post #14 of 22
I wonder if clicker training would work? It is supposed to be a behavior modification type of training- might be worth it to look into?
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullymom
I would never starve my cat or use any aversive training methods. I didn't even take that as a real suggestion. Nor would I rehome him. I make a lifetime commitment to all my animals.
I don't know what it is about his voice that gets to me, I've never had another cat that bothered me in that way. I wouldn't even mind if he switched to another method of getting my attention such as pawing at me.
I just figured there may be a method of training an alternative behavior pattern. If I can teach a 70lb pit bull to ask politely before climbing into my lap for a cuddle, surely I can teach a cat an alternative to screaming LOL!
amanda and kipling
Try this method. It might take some time but you may get the results you want from it.

Your cat needs a way to tell you that he's hungry - if the meow is something that you really cannot manage (and trust me, I'm sure you have tried - it's quite possible that is has a physical not just emotional effect on you and that is why you find it so hard to handle) you need to teach him an alternative.

Try standing there with the bowl of food in your hand with him watching you. You know he's not going to starve to death in five minutes so this is not cruel, it's discipline. He will watch you and meow and meow. After a minute or so his meowing will probably start to mellow out. When it reaches a point where he has been silent for a few seconds, give him the food. Do this for a week or two - EVERY time you feed him, not just in the morning. If he offers something different during that time - ie paws at you or something, praise him and then give him the food. But DO NOT give him the food if he meows at you.

You need to teach him that silence = food, or putting a paw up = food. Meowing does NOT = food. He will learn - but it will take patience and time on your behalf.

(To all the people who are going to think I'm mean and horrible and awful, I'm not!! My kitties are spoilt to death and very loved and very tolerated, but they also live in a community with myself and Max, and sometimes behaviours do need to be modified if they are causing difficulty, IMO)

Clicker-training would work really well in this instance, too. I have started a thread on it if you want to read...
post #16 of 22
Dushka learnt that meowing would not make me leap up out of bed to feed her, so she decided to get at me another way - she started ripping up all the papers on my desk! Unfortunately once that had worked a few times - I challenge anyone to stay calm and not act when you can hear the sound of ripping files - she now does it all the time as a way of getting my attention. Now I leave some scrap paper on the floor for her and put all my papers in plastic folders. I would rather have her meowing than destroying my work!
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson
Dushka learnt that meowing would not make me leap up out of bed to feed her, so she decided to get at me another way - she started ripping up all the papers on my desk! Unfortunately once that had worked a few times - I challenge anyone to stay calm and not act when you can hear the sound of ripping files - she now does it all the time as a way of getting my attention. Now I leave some scrap paper on the floor for her and put all my papers in plastic folders. I would rather have her meowing than destroying my work!
That is the PERFECT way to train your kitty! You don't have to end their behaviour - just shape it to how you want! Yay for you!

That was how we stopped Ruby biting our hands - we knew she was going to bite, all puppies do, but we consistently said `NO! Hand...' and gave her something else - she actively avoids our hands now even if she almost bites them by accident.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva!
Try this method. It might take some time but you may get the results you want from it.

Your cat needs a way to tell you that he's hungry - if the meow is something that you really cannot manage (and trust me, I'm sure you have tried - it's quite possible that is has a physical not just emotional effect on you and that is why you find it so hard to handle) you need to teach him an alternative.

Try standing there with the bowl of food in your hand with him watching you. You know he's not going to starve to death in five minutes so this is not cruel, it's discipline. He will watch you and meow and meow. After a minute or so his meowing will probably start to mellow out. When it reaches a point where he has been silent for a few seconds, give him the food. Do this for a week or two - EVERY time you feed him, not just in the morning. If he offers something different during that time - ie paws at you or something, praise him and then give him the food. But DO NOT give him the food if he meows at you.

You need to teach him that silence = food, or putting a paw up = food. Meowing does NOT = food. He will learn - but it will take patience and time on your behalf.

(To all the people who are going to think I'm mean and horrible and awful, I'm not!! My kitties are spoilt to death and very loved and very tolerated, but they also live in a community with myself and Max, and sometimes behaviours do need to be modified if they are causing difficulty, IMO)

Clicker-training would work really well in this instance, too. I have started a thread on it if you want to read...
Thanks Sarah,
I have tried this but he is very persistant, plus as soon as I start putting the bowl down, he meows again so unless I can get the bowl back up in time, he gets rewarded for meowing.
Maybe, I'll add the clicker to this to see if he gets the idea better.
I have lots of dog experience with the clicker, but have never tried it with him. Of course I'll have to close the door, the dogs all come running for their treats as soon as they hear the clicker LOL!
amanda and kipling
post #19 of 22
I know how irritating the strident meow can be. Fortunately, Sam only wails like that when he wants to go outside, and I can usually get him to stop.

Bailey meows for food all day long. Even if there is some in her dish, she thinks that I should be giving her more. She meows and runs to her food dish the moment I get out of bed, or walk in the door from work. All I could do is to delay the feeding. I wait for about 30 minutes after I get up in the morning, just so she doesn't associate me getting out of bed with the food going down.

It doesn't completely prevent the meowing, but it does sort of spread it out more evenly all day long. I don't think she can predict the feeding schedule, so she isn't so insistent at those two specific times of day.

Oh, and I am laughing, while I am typing this, she's standing with her paws on my thigh to remind me that I am here, she's here, and food isn't being put in her dish.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammie5
I know how irritating the strident meow can be. Fortunately, Sam only wails like that when he wants to go outside, and I can usually get him to stop.

Bailey meows for food all day long. Even if there is some in her dish, she thinks that I should be giving her more. She meows and runs to her food dish the moment I get out of bed, or walk in the door from work. All I could do is to delay the feeding. I wait for about 30 minutes after I get up in the morning, just so she doesn't associate me getting out of bed with the food going down.

It doesn't completely prevent the meowing, but it does sort of spread it out more evenly all day long. I don't think she can predict the feeding schedule, so she isn't so insistent at those two specific times of day.

Oh, and I am laughing, while I am typing this, she's standing with her paws on my thigh to remind me that I am here, she's here, and food isn't being put in her dish.
LOL!! That is too cute!!
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullymom
Thanks Sarah,
I have tried this but he is very persistant, plus as soon as I start putting the bowl down, he meows again so unless I can get the bowl back up in time, he gets rewarded for meowing.
Maybe, I'll add the clicker to this to see if he gets the idea better.
I have lots of dog experience with the clicker, but have never tried it with him. Of course I'll have to close the door, the dogs all come running for their treats as soon as they hear the clicker LOL!
amanda and kipling
I know! If they're smart they can start getting too big for their britches!! I used the clicker to teach Ruby the `off' command - and then she realised if she jumped, and then got off when she was told, she'd get a treat - so she kept jumping!! Little dag - I had to start intermittently treating after that to outsmart her right back...lol
post #22 of 22

I guess that someone who isn't a morning person will be annoyed by all the meowing. What my two do is more of a cooperative onslaught.

First, Princess comes to my ear and meows. I tell her to "go to sleep." I get to sleep for half hour.
Then I get both of them just sitting, right next to my face, like silent hypnosis will work. After that, I get the wet kisses on my toes, or my nose. The last assault is a 16 pound Bunny weight jumping on me at full tilt. They seem to enjoy the routine immensely.
After I feed them they mercifully allow me to go back to bed though.
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