After kittenhood, cats reserve their meows exclusively for us humans. They vocalize when they want food, when they want us to clean their litter box, when they spot a bird, when next door is at it again with the lawn mower on a lazy Sunday morning.
Some cats are of course more vocal than others. As you may have already guessed, Sasha has the habit of meowing for any reason whatsoever, and often for seemingly no reason at all. She’ll lie in the middle of the room and meow.
Closed doors however seem to have a very special effect on our felines. Even cats who don’t usually meow will do so at a door. Is this a cat’s way of simply asking to be let in, or is there something else afoot? And perhaps most importantly, how do you get a cat to stop meowing at the door (particularly in the middle of the night)?
Why Does My Cat Meow At The Door?
Cats will meow at the door when they want to be let in or out, or when they want something specific on the other side: food, a toy, company. It may also be a sign of distress, if the cat feels trapped, as well as a greeting, if someone is about to enter.
Cats tend not to like closed doors. It piques their curiosity, and they can’t resist letting their displeasure show. They will meow whenever they want to get at whatever is on the other side, even if they don’t actually know what that is.
They Want to Be Let Outside
If you and your cat are on the same side of a closed door, the meow is probably a signal they want out. Where “out” is will of course demand on where the door leads. Cats that have outdoor access will often meow when they want to take a walk, while indoor cats just hate that the door is closed.
Cats have the tendency to want out of a room the moment you close the door, even if they were not showing any interest in leaving a minute ago. We tend to close our doors when cleaning, and Sasha starts meowing at the door the second this happens.
Unless your cat is clearly in distress, you can leave them temporarily locked in a room. Don’t worry about the meowing: they’ll be fine as long as they don’t desperately need the toilet.
They Want to Be Let Inside
If you on the other hand find yourself on the other side of a closed door to your cat, they obviously want to be let in. Depending on the situation, you may choose to grant their request or ask them to be patient.
For example, your cat will likely wait outside the bathroom door for you. If you don’t want them to watch you pee, you can let them meow for a bit. As long as that doesn’t ruin your concentration even more.
They Are Just Curious
Cats are bona fide explorers and will do whatever they can to get to the bottom of everything interesting to them. Sasha, no matter how timid she may be in certain situations and how high she may leap at every sudden sound, will voluntarily sniff and touch every item that enters the house.
A cat meowing at the door is curious about what’s going on on the other side. The more interesting the activity, the more desperate the meow will be.
They Are Bored
Cats can get bored rather easily, in which case they might start meowing at the door to get your attention. They will want you to play with them, pet them, or get some sort of reaction out of you. This is why the best remedy for teaching a cat to stop meowing is to ignore them.
If they get any kind of response, chances are they will keep meowing at the door whenever they get bored.
They Want to Be Wherever You Are
Cats, while at times aloof and independent, are also fans of spending time with their owners. If there is a closed door between you and your feline, they will start to meow at it at some point. No matter what your intention was, if your cat is not in the mood to be alone, you will hear about it.
This can happen when you leave the room for literally a minute, or if you’ve been gone longer than your cat deems appropriate.
They Need Something From the Other Side
Cats know where certain objects of interest are located: litter box, food, water, toys, favorite bed, a particularly interesting piece of furniture, the scratch post, their favorite window, your dirty socks.
If they want to get to any of these items (or anything else for that matter), there will be meowing at the door. Unless of course your cat learns how to open the door on their own, in which case you will need to resort to keys.
They Want to Be Fed
When a cat is hungry, they’ll let you know. They may be able to get to their food bowl, but if it’s empty (or if they perceive it as such), they will meow at the door as a “get up and feed me human” signal.
Cats are rather clever communicators, and will usually ask you to follow them where they want to go. If they are meowing at the door and taking you in the direction of the cabinet where you keep their food, the message should be quite clear.
They Are Looking For Help
Cats will also meow when they need assistance. If you’ve accidentally locked them in a room, they’ll let you know. If one of their toys is on the other side, they’ll let you know.
Cats that are not your own can also meow when they want you to help them. They may be hungry or injured, but cats are also great at selecting humans to adopt them, so a stray cat may sit outside your door and meow to be let into the warmth and be provided a home.
They Know It’s Warm In There
Cats will also meow at the door when seeking warmth. If they want to be let in from the cold or even if they want access to a warmer room in your home, trust me, they will make their wishes known.
If you, like us, tend to close certain doors of the house to limit your heating expenses, understand that cats have no knowledge of global warming and the energy crisis, and will not understand why you have turned the heating off in a room. They will however seek out the warmer spaces, so make sure they have access to them at all times.
They Are Missing Someone
Cats can remember people for quite a long time. If someone has recently moved out of your home, the cat may be meowing to express the fact that they miss this person. The same can happen when someone leaves the house to go to work or school.
They Are Greeting Someone
Some cats have an almost sixth sense about the arrival times of their owners. When I was a kid, our cat used to plomp down in front of the front door about 5 minutes before my dad would arrive from work. He was so punctual that my mom at one point started laying the table as soon as he did this. We used to refer to it as “dad’s put his coat on, better get the meal rolling”, as he worked about 5 minutes from where we lived. And the cat never got it wrong.
How he actually knew dad was on his way home remains a mystery, as it varied daily, as dad used to work in shifts. It had nothing to do with the sound of the gate either.
In this scenario, your cat may be meowing at the door as a form of greeting. Since they have much better hearing than we do, they may have heard someone walking up to the door, and are now notifying you of their imminent arrival. Or they may just have a radar none of us are aware of.
They Don’t Like Closed Doors
Cats just don’t like closed doors. They like to feel they have access to their entire kingdom and that they can get anywhere at any time, either to observe, participate or to retreat.
All closed doors will thus be treated as enemies.
They Are Looking for a Mate
If your cat has not been spayed or neutered, they will be meowing at the door to be let out or to attract a mate. Female cats in heat will meow to let males in the area know she is there, while males will meow to be let out and get at said females.
If you don’t plan on having kittens, spay or neuter your cat, as it will help them live a long, happy life, and they won’t get stressed when in heat.
They Are Suffering From Cognitive Dysfunction
As cats age, they may start to suffer from cognitive dysfunction. It in fact affects 55% of cats older than 11, and 80% of cats older than 16.
Since their ability to recall information and learn is impaired, cats can become confused and agitated. If they forget where things are or what they were doing, anxiety may set in. They will begin to meow at doors out of stress, and will need extra care and reassurance.
Why Does My Cat Meow At My Door At Night?
Cats usually meow at your door at night because they want attention: either in the form of food or a cuddle. This is especially true if you shut them out of the bedroom at night.
Some people have no problem sleeping with their cats. Most felines will sleep at the foot of the bed and not interfere with your rest, but others will make all kinds of noise and keep you up. They may also watch you sleep, probably because they want to protect you.
Naturally, you will want them out of the room if they are preventing you from getting enough rest. They will certainly put up a fight and make a lot of noise at first, but if you completely ignore them, no matter how annoyed you get, they will get the idea after a while and give up. Just make sure to give them plenty of cuddles and feed them what they like to eat for breakfast as soon as you get up.
Why Does My Cat Always Meow When I Close The Door?
Your cat meows every time you close the door because they just don’t like it. They want access to that specific area, and they will tell you so.
It may be down to curiosity, fear, separation anxiety or plain territorialism. Note that your cat isn’t likely doing it to bug you. Cats don’t hold grudges, so they aren’t trying to get back at you with the meowing. They are merely communicating.
Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing At The Bedroom Door?
Your cat is meowing at the bedroom door because they want to be let in, despite the fact that you want to sleep.
It may be highly annoying, I know. However, if you let them into the bedroom during the day (as you should), and if you shut them out at night (as you are perfectly entitled to), they will start complaining, believe you me.
If you want to teach your cat to stop meowing at the bedroom door at night, make sure they are well fed and that they have an overnight snack, that their water is fresh, their litter box clean and that they have some sort of entertainment.
Cats love sitting in the window, even at night, so you can let them have a perch. You can also let them watch TV, if you are sure they won’t knock it down or damage it, or just leave plenty of toys about.
Once all of that is taken care of, you can go to bed, close the door, and ignore them. This is the key part. If you shout at them or whisper for them to be quiet, they will have achieved their goal: you are paying attention to them.
How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Meowing At The Door?
If you want to get your cat to stop meowing at the door, any door, you can try the following tactics. Note that it will require time and patience, and some cats will still meow on occasion, no matter how well you try to train them.
- Don’t yell or clap at them: this will only handle the current meowing, and will do nothing to prevent it in future.
- If you keep certain doors closed but don’t mind the cat getting about, install a cat flap. It will work both for outdoor/indoor access, but it can also work inside the home. A friend has a cat flap on her kitchen door, for example.
- You can try using a deterrent around the door. Cats hate certain smells, so they won’t want to go near the door if it smells like lavender or citrus.
- Set up nightly entertainment for your cat if this is when they do the meowing. Give them toys they don’t have access to during the day, and keep inventing new ones.
- If your cat is meowing at your bedroom door at night, shower them with affection before bed. Play with them to tire them out and give them plenty of cuddles.
- Feed your cat just before you go to bed. This will keep them full while you sleep, and they won’t wake you up demanding breakfast at the crack of dawn. They will likely go to sleep after dinner too.
- Most importantly, try to ignore your cat. If you keep talking to them and trying to calm them down, they won’t learn to stop meowing.
Wrapping It Up
Cats are trying to communicate with you when they meow at doors. If their wish is one you want to grant, the sooner you do, the sooner they will quiet down. If you don’t want to open the door for whatever reason, just ignore them and they’ll soon stop.