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Kitten won’t stop meowing

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Sophwatson21, Apr 7, 2019.


  1. Sophwatson21

    Sophwatson21 PetForums Newbie

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    Hello, my first post!

    I have two new kittens, adopted from a charity. They are brother and sister, just over five months old and settled in to my home quite well now. They are indoor cats.

    I’m noticing one of the kittens, the boy, is a lot more vocal, bossy and dominant than his sister.

    While she is playful and likes some attention from me, she’s a lot calmer than he is. She tends to relax a lot faster, stay lying down while he darts around the house etc

    So far, I’m doing everything in my power to ignore his meows. He does it when I go to bed at night (I don’t allow them in my bedroom) and when he wakes up in the morning. He meows for food if I go to the kitchen as well. His sister, doesn’t do any of this though.

    I know ignoring the meowing is the best way to deal with his behaviour and eventually he will learn it gets him nowhere.

    My question is, what do I do about his sister who is always quiet and calm? It doesn’t seem fair to ignore her or deprive her of feeding time just because I’m waiting for him to be quiet.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Sophwatson21 and welcome :)

    I have never heard it said that ignoring a crying kitten is the best way to treat them. Especially a kitten who has not long been living in your home and may be feeling insecure or anxious from the recent upheaval and changes in his life.

    Miaowing is the way the kitten communicates with humans, and he is trying to tell you how he feels. It is important to respond to him, as much as you can. Give him your full attention and ask him what is wrong in a kindly gentle, upbeat tone. This action in itself may stop him crying.

    Of course if you are busy, right in the middle of something you can't leave, then you can't go to him when he cries, but you can call out to him in a friendly way to let him know you have heard him. And that will reassure him.

    I wouldn't ignore him if he cries for food. He may be crying because he is hungry. A 5 month old kitten has a lot of growing to do and will have a big appetite.

    Your boy will need 4 meals a day of wet food, and might need as much as 400 grams of wet food a day to satisfy him. (that's 4 pouches x 100 grams a day). If you are feeding foods such as Felix of Whiskas they are not very nourishing as they contain a high percentage of vegetable protein which cats cannot digest as they lack the right enzyme.

    Your female may have a smaller appetite, it is not unusual for that to be the case.

    At nighttime I would start a bedtime routine for your kittens. Kittens and cats are very good at learning routines as long as you are consistent. Choose a room which will be warm and cosy for them overnight, a room on their own where you can close the door.

    Give them a tasty supper at bedtime and then sit quietly with them while they eat, groom and settle for sleep. Provide cosy cat beds off the floor and leave a radio on low all night playing soothing classical music. When they are settled for sleep you can tiptoe out of the room, saying nothing to them, and close the door. Then go to bed and close your bedroom door.

    Kittens learn routines so quickly that it is likely you will only need to sit with them at bedtime for 20 minutes or so, for about a week. After that you will probably be able to put them to bed with their supper and close the door until morning. :)
     
  3. Sophwatson21

    Sophwatson21 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your response :)

    While I haven’t had the kittens for a very long time, I did mean it when I said that they have settled in very well.

    So this is exactly my point. He is too confident to the point that he’s getting demanding and bossy (I know, I know, dogs have owners and cats have slaves...)

    I understand what you’re saying, you shouldn’t ignore a cat’s cries in case there is a problem but... he has plenty of food that he likes, I put down enough for three feedings per day and they rarely eat all of it. I clean the litter tray often (no accidents outside the tray since they’ve been here) and his health and growing rate is perfect according to the vet. He’s energetic, playful, I keep him clean, play with them every day and give them plenty of cuddles and strokes when they come to sit on my lap.

    So at this point I’m sure it is a behaviour issue. He wants my attention when I’m in a room that he can’t get into (my bedroom, the kitchen). Otherwise, he stays quiet or purrs.

    So please tell me, should I continue to ignore both of them even though the girl doesn’t meow? Is there a way to reward her without giving in to his demands?
     
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    No you should not ignore him. When he meows, talk to him. If you are able, give him a few minutes of play time. Make sure he doesn't need anything.

    Kittens need wet food. As was already mentioned feed four meals of wet food a day. Feed as much as they will eat at each meal. Meaning, put down some wet food. If the kitten eats it all, put down some more. If he eats all that, put down a little bit more. This will help keep him satisfied and strengthen your bond with them both. Meal times are important. Each kitten should have his or her own spot for eating. They can learn to wait at that spot as you prepare their dishes. It is a wonderful opportunity to provide them with special attention and allow them to develop their own personalities.

    Hopefully they are spayed and neutered already?

    Some cats are talkers. Some cats talk non stop. It's just the way they are wired. I've known of a few that way, my mother had a cat like that, and I've read threads in forums about cats like that too. Ignoring a cat like that will not stop him. Paying attention to him is a better way to handle it.

    Make sure they get adequate interactive play time from you, be sure they have plenty of places to scratch and climb, and perch up high and a box fort for hiding and things like that.

    Most cats can't stand closed doors and will cry and scratch at them. Just let him in.
     
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  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi again @Sophwatson21 - thank you for clarifying that your male kitten is crying outside doors of rooms you are in, which he can't access. So he is trying to get to you and that is normal cat behaviour!

    As Lorilu said, some cats chatter all the time to their humans. Their humans are able to tell the difference between their cat's 'friendly chatter' and their cat crying urgently to be let into a room. It's not a matter of "in case" there's a problem - a cat crying persistently outside a closed door does have a problem (as far as the cat is concerned). It is important for humans to see things from the cat's point of view.

    I have had lots of cats over the years who have hated to be shut away from me. 3 of my current cats are the same way. If they can't get to me because the door is closed they cry and become agitated and anxious.

    As Lorilu has said, ignoring your kitten's cries is not going to stop him crying. He will either continue to cry ad infinitum, or he may start expressing his frustration in other ways, e.g. scratching your carpets or your furniture to comfort himself because you are ignoring him.

    I can understand you may feel the need to shut the kittens out of the kitchen when you're cooking. But why do you need to shut them out of the bathroom? I never shut my cats out of the bathroom when I am in there. If you have guests and want privacy, then let the kitten in the bathroom with you and close the door afterwards.

    I don't shut mine out of the kitchen either; I have a tall cat tree in the dining part of the kitchen so the cats can sit and watch me cooking or prepping food. Mostly they sit and snooze on the cat tree as I work. They are just happy to be with me.

    You mentioned withholding food from the kittens until the male has stopped crying. That would be an unkind thing to do and would be punishing the kittens for the male's normal behaviour. You can't train cats/kittens by punishing them, they don't understand it. It puzzles them and worries them because they don't make the connection between their behaviour and your behaviour to them.

    A cat will not make a connection between him crying outside the bathroom or kitchen door and you later withholding his food! Please never withhold food from a hungry kitten/cat other than for medical reasons (e.g. if he has to be fasted before surgery).

    My answer to your question is:

    1/ No, you should not continue to ignore both kittens when the male kitten cries. You should not ignore either of them.

    2/ No, you can't reward the female for her normal, quiet behaviour while you ignore the male for his normal, vocal behaviour. You would in effect be punishing the male for being different to the female, and I am sure you can see how unfair and unkind that would be to the male.

    It would be better to feed the kittens individual meals rather than just putting down 3 meals at a time for them. Meal times for cats are special and are occasions when the bond between cat and human is continually reinforced. A cat feels reassured by seeing their human preparing their food. Smelling the food stimulates the cat's appetite and the cat associates the human with good things.

    Feeding your cats should be a social occasion, and social transaction. Giving them individual meals, in their own separate bowls, at set times of day is a good routine. Cats thrive on routines. Just putting down a bowlful of dry food to last them all day is not a social transaction between you and your cats. The food just "appears" and the kittens may make no connection between it and you.

    If you are out in the daytime you can use timed auto-feeders to open every 5 hours or so, and put wet food in them. Kittens need wet food.
     
    #5 chillminx, Apr 8, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
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  6. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    At 5 months old kittens are like toddlers if you are there they want and need your attention most of their waking hours , please don't ignore either when they cry ,you may see it as "demanding" but they don't think like that.
    Your little lad is crying for a reason and it is in your job description to find out what he wants ,I can understand you preferring to keep them out of your bedroom while you sleep but unless there are dangers in any other rooms keeping the doors shut will only make them more interested in them.
    My 9 year old Raggie still paws/occasionally meow's at a cupboard door which,for his own safety is never open unless I'm there with him all he wants is to see inside to check all is well behind the door.
    Apart from that cupboard door he has free rein to go anywhere in the house with no doors closed to him (he can open most of them anyway even if they are closed ):rolleyes:
    If he starts to meow at me when I'm doing something I just talk to him and give him a fuss usually that's all he wants , 5 minutes of my time :)
     
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