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constantly meowing cat - need help!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My boyfriend and I adopted Lucy from an animal shelter about 4 months ago. She is between the ages 3-4 (shelter wasn't certain). Ever since we got her, she has been meowing non-stop. She starts in the morning and goes until leave for work. When we come home, she's at it again.

The only thing that works is to play with her and pet her. I would love to be able to play with her every second I am awake, unfortunately, I have other duties.

We have tried ignoring her. We have tried giving in and petting her whenever we can. We've tried blowing in her face, a "firm no" and a light swat...nothing works.

She clearly wants our attention...and we try really hard to give it to her. But nothing is ever enough for her. I've had cats my entire life, and none has stumped me like she has...I feel like a horrible parent because I can't seem to make her happy.

Does anyone have a similar story...with a happy ending?
post #2 of 15
Has she been vet checked recently? Is she spayed? When a cat is meowing constantly, there are reasons for it and it is up to the cat owner to try and figure out what. Is her litterbox clean enough? Is it in a private enough place? Are there recent changes in the house, no matter how small? She could be lonely, have you given a thought to getting her another kitten so she can have company? Hopefully she has not been declawed? That can also contribute to this type of behaviour. Try and do interactive playtime with her for about 20 minutes, just you and her, with you on the floor next to her. But first and foremost get her vet checked and if she is not spayed, get her spayed also. Chances are she already is, but as you didn't say, I am just trying to cover all the bases.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
i will take her to the vet. i have been trying to figure this out for months. this morning her meows were so desperate, it seemed like someone was trying to kill her. this is what woke us up this morning. she is quiet now because my boyfriend is playing with her.

as far as i know, she is spayed. this is what the shelter told us. but, it would make sense if she weren't, and explain a lot.

she's not declawed, and her litter box is in a really private spot. i've considered that she's lonely...and have thought about another cat. but the shelter made a point to say that she doesn't like other cats, so it seemed like it might make things worse. i am bringing another cat into our home to babysit it while its owner is on vacation for a week. i will see what happens when he gets here.

thanks so much for your thoughts.
post #4 of 15
I agree that she should have a thorough checkup. Assuming that all is well medically, consider adopting a pet for her! Perhaps she simply needs company, in which case getting her a kitten of her very own may be just the ticket.
post #5 of 15
I have the same kind of cat. I have had him now for 11 years and have taken him to numerous vets to make sure nothing is wrong with him. He has had every test in the book and nothing is wrong with him. The vets all say he is just an anxious cat. He walks around and HOLLERS all day and all night! Not just a quiet meow but a LOUD Holler. People can't believe how loud this cat is. Now I would say he is just lonely except that I had another cat for 9 of those years and he was just as bad then as he is now that he is alone. We also think he is deaf.

My worst problem is that he does it all night long. On a good night he only wakes us up twice but on a bad night he wakes us up at least 5 times a night, usually every hour starting at about midnight. We've tried everything! Swatting him, spraying him (he likes that), feeding him, throwing pillows at him, shutting him in the basement, shutting him out of the room. He just paws (bangs) at the door if we shut it. And when he's really bad he crawls under the bed where we can't reach him and hollers! It would be funny if it wasn't 3:00 AM.

My vets have put him on several different anti-depressent and anti-anxiety drugs but nothing seems to work. We are having a baby in November and I am frantic about what to do with the cat. I'm losing sleep now and can't imagine what it will be like to lose sleep over the cat and the baby.

Today I found a really good article on the web that I'm going to try. I'll give you the two web addresses and maybe you can try it. I'm going to give it a shot.


Write back, I'm so glad to find someone with the same problem that I can talk to. I love him to death but he drives me insane! Last night I was up every hour after midnight.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks for posting. i'm glad we're not alone!

i have actually read the articles you posted. i've tried them for the most part, but honestly, it's really hard to play with Lucy only when she's quiet because she's never quiet. I know my boyfriend and I reinforce the behavior because we give into her meows and give her attention. It's mostly because we're desperate for silence. And we love her and want her to be happy, even though she makes us crazy.

Lucy sounds like she's a little more quiet than your cat. Lucy settles down once we go to bed, but wakes us at 5 a.m. So, we have a good 6 hours of silence from her. And we work all day, so who knows what she does while we're gone.

I'm pretty sure the vet will say she's fine. But maybe she could use some anti-depressants or something. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, we can certainly support each other in our endeavors to silence our talkative animals. :-)
post #7 of 15
I cannot recommend this one website highly enough. I have one cat Kahuna who is a lynx-point siamese mix and he would come into the house every night, walk right up to me and start crying and crying and crying and crying. I would feed him, pet him, rub him, ignore him and he would cry and cry. I posted here and someone (I believe it was Anne) told me about this site, I went there and posted and she answered me back quickly, gave me a solution that worked! Good luck

Think Like a Cat
post #8 of 15
I agree, I've tried that technique too and it didn't work but I'm going to try one more time. I don't think anyone else would want him because of this problem and I'm afraid of what's going to happen when we have a newborn. I'm running out of options for him. He's such a special cat and we love him to pieces but....

I would tell your vet, if there's nothing wrong healthwise, that you want to try Amitriptiline (sp) or Buspar. Amitriptiline worked for a while until he built up a tolerance and we switched to Buspar but he's building up a tolerance to that now too. We've tried others but they didn't work, and valium actually made him worse.

People just don't understand what we're going through. I've tried to explain it to people and they say, oh it can't be that bad.

Good luck and PLEASE tell me what your vet suggests and how the visit turns out!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Reading these boards has reminded me that Lucy is really a wonderful cat, despite this meowing issue. She doesn't pee on anything, scratch our furniture or jump on our counters or bite. She's not mean or aggressive. She talks. A LOT.

I got some suggestions about playing with her more to try to tire her out. I will try that. Has anyone ever taken their cat for a walk? I sometimes wonder if she needs more stimulation than being in our 2 bedroom apartment all day and all night. We live near a big park, but it might freak her out. Any thoughts?
post #10 of 15
I tried but it was like pulling a sack of potatoes! But I didn't work on it with him. I've seen people do it, but not very often. I put him on a little leash once so he could sit outside with us and no matter what kind of collar or harness I bought, he wormed his way out of it.

And I agree with you, there are so many behavioral problems that are worse. Barney's brother that died a couple of years ago like to pee next to his litterbox.

You're right, it could be worse. I'll write that on my bathroom mirror so I can read it at 3:00 AM when I'm up with him.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
a friend of mine gives her cat some kind of valium (a very, very small amount) and her cats stopped giving her trouble (they chased each other around all night. I will ask her about this...and maybe you can get some sleep! I understand how you must feel...I'm very protective of my sleep and get pretty grouchy when anyone intrudes on it! i'll post back what i find.
post #12 of 15
We actually have a prescription and gave him some and it made him worse! They said what we gave him was a small dose, but he could hardly walk but hollered like he was stoned. Right now I keep waking him up and annoying him. We'll see how this works. Keep me posted. Thanks
post #13 of 15
I walk Fitzy and that really calms him down--he's a talker too and and indoor boy. I will warn you that if you do this and they like it (especially with a talker like mine) be prepared for a few days of demanding meows. Fitz did this until he realized that he does not make the walking schedule, I do. I will also let him out on the balcony and he can watch and hear everything going on outside. He was watching a couple of dogs playing the other day and he started moving around like he wanted to join them. I'll also take him for rides in the truck and he loves that. Good luck with your kitties.
post #14 of 15
You want to be careful in medicating a cat with anything. I had a wonderful kitty name of Bacardi- she died a few months ago. She was rescued very young by me, out of a dumpster her and her brothers and she was a great cat, until a time when she began to show signs of strange behaviour. When you pet her, her skin would ripple, she would try to bite you, she would run around in a circle for long minutes, then collapse panting. We took her to 4 different vets and no one could come up with a clue. I did an internet search and after some time found this disease called feline hyperesthsia, I printed out all the information took it to the vet. She had been tried on many medications, with really bad reactions to most (hyperventalating) high fevers, rapid heart beat..... So they kept switching meds trying to find a balance for her to give her some peace. One afternoon she began seizing and wouldn't stop. We had her euthanized. I believe she was over medicated but I also believe she had some sort of brain disorder too. I do not fault the vets for trying all these meds on her, prozac, valium, anti-epileptic drugs, but just please be careful what you decide to put into your cat's system. The results can sometimes bring you to tears.
post #15 of 15
[quote]Originally posted by Barney's Mom
WOW. So other people have the same problem! I have the sweetest cat, Buster who is such a chatty little guy. BUT he YELLS and whines, and drives me nuts when I am home- unless he is eating his dinner or taking a nap. He has a sister who hates him (don't know what is up with that, it happened after he went to the vet and came home-apparently she didn't know it was him anymore). She won't play with him, it always ends in a fight. Anyhow, he has his quiet sweet moments.... which is part of why I absolutely adore this little guy! I have figured out that whenever he sees another cat outside the window, he goes beserk with the howling and mewing and trying to talk to them. He runs from window to window, hoping to get a glimpse. If I play with him and bug him so he doesn't sleep, it definately helps. And then there was the time I actually prayed to relieve him from his anxiety, and it seemed to work for a couple of weeks! But then he goes back to the old ways- or some old stray cat gets in his view at 4 am. I leave the window open by the bed so he can keep watch. All the windows have shades on them, and he just nudges them out of the way. Besides, closing all the windows and shades means I will boil to death, and that doesn't work for me.

The interesting thing is that his sister Precious is SUCH A GOOD GIRL. She wakes up in middle of night and plays by herself. Sometimes she shouts out a few words here and there- (and her voice is so funny), but she really keeps to herself! When she is done, she goes back to sleep- the only way I know she got up is because he has made enough noise to wake us both up! But she is such a good girl, and never does anything bad-- ever!

So what can I say to help? I have tried it all- playing with him with a flying bird, laser pen, squirt bottle, chasing him around, throwing him in the shower, yelling, putting him back in bed, you name it. I think he knows he is being bad, because if I put him in bed and scold him with my finger (you bad boy!) it appears like he gets it. But then, in a few minutes he is right back at it. Sometimes when he sleeps til 4 am and then wakes up howling, I just take a pillow and cover my ears! If he doesn't get any response, he has to give up, right? Well, I have to say covering MY ears is the most effective method- I think it works because I am so tired, I fall back asleep because I can't really hear him through that pillow, or he just gives up trying to wake me up.

The thing is though, it is such a big drag to go through this every single night! Oh, excuse me a minute... I have to go wake him up now before he gets too much REM sleep. When I go to sleep tonight I will say another prayer to relieve him from any anxiety he may be feeling because the cats in the neighborhood are lurking outside.

By the way, I tried the leash thing with him= taking him out on Sundays. That ended up being a HUGE NIGHTMARE, because I found that I could NOT reason with him and tell him that we only go out on Sundays. He wanted to go out any time I got home, or was home on the weekends. Its like with kids- once they get to a certain age you can tell them no and explain why. With Buster, no reason ever worked, because he just doesn't understand why he can't go out when he wants to.

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