noisy kitty.
July 27, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

My new kitten is making me crazy. He never never never never stops meowing. It's still sort of cute in a really annoying way right now but i know it will be nothing but obnoxious once he gets full grown. How normal is this?

I'm meow every 2 seconds for hours at a time. He needs to be with me all the time and will sit at my feet and meow if he isn't in my arms, and will frequently meow the same way when he's IN my arms, if I'm not petting him. He meows when I'm in the shower, when I'm doing the's really almost constant. goofy harry potter LOLcat picture my friend made. He's 9 weeks old, slightly longhaired tuxedo, and otherwise very good tempered and sweet. I've had him a week and never had an animal bond so strongly to me. The meowing has gotten worse throughout the week. He has plenty of food that he likes, plenty of water in several locations, no intimidation from the older cat (that has gone better than I could ever have hoped), a reasonable amount of play time. The one issue besides this meowing thing is that he had a bit of bathroom troubles -- he was pooing on my bed. this hasn't happened since Sunday, but just in case, I've kept him in the (fairly large) bathroom with plenty of toys, a bed, food, and water, during the day when I'm at work. He seems quite happy in there and is pleased to hang out in there even when not confined. Hopefully we can ween down the bathroom time as I trust his litterbox capabilities a bit more (also treated the mattress, washed the bedding etc, and see no signs he continues to view that as a good poo spot.)

Please help. Will the meowing relent? I seriously think this is going to be an issue i couldn't have foreseen, if it doesn't abate at least a little bit.
posted by Soulbee to Pets & Animals (27 answers total)
No, it isn't normal. Have you taken your cat to a vet? He may be in pain for reasons that aren't apparent.

Rather than speculate, you should just make an appointment with a doctor, and be sure to mention everything you mentioned in this question, especially the bathroom troubles part.
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on July 27, 2007

My instinct is that this isn't an "i'm in pain" meow, i feel that he is very much so attention seeking. He is using the bathroom fine now, the bed was first pooed on before he had found his litter box and snowballed for a few days while I struggled to handle it appropriately. That, I feel, is under control now.
When he's doing this meowing, he stares right at me, tries to crawl up my leg. If i am away from him for a few minutes and he hears me in another room, he comes flying up to sit in between my feet... anyway i feel strongly it's attention seeking. Though we do have a vet appointment for neutering and everything coming up on Monday and I will certainly mention this then.
posted by Soulbee at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2007

well I had a cat that was in great health and just loved to meow
mew mew mew mew mew mew mew mew mew
she also liked to be walked on a leash outside
I ended up giving her to my sister after my divorce and she's calmed down considerably now that she's in a less stressful area and can be walked outside alot

my god...the meows still echo in my mind but she was the cutest sweetest cat ever
posted by evilelvis at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2007

Aw! He looks exactly like my cat's baby picture! My kittens drove me a little nuts until they were about 6 months old, then suddenly quieted down. I didn't have the meowing, though - just the jumping on my head during the night, etc.

I'm assuming he's been seen by a vet - if not, that should be the first thing.

He sounds like he's stressed from being in a new environment. Give him as much exercise and play that you can. Once you make sure that you have given him a good playtime and lots of exercise, try not to reinforce the behavior by giving him extra attention when he meows - he will learn that when he meows he will be picked up, petted, etc. . It will be very hard, but if you can ignore him when he meows for no reason, try to do that. Also, you can get a squirt bottle and squirt him water when he meows. I always hated to do that as a training tool, but it really works to keep a cat from doing something. It doesn't hurt him, he just doesn't like it. Hopefully, he'll associate meowing with getting squirted. Then give him lots of attention when he's not meowing.

Good luck. I hope it works out.
posted by la petite marie at 7:14 AM on July 27, 2007

Yeah, he may be talkative, but he may also be having some kind of distress. With kittens, sooner is better than later to be going to the vet. It's hard to say that the inappropriate elimination is due to a medical problem - sometimes they poo on your bed because they want to mix your scent and theirs for comfort - my friend's mom has a full-grown cat that does this when they leave for long periods on vacation.

If it's NOT medical, then he will eventually learn to be by himself or with other cats without freaking out and he will stop yelling at you (generally speaking). Our cats, however, are very strongly bonded to us, and they do pretty much demand attention. So don't think that's going to go away. Personally, I think it's way better than aloof cats that just want to contemplate their world-takeover plans from under the bed, but that's me.

Upon preview of your followup - If you are certain it's nonmedical, then I'm sure it will pass. There is also the possibility, however remote, that he's (partially?) deaf. The only cat I ever had that was quite that persistent, leg-climbing and all, was as deaf as a rock.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:15 AM on July 27, 2007

the problem with the squirt bottle training (begun to help the bed pooing problem) is that he seems to not be particularly adverse to water. for instance, as I said he is strongly bonded to me, he will actually sit at the back edge of the shower while I am in there (meowing of course) and ends up getting fairly wet, though not soaked. I've gone so far as to pick him up when I'm in there and start to bring him a bit under the spray, at which point he bails, but still sits right at the end. He also does not run away when confronted by squirt bottle. Someone suggested adding something like lemon juice to it but that feels sort of wrong like what if it gets in his eyes?
posted by Soulbee at 7:17 AM on July 27, 2007

You're his new mother figure and he wants mommying. If he was still with her, the mewing would be silenced by suckling, because, although he's now weaned, kittens who stay with their mothers will continue to suckle until they're several months old.

When I got 8-week-old kittens a few years ago I made them a new 'mother cat', using a poodle nightdress case, with a ticking clock and a hot water bottle inside. Fluffy cat-like toy + fake heartbeat + heat seemed to ease their stress at being separated from their mother.

This is baby-neediness on the kitten's part, and by constantly picking him up, you'll be making a rod for your own back. Cats are bad enough at turning their owners into slaves as it is!
posted by essexjan at 7:28 AM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

He's a baby. He needs love and attention. He's not getting it for 8-10 hours a day while you're at work and he's locked in a bathroom. I don't really have a solution, but making a stand in "mother cat" might help as essexjan suggests.

The thing is, you wouldn't be asking us this if it was your new (human) baby. Babies cry, we all know this. Kittens mewl for their moms too.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine had a cat that never stopped meowing and seeking attention. The only thing that helped was moving back home with her mom and her mom's cats -- he meowed less when he had other cats to be around.

Maybe your kitten needs a friend?
posted by junkbox at 7:53 AM on July 27, 2007

I had a kitten who was clingy like that. He had been the sole kitten in his litter and then his mother died, so he bonded to me a little excessively. I would take a trip to the vet just in case, but it's probably just being clingy. The problem went away when we ended up adopting another kitten.
posted by melissam at 8:04 AM on July 27, 2007

I remember back in college a friend of mine had a cute little kitten that drove us crazy with its constant meowing.

A few weeks later it died.

Take your cat to a vet just in case.
posted by sic at 8:08 AM on July 27, 2007

To issue your concern about spray bottles..

I have a 5-month old kitten who absolutely loves water, will dip your feet in the bathtub, and comes running at the sound of ice being taken from the freezer. The first time I sprayed him with a water bottle, he just blinked at me and then went right back to doing what he was doing. He has, however, begun to hate the spray bottle. I can now get him to stop doing bad things with it just fine. So, give it some time.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:20 AM on July 27, 2007

I've used spray bottles with pets, and pretty quickly they stop doing whatever they were doing as soon as they even see you pick up the spray bottle. So it works pretty well.
posted by sweetkid at 8:50 AM on July 27, 2007

We got two cats at the same time, specifically to prevent this sort of issue. He may be talkative, might be sick, but chances are he's just lonely and super active. I can tell by the way our kittens play with each other that it'd be a nightmare for all involved if we only had one. In fact, most of the cats we previewed for adoption at the SPCA were designated as pairs -- very few of the kittens were approved to be adopted by themselves.

Also, 8 weeks is still really young. 2nd'ing the advice to make a substitute momma cat.
posted by cior at 9:13 AM on July 27, 2007

And, vet isn't a bad idea. Safer than sorry, and chances are you still might have some perks/discounts left over from your adoption -- assuming you adopted this one from a shelter.
posted by cior at 9:14 AM on July 27, 2007

we'll be heading to the vet early next week. a second kitten isn't an option as I already have an older cat and landlord has said no (though I don't want to have three cats while I'm renting anyway). I will try the substitute mamacat doll for him and be sure to provide him lots of love and attention when he's NOT meowing like a madcat. He's really ridiculously cute, I gotta take some pictures of the look on his face when he is mid-meow, it's absolutely priceless. Thanks for the advice, anymore is welcome!
posted by Soulbee at 9:19 AM on July 27, 2007

When we got our (now one year old) kitten last summer, she was very much like that. Imogene was a street cat who was caught in a trap and take to the SPCA; she'd never been around people and was terribly afraid. Three days after she came home, she bonded with me and bonded hard. She would sleep draped around my neck, act like she was trying to become absorbed into my body, and mewl like her little heart was breaking nearly all the time.

Although she's still quite talkative (and still sometimes pretty needy to me) it's much better. A few things we did that helped: wear him out; if he's tired he'll fall asleep instead of whine. This also just gives him the attention he craves but in a more constructive way. If you've got a spouse/partner/roommate, specifically let that person play with him. Imogene didn't love playing with my husband at first (since she wanted to be attached to me like velcro), but eventually she was seduced by the super fun rubber noodle on a stick, she got more exercise, and she learned that my husband was good for something other than disdain.

Eight weeks is still very young. Your kitty is still a baby, he's still pretty freaked out by the world in general, and for the time being, he's probably going to need more attention than it's really fun to give (especially if he's alone in the bathroom all day and only sees you at night). Maybe sleep with a T-shirt or towel for a few days until it gets your smell on it to leave with him when you're gone to soothe him a little.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:50 AM on July 27, 2007

I would also say that you should do what you can to shorten the time spans that he is alone at home, even with a mama cat substitute. Is there any way you can come home from work during the day to spend your lunch hour with him, or have a friend come over and spend some time - not necessarily petting him but just being there? I think those long stretches of alone time during kittenhood are what made my now 10-year-old cat so clingy. He's not so bad on normal days, but if we go away for a weekend he goes a bit nuts and I have to practically carry him around with me for a few days.
posted by cabingirl at 9:57 AM on July 27, 2007

Record the purr of your older cat. Play that purr sound very loud for the little kitty, and see if it provides it some comfort.

Also, record the kitten meowing now. Later, when he's older, he'll probably be fascinated with the sound (mine were).
posted by yesster at 10:13 AM on July 27, 2007

Assuming it's not a medical issue (which you should thoroughly rule out), this is attention seeking.

Your older cat should get all of your attention. The new kitten should get its attention from the older cat. If you are giving too much attention to the kitten, the older cat will distance itself from it (and you). Whereas if you force the kitten to go to older cat for attention, they will become buddies.

If you don't do this, at some point you will deeply regret giving into his demands for attention.
posted by desjardins at 10:46 AM on July 27, 2007

if you had a baby that never stopped crying, like NEVER, would you take it to the doctor?
posted by Salvatorparadise at 10:49 AM on July 27, 2007

I've had several cats and when they were kittens they all meowed constantly. I think kittens just meow all the damn time. They quiet down at about six months.

I will tell you this, however - play with his feet. Rub them and touch them constantly so he gets used to it - that way when he's older you can cut his nails if you need to. And he won't bite you if you try to pet his feet. bcause kitty feets r the softest evar.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:58 PM on July 27, 2007

My understanding, and personal experience, is that 'tuxedo cats' like yours are just chatty. My former roommate had a tuxedo kitten that would not shut up, ever. We decided to ignore him and let him meow it out, but it didn't work-- he actually went hoarse, and he still wouldn't stop. What ended up happening? He just grew out of it. I'm gonna guess the same will happen for you.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2007

First a vet visit. Then it is likely is just kitten behaviour. They talk a lot and he's very young. They usually grow out of it.

Another discipline tool is a lidded can (like a small peanut can) with rocks inside, if the spray bottle doesn't work. I have a maine coone that doesn't care about the spray bottle, but he hates the big rattling noise.

I had a wonderful tuxedo boy that loved to talk, it lessened from kittenhood, but he was always chatty. Not obnoxious, but nice actually.
posted by pywacket at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2007

If you think it is anxiety, you might talk to your vet about Feliway - We use it for an anxious cat and he seems much more relaxed.
posted by inquisitrix at 1:21 AM on July 28, 2007

I have an adult female who does this, and her brother does not. If I'm giving her really nice hard scratching on the back of the neck, she shuts up. Otherwise, it's a bloody litany. Some cats are just chatty.
posted by TeamBilly at 7:36 AM on July 28, 2007

I would suggest you watch his bowel movements. If it is too dark, almost brownish black, it means he is bleeding internally. Some meow to get attention or to get around, cats are blind when they are born. I had a kitten we saved from a dog's mouth and she would not stop meowing for days. We fed her, but she lost weight and before we could take her to the vet, she passed away. Keep an eye on his activity level, especially if you see it decreasing, his eating habits, and his bowel movements. If something seems awry, go to the vet.
posted by dnthomps at 5:27 AM on August 3, 2007

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