How to Train Your Cat To Not Yowl

Hard
1-4 Months
Behavior

Introduction

From chirping to meowing to purring, cats make a surprising amount of noise for such tiny critters. One of the most common sounds cats make is a yowl. 

This long, unhappy moan is one of the loudest sounds cats make, and hearing a yowl will no doubt have you asking your feline friend, "What's wrong?" So why do cats yowl? And can you train your cat not to yowl? Let's take a look.

Defining Tasks

There's no surefire way of training a cat, but a clicker is a great way to get results, as cats tend to respond better to this method. And, of course, you're also going to want to keep a bag of Smudge's favorite treats to hand.

Training your cat not to yowl isn't easy, and it becomes even more difficult if you use negative reinforcement. Cats don't respond well to being yelled at or sprayed with water. They're unlikely to do what you want and may become fearful of you in the long run, ruining your relationship with your four-legged friend. 

You'll need to be consistent in your training — don't give in to your cat's demands after an hour, as your cat will learn they can get what they want with persistence. 

You'll want to use the clicker and reward your cat with a treat as soon as they stop yowling so they know which behavior is being rewarded. Any delay may confuse your feline.

After your cat learns to stop yowling for attention, they will likely turn to another behavior to show they want something. They may paw at you or sit on you quietly. It will be up to you whether you reward and accept this new behavior.

Getting Started

If you find Felix yowling a lot, there may be something wrong. Cats don't generally yowl for no reason. Yowling isn't usually a behavioral concern, but it's related to a health or environmental issue. 

The first step is to ensure your cat has plenty of stimulation. Sometimes cats will yowl out of boredom. If they're yowling, try playing with your cat more frequently. Providing more activities like puzzle toys and cat trees may also help cure Molly's boredom. 

Another possible reason is your tiny tiger is having a territorial dispute or is looking for a mate. If you have a multi-cat household, ensure they've been properly introduced; otherwise, it could lead to territory issues. You should also always have one more litter tray, food bowl, and water bowl than you do cats to help avoid disputes. 

If your little lion's excessive yowling isn't caused by boredom or environmental issues, then it could be health-related. Cats tend to yowl when they are in discomfort or as their senses weaken in old age. Check your cat for injuries, and if the excessive yowling continues, contact your vet.   

Your vet may come back and say Molly is fighting fit (hooray!), but that doesn't solve the excessive yowling. Luckily, there is a way of training your feline to stop their caterwauling.

The Clicker Method

Effective
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Step
1
Ignore
Ignore your cat when they yowl at you for attention. Be consistent in your approach, and don't cave in to your cat's yowls.
Step
2
Reinforce
Don't yell or punish your cat for yowling. Only respond to your cat with positive reinforcement when they stop yowling. Negative reinforcement will garner negative results.
Step
3
Reward
Reward your cat as soon as they stop yowling. Use the clicker first, and then give them a small treat. Your initial training sessions shouldn't last longer than 10 to 15 minutes, as your cat will lose interest.
Step
4
Increase
Slowly increase the length of each training session. As time goes on, wait for a few seconds of silence before using the clicker and giving your cat a treat. Increase the silence by a second each time until your cat learns that being quiet gets a reward.
Step
5
Replace
As your cat learns to stop yowling, replace treats with praise and head scratches. Your cat will eventually develop a different behavior to show they want attention.
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Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Published: 07/19/2021, edited: 07/19/2021

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