Cat won’t stop howling to go out now that we’ve started harness training

BeccaM97

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Hello everyone! I know there are several threads regarding cats yowling to go out but I couldn’t find any that matched with what exactly is going on.
So I recently started harness training my 3 year old nuetered male cat because with quarantine going on I’ve spending a lot of time in the garden and thought he would enjoy coming out with me. He made awesome progress with the harness and we‘ve started a daily routine of going for walkies at the same time every day. However, he has started just yowling like a madman at the back door to be let out. Unfortunately, he primarily does this at night and wakes up everyone in the house he is so loud. After reading the forums on here that mentioned if you just ignore the behavior he will eventually realize he is not going to get attention he will stop, I counseled my family members on just ignoring him. However after an hour and a half of straight yowling at 3am, they were no longer able to hold out and sprayed him with a squirt bottle to try and get him to be quiet. (This does not work). He will just stand there meowing for hours on end and it is a lot to ask of people at 2am who have to be up at 5am to ignore his yowling for 2 hours.
So far, I had tried taking him to the vet to rule out health issues and he received a clean bill of health. I tried blocking his view out the back door (it’s a glass door) with cardboard so he couldn’t see out, and he continues to howl. I take him for walks at the same time every day already so he has a set schedule. We tried ignoring him but it’s not really working since he’s meowing for hours. Everyone in the house is getting very frustrated and I’m wondering if stopping the walk altogether would help? Ive seen those catios being posted but I do not know that that is something we could put up right now. I also tried giving my family earplugs and using a big box fan to try and cover up the sound but he is just too loud. He has food and water at night as well.
Any help is appreciated since people are really getting frustrated with him. Thank you guys!
 

SpecterOhPossum

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Hello everyone! I know there are several threads regarding cats yowling to go out but I couldn’t find any that matched with what exactly is going on.
So I recently started harness training my 3 year old nuetered male cat because with quarantine going on I’ve spending a lot of time in the garden and thought he would enjoy coming out with me. He made awesome progress with the harness and we‘ve started a daily routine of going for walkies at the same time every day. However, he has started just yowling like a madman at the back door to be let out. Unfortunately, he primarily does this at night and wakes up everyone in the house he is so loud. After reading the forums on here that mentioned if you just ignore the behavior he will eventually realize he is not going to get attention he will stop, I counseled my family members on just ignoring him. However after an hour and a half of straight yowling at 3am, they were no longer able to hold out and sprayed him with a squirt bottle to try and get him to be quiet. (This does not work). He will just stand there meowing for hours on end and it is a lot to ask of people at 2am who have to be up at 5am to ignore his yowling for 2 hours.
So far, I had tried taking him to the vet to rule out health issues and he received a clean bill of health. I tried blocking his view out the back door (it’s a glass door) with cardboard so he couldn’t see out, and he continues to howl. I take him for walks at the same time every day already so he has a set schedule. We tried ignoring him but it’s not really working since he’s meowing for hours. Everyone in the house is getting very frustrated and I’m wondering if stopping the walk altogether would help? Ive seen those catios being posted but I do not know that that is something we could put up right now. I also tried giving my family earplugs and using a big box fan to try and cover up the sound but he is just too loud. He has food and water at night as well.
Any help is appreciated since people are really getting frustrated with him. Thank you guys!
Are these your parents who are getting frustrated? try taking him into your room at night if so. Use the box fan, sleeping music, to cull the noise and to calm him. Spraying with water is very harmful btw.
This behavior is going to likely persist for a few months, stopping the walks will just confuse him and make it worse. You will have to be persistent on the schedule and routine, for a few months until he gets a grip. Play the tv at night, crack the window, but don't give up.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I don't know how you take him outside, but one rule of thumb that I have heard is to use a door (not something like a sliding glass door) and NEVER allow him to walk in or out of it. Put the leash on, pick him up, carry him out, and then let him down a bit away from the door. Reverse the routine for bringing him back in. This practice is supposed to teach a cat that the only way outside/inside is in your arms - and when not in your arms it is not time to go out. If you are not doing this already, it will take awhile to 're-train' him.

Lock him up in your room in the meantime at night, and do what you can to stifle the meowing - for all of you - through noise techniques described above. I am sure other members who walk their cats have had to deal with this, and will come along soon to offer what worked for them!!! Keep checking back!
 

__Dina__

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not super helpful, but ive read that once a cat gets a taste of the outdoors, this meowing can go on for months. just stick to your schedule and try to play with him more maybe? good luck! this would drive me bonkers
 

fionasmom

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I have had three harness trained cats and always did what FeebysOwner FeebysOwner described as far as the routine for taking them in and out. I don't think that they believed they could ever walk outside on their own and, ironically, they were all rescues from precarious outdoor conditions so they definitely had experienced freedom.
 

Jaclyn33

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Hi Becca,
I've got a pretty similar problem actually. I have two cats that I started taking out on harnesses and they now want to me outside 24/7. To make matters worse, we have a new puppy who actually has to go out very regularly and they react very jealously.
One of my cats has feline hyperesthesia and while he loves being outside, it seems that being out every day was making him worse so I cut it back, expecting their behaviour to get worse. It didn't. It actually has improved. The cats don't seem to expect to go out every time I do or the puppy does, and the yowling at the door happens less.
I don't know if that would help your cat or not, but that was my experience, and since our situations are somewhat similar I thought I would share.
 

Juantana

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Hi. I don't know how you take him outside, but one rule of thumb that I have heard is to use a door (not something like a sliding glass door) and NEVER allow him to walk in or out of it. Put the leash on, pick him up, carry him out, and then let him down a bit away from the door. Reverse the routine for bringing him back in. This practice is supposed to teach a cat that the only way outside/inside is in your arms - and when not in your arms it is not time to go out. If you are not doing this already, it will take awhile to 're-train' him.

Lock him up in your room in the meantime at night, and do what you can to stifle the meowing - for all of you - through noise techniques described above. I am sure other members who walk their cats have had to deal with this, and will come along soon to offer what worked for them!!! Keep checking back!
Thank you for this! We have exactly this same problem with a now one year old Chartreux cat (I thought they were supposed to be "monk-like" and quiet???) and we are taking her outside and letting her walk out the door - it was thru a mudroom so we have to close the inner door now to keep her from sitting and howling. She is howling right now in fact LOL. We started harness training her at 7 mo and she walks on the leash like a dog and loves it, but then howls non-stop every day to get back out - even windows open are too much stimulation so we stopped until she got a year old - after like a week of howling daily she finally stopped so we decided to stop walking her outside until she's older. I really hope we can take her outside tho, Chartreux are supposed to love activity and be easy going, but Ive heard they can take up to 2 years to fully mature so maybe this is a phase. I'll email the breeder as well, but if we do take her out again we'll try the way you describe.
IMG_5348.jpeg
 

ArtNJ

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Give a cat an inch, they want a mile and no good deed goes unpunished both are unfortunately true sayings when it comes to cats! Still, you are doing this right, on a schedule, and never varying/giving in to the cat. So I think you have been seriously unlucky. Well, you know that, and are asking what to do. You could try adding an alarm on your phone to your regularly scheduled outings. Well, not your phone if you use that alarm for other things, but you get the idea. Might help him make the link.

But honestly? I'd stop taking the cat out. That will definitely start the adustment timer, and you'll get your normal life back, most likely within a week or two.
 

Miuu

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Hey, this exact thing happened to me with my cat when I lived in my old apartment.
I used to take her out on the harness in the woods next door. Sometimes even for walks up to 3 hours out there. She’d be puffing and tired when we got back but within 15 mins she’d start yowling at the door to go back out again.
I tried to ignore her, I had exactly the same thing where I had a schedule for when we would go out.
It was really stressing me out to the point of tears, I felt like I was a bad owner because clearly she wanted a life outside and I couldn’t give it to her; I didn’t know what to do.
I turned to the internet and was advised to just stop taking her outside. I thought that was quite drastic as she clearly enjoyed going for her walks, and I also enjoyed taking her! But with the yowling persisting and how stressed and upset it was making me, I was ready to give anything a go. So regretfully I stopped taking her out.
She continued to yowl for about a week then she stopped.
Since that time I have moved house a lot, to places with gardens and I take her out not only in those but also on long walks.. anywhere really! But it’s random and only on the occasion, maybe twice a week. She never yowls to go out anymore.

From my personal experience I would suggest to try and stop going out for a week or two, then start again but don’t do a daily routine, just make it a chance thing and slowly increase over time as long as no yowling.
It doesn’t feel like that makes much logical sense because there’s no reasoning that applies to human thought. But it’s what worked for us.
I can take my cat out every day now and she doesn’t yowl or even cry at the door to go out anymore ever.
 
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