Cats meow for a variety of reasons, some of which are attention-seeking behaviors, boredom, hunger, illness or injury. Address the possible causes with strategies such as positive reinforcement when your cat is quiet, offering toys, assessing food intake or even a trip to the vet to rule out illness until you find a solution that brings peace to your household.
Offer Attention and Treats
Your cat wants to spend time with you. This is not a bad thing since, for many people, companionship is the primary purpose for keeping a pet. However, if your cat's cries for attention become bothersome, try teaching her that being quiet is the best way to get your attention. Spend ample cuddle and play time with her, but do so only when she is not meowing. Dr. Sophia Yin recommends ignoring the behavior you don't want, which is the meowing, and rewarding the behavior you prefer, which is quiet. To further emphasize to your cat that quiet is what you are after, have treats handy to dole out the instant the meowing stops. Between carefully timed treats and extra attention, your cat should get the message that quiet is key.
Cats are born wired for action: In the wild they need to be able to hunt, maintain their territory, flee when necessary, explore and interact with other animals. In your house these activities are either non-existent or greatly reduced. Meanwhile, your feline friend is fretting with pent-up energy and expresses this with excess noise. Ease her frustration by providing her with entertainment in the form of cat toys, a scratching post, boxes or bags to explore, or even cat videos that feature birds and rodents. Take an active role in your cat's fun by purchasing a leash and harness for walks and even training her to perform simple tasks on cue.
Monitor your cat's eating habits to determine if diet is a cause for meowing. Some cats are picky and won't return to finish partially dried canned food that has been left in the dish. If this sounds like your cat, she may be meowing out of hunger. Feed her only while she is quiet because if you wait for her meowing to serve as a reminder, you reward her vocal behavior. Try giving her smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and be as consistent as you can with the times and location. If her preoccupation with food seems excessive, have the vet assess her for possible medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus, both of which can stimulate appetite and generate aggressive food-seeking behavior in cats.
Rule Out Mate-Seeking
Reproductive drive triggers the exception to the general rule that adult cats don't meow at each other: Cats searching for a mate become vocal to find one. Have your cat neutered or spayed to fix this issue.
Reduce Nocturnal Activity
Cats decline in health and well-being as they age, and a reversed sleep cycle is often a result. If you notice that your senior cat sleeps more during the day but has become vocal during the night, try gently waking her during daylight hours so that she'll be better able to sleep at night when you do. Make sure the lights are low or off to help her settle down when you want your cat to sleep. Sometimes young and healthy cats burn the midnight oil as well, simply due to their nocturnal tendencies. Keep your cat active and moving during the day, with a consistent feeding schedule to encourage quiet time after dark.
Check for Illness or Injury
If your cat is noticeably more vocal than in the past, she may be sick or injured. Check her over carefully and be observant for other changes that could be symptomatic of a problem. Take her to your vet for a check up to rule out any pressing health issues that could be making her meow.