When we adopted our cat, Tabby, two years ago, we noted on her first day with us that she was a very loving, social cat, unlike other cats we’d had before. We didn’t know that she would also be a very needy cat, not wanting to be separated from us at night, especially until she got used to her new home. I remember spending her first night with us wide awake sitting up all night with her while she roamed and explored our house. Every time I’d try to shut our bedroom door to indicate that it was time for her, and us, to go to sleep, she’d cry at the door, preventing me and anyone else in the household from sleeping. We finally discovered that if we shut the door and used a white noise machine we couldn’t hear her meowing, and that although she would start to meow when the door closed, she’d quickly stop and entertain herself the rest of the night until starting up again when she knew it was time for us to wake up.
Cats will make their feelings known, loudly, if a door is keeping them from their beloved owner (you). Whether it’s a bedroom door, a door to the cat’s room, or any obstacle at all, cats have been known to be quite vocal in letting their owners know they aren’t pleased with the situation.
What can you do to stop your cat from meowing at the door?
- Refrain from using negative reactions or negative behavior modification techniques. These won’t work on cats. Negative reactions from you will only teach your cat to be afraid of you, not to stop the behavior that she is doing (i.e., meowing at the door) that you want to curb.
- Make sure your cat is fed before closing the door. If your cat typically meows at bedtime when you close your bedroom door, make sure she’s not hungry. If she is hungry, she will likely meow all night. Feed the cat before you go to bed, and don’t get up in the middle of the night to give her treats or extra food – this will only teach her that meowing will get you up and out of bed. You might want to invest in an automatic feeder that feeds her right before you go to bed, or right after you shut the bedroom door.
- Try to distract your cat from meowing at the door. Provide something that will entertain her on her side of the door, like toys or catnip. Better yet, play with your cat right before you are going to be shutting that door, enough that you will tire her out so that she won’t have the energy left to meow at the door once it’s closed.
- Create a safe, partially outdoor area for your cat. If you have a patio or balcony that you can enclose, do so and keep your cat there. Add in a cat tree, water, and maybe even cat grass that she can eat at her leisure. This will give her some freedom and make her feel like she is outside, yet she will still be safe.
- Make sure your cat is healthy. Some cats will start to meow if they are aging and starting to decline mentally. If they can no longer understand the world around them, they are likely to be confused and meow for no reason. If you think this is the case with your cat, take her to the vet and see if he or she has any recommendations for nutritional supplements that might improve her cognitive abilities. Cats can also meow if they can’t see or hear. This is another possible physical problem for which your vet is the best resource.
- Let your cat sleep with you. If all else fails, sometimes giving in to your cat’s wishes is the only possible answer. If your cat is meowing at your door simply because she wants to be on your bed, you might want to let her into your room and allow her to sleep with you for a night as a test. Of course, if she meows at your bedroom door and wants back out of your room at 3 a.m., this isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep for you. We have discovered that, on nights that Tabby wants to sleep in our son’s room, if he simply leaves his bedroom door cracked open just a bit, she can come and go as she pleases and won’t wake him up. Then she’s happy and the rest of the family is content as well.