Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)/meowing cat

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Question
I would love your help with one of my 5 cats. I have a momma cat age 5yrs and her 4 kids 2 boys 2 girls age 2yrs. One of the boys, Oso, insists on meowing and meowing starting at 4am-5am every morning until you wake up. He wont stop. We tried spraying him with a water bottle but he just hides around the corner and meows. If we close the bedroom door he meows and claws at the door. We feed them wet food 2 times a day. Once in the morning and once at night. My wife gets up and feeds him in the morning when he wakes us up then comes back to bed, or tries. He is not content until you are up. Hes not looking for love or attention because he just goes on playin with his sidlings. How do we get him to stop meowing so we can get some sleep?

Answer
Hi Jason,
Thanks for writing!
There could be several reasons and i will briefly cover some of them for you.

Sounds like your wife has inadvertently encouraged the behavior by getting up each time- "training him" to meow for food..This basically has enforced to him that when he meows - food comes.. Don't worry- with patience it can be reversed..
People inadvertently & unknowingly encourage the vocalizing behavior by rewarding the kitty- every time kitty cries- if someone jumps to go over then you are essentially training him to be vocal.
Be mindful of this-.
By responding or petting when they meow- this gives the signal that when he meows- you or your wife come running.. That would need to stop. Encourage the quiet behavior. Reward him for quiet time.

If he is crying bc he wants food- feed him right before bed..
I don't like dry food but if he is an early riser for food- you can put some crunchies as supplemental to his canned diet in a kitty puzzle- this keeps him occupied as he tries to get the kibble out of the toy. This keeps him occupied and also he gets some food if hunger is the reason he cries. An occupied kitty is a quiet kitty.

Other reasons - kitties cry...
Is he neutered? Un-neutered kitties will caterwaul. If he is not neutered- book an appt at the vet or humane society -

Older kitties meow a lot for medical reasons but he seems too young for issues such as hyperthryoid which makes them very vocal, or else i would recommend a blood test.

How often do you have interactive play with him? Encourage his day time activities and interactively play with him to keep him occupied and happy so he can sleep through the night. I would say twice  a day and once before bed time.

Also, take a look at the environment- is it kitty friendly & stimulating for a kitty?
Lots of sunny accessible windows and perches? Cat trees and places for him to climb to see what is going on outside and with the birds etc? I don't know if they are indoor or indoor/outdoor but indoor kitties get bored really easily like any kid would and we need to provide adequate, yet safe stimulation to keep them mentally engaged. The more he is content and engaged during the day the more likely he will sleep through the night.
The older they get the more likely the hours they sleep at night extent. His is 2 yrs which is roughly 20 human years so he is raring to go with loads of energy. Provide for his mental/physical needs and things should fall into place.

But it sounds like from your note- your wife should stop feeding when he meows..Implement the other suggestions and you should see improvement.
Best of luck!
Shanti

Cat Training and Behavior (Domestic and Feral)

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