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cat vocalising Cats have developed the miaow (or meow) purely for us humans.  They know that we respond to their mews and they milk it for all its worth.  They miaow for a variety of reasons but mainly it’s to get attention.

Before we look into why cats miaow, if your cat has suddenly started this behaviour at odd times of the day (and usually, just as we go to bed is a favourite time) it’s a good idea to take him to the vet to have him checked over.  He may have an underlying health problem or be in pain.  If he gets a clean bill of health, then there may be other reasons why your cat has started to do this.

Generally, a cat that miaows wants something.  This could be food, attention, or to have access to a room (or cupboard) that is off limits or just to be in the same room as you.  A cat will often miaow quite plaintively until you cave in and give him what he wants.

If you’ve just gone to bed and your cats starts miaowing, it’s very likely that he wants to be with you.  You have two choices here: either open the door and the cat leaps onto the bed and settles down to sleep alongside you or you ignore his cries.   Depending on your will power this could be a long night! If you are adamant that under no circumstances – absolutely none! – that he is not going to share your bed, then you’ll need earplugs to drown out the miaows because it could be a while before he realises that the bedroom door is remaining closed.

Eventually, he’ll get the message and will stop crying.  When you first start to ignore his cries, he might initially intensify them so that they sound like he is being murdered (this is when you know what fiendishly clever little beings cats truly are!) and it’s important not to give in at his point.  When he finally realises that his crying is in vain, his attention-seeking behaviour should start to reduce until eventually, it will be removed from his behavioural repertoire.

If your cat is an older cat, it could be signs of dementia (yes, cats do get dementia).  He could be confused and wonder where he is, or where you are.  At times like this, all he needs is reassurance.  Pick him up, give him a cuddle and talk to him gently, stroke him to make him feel calm again, and then put him back in his bed, or on the sofa – or wherever he was.

Just feel privileged that cats have developed this ‘language’ as a means of communicating with us, and we, in turn, have a duty of care to interpret their carefully orchestrated miaows to be manipulated for the rest of our lives.  What a joy!

  

A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure