Help: my cat meows in the morning!

By Patricia Durocher • 25 January 2021

It’s 6 a.m. and the alarm sounds. Except it’s not your alarm clock that’s ringing. Your cat has decided to let you know it’s time to get up…

Many kitty owners recognize themselves in this morning routine. And for good reason: morning meows are one of the main reasons for behavioral consultations.

Why does my cat meow in the morning?

Before trying to solve the problem, it’s important to understand why your cat is behaving in this way:

  • The most common reason is hunger. His meal is served in the morning, and like everyone else, he knows his routine: you get up, you go to the bathroom, you feed him. So it’s normal for him to want quick access to his food in the morning, and for that he knows you need to be awake.
  • Another reason could be that he simply needs attention. If your cat needs regular contact, he may find it a long time away from you. “Wake up and give me some hugs!”
  • He wants to play: Have you got into the habit of playing with your cat after waking up in the morning? If so, this could explain why your cat wants to make it a habit.
  • There’s been a change: his environment or routine may have changed recently. A single time change can throw kitty’s cues off course and cause him to meow. It’s a period of stress that can manifest itself in this way.

Cats are routine animals for whom habits are reassuring landmarks. He will naturally adjust his rhythm to ours. That’s why cats and humans get along so well. So, if you’ve got into the habit of giving him something when you wake up, your cat will remember it very well the next day, and the day after that. Your cat also knows that meowing is how things happen: food, play, going out, petting, etc. He knows that if he wakes you up (and thus meows), he’ll get what he wants. The routine is adopted without you even realizing it. And that’s because perhaps ONCE, you’ve responded to his mewing by giving him something. And your cat understands this very well.

What should I do?

Your cat needs to understand that there’s nothing special for him in the morning.

So you have to totally ignore it no matter what, no matter how hard it is! But of course, it’s going to take some time before he understands that. For any change in behavior, it takes about a fortnight (if the advice is properly applied), with variations and opportunities for the behavior to emerge. Understand here: “ah well, it doesn’t work anymore, so just wait and see what I can do”. Of course, in this case, you absolutely must not give in. Your cat is testing its abilities and your limits. Giving up now would be the equivalent of saying “yes, you’ll have to meow even louder and more often to get what you want”. So you ignore your cat, whatever happens (you don’t look at it, you don’t sigh, you don’t talk to it…).
At the same time, meals are now given in the evening before bedtime, rather than in the morning. This way, your cat will have no reason to meow. Of course, it may take a few days to adjust. The same goes for other things: play in the evening and wait several minutes after waking up before giving it attention, even if it meows!

Votre chat doit comprendre que ce n’est pas en miaulant qu’on obtient quoique ce soit.
“Plus facile à dire qu’à faire” pensez-vous. Et pourtant, aucun secret ici : il faut ignorer votre chat lorsqu’il miaule. Afin de faciliter les choses, on peut aussi trouver une variante temporaire : répondez à sa demande uniquement lorsqu’il miaule doucement. De cette façon, vous l’encouragerez à s’exprimer de façon auto-contrôlée et à un volume mesuré. Et plus tard, vous pourrez en arriver à la phase où votre chat vous regarde en silence et ne miaule plus. Si vous souhaitez accélérer les choses : récompensez-le avec une gâterie lorsqu’il est silencieux (peu importe ce qu’il fait à ce moment-là). Faites-le de façon aléatoire. Ainsi, il généralisera vos conséquences agréables au fait qu’il n’a plus besoin de miauler pour en avoir.

Donnez de la stimulation à votre chat.
Un chat qui s’ennuie est plus porté à miauler pour tout et pour rien. Il convient donc de trouver des façons de l’occuper. Comme tout animal, il a besoin d’activités et de stimulation mentale afin de préserver un équilibre physique et psychologique. Utilisez pour ceci des bols de nourriture interactifs (ex. : Intellikatt de BeOneBreed ou Thin Kat de Aikiou). Plusieurs modèles existent sur le marché et permettent au chat de travailler et réfléchir pour accéder à la nourriture. Une excellente façon de dépenser son énergie en plus de l’inciter à manger plus doucement et éviter ainsi la prise de poids ou les vomissements.
D’autres idées de stimulations : faites-lui une piste au trésor de gâteries ou de croquettes avant de vous coucher, faites une rotation de sets de jouets aux 15 jours, jouez avec lui à la chasse à l’aide d’un plumeau, mettez-lui des zones où grimper, etc. N’hésitez pas à lui apprendre des tours comme le High-Five. Oui, votre chat est capable d’apprendre plein de choses! Usez de votre imagination pour enrichir le quotidien de votre compagnon et rendre son quotidien le fun!

Manage your environment

While you’re waiting for things to fall into place, don’t hesitate to “protect” yourself by closing your bedroom door or moving your cat to another room. To do this, you’ll need to make this new area very attractive to your cat, so think about providing new toys, hidden treats everywhere, high places to climb, and so on. Use earplugs for the coming period. In short, arm yourself with the kit of the human ready to put up with anything 😉

With patience and a little time, you’ll be able to reduce your cat’s meowing while making his daily life more pleasant 🙂

Warning: if your cat’s behavior is sudden, you may need to investigate its health, as it may be in pain.


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