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My husband adopted a feral black cat a couple of days ago. He's an absolute sweetheart, only a little over one year old, but he meows constantly. Whether he's with us, playing, or in his room, he's almost always making noise and meowing. The only time he seems to stop is when he's asleep or eating.

We have him scheduled to see a vet soon to rule out any medical issues, and I've been trying to give him lots of play time and attention to see if it's a boredom thing, but he's pretty much just constantly making noise for the sake of it. He does play a fair bit, but he also seems indifferent towards us; not really scared like most new cats I've raised.

Any suggestions or ideas why he may be doing this? What can we do to mitigate it (nights have been very sleepless so far).

  • Welcome to Pets Stack Exchange :) This question looks like it could be related: Why is my cat meowing so much?. In this scenario, they've got a new puppy so there's a change that the cat is adjusting to. It sounds like yours could be a similar issue. – Henders Sep 13 '19 at 9:00
  • Nit: This cat sounds like a tame stray, not a feral one. If the cat were feral, you'd be asking us how to get it to stop trying to kill you! – StephenS Sep 26 '19 at 0:23
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Have you tried talking to him when he meows? He may just want some sort of vocal interaction with you. Some cats enjoy having "conversations" with their humans, and a short conversation will satisfy them for a while. You don't have to meow at him, unless you want to. Speaking normally is usually all that's required.

This approach can also help you learn to recognise his different vocalisations. He probably has one meow for when he wants to play, another for when he's just "checking in", another for when he's hungry, another to announce an accomplishment (I just killed a bug!) and so forth.

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Kittens meow to get their mother's attention, but once they leave her, their instinct is to stop meowing; that could attract other predators or scare off prey.

However, if they are around humans at the critical age for socialization (6-8 weeks), they quickly learn that we respond to meows with attention just like their mother did, so they keep doing it. The sound will vary depending on why they want our attention (food, grooming, play, company, etc.), but all of them are calls for attention in some form. An adult stray meowing is thus actually good news in the long run, though it may not seem like it right now.

The only way to stop him from meowing at night is to not give him attention after the lights are off—not even the negative kind. It will take a while, but he will eventually learn if you are consistent enough. (It's fine to still respond when the lights are on or sun is out; he'll figure out the connection soon enough.) In the meantime, buy some earplugs.

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