Why do Cats Meow

Dr Leoti Morkel - Veterinarian profile picture

Dr Leoti Morkel - Veterinarian

BVSc from University of Pretoria

Dr Leoti Morkel has spent most of her career in clinical practice, operating her own veterinary hospital and boarding kennels. Leoti has wide-ranging clinical experience including small and large animals, as well as wildlife.

Why do Cats Meow

So why is your cat meowing to you so much?

What are they wanting to say to you?

Cats are highly intelligent animals who want to communicate with their owners, and meowing is a helpful tool for them to say the things they want to say.

Here are some of the most common reasons your cat will meow to you.

Hello, how are you?

If you get a few meows when you get home from work or shopping, or when you pass your cat in the hallway, he is probably just greeting you and telling you how nice it is to see you again. A warm-hearted greet in return will likely satisfy your feline friend.

I am Hungryyyyy.

Don’t we all know this meow! Cats can tell when it is feeding time, and they are not afraid to say so. However, try not to give in straight away – wait until your cat stops meowing before getting out the food. Otherwise, your cat will learn that he can meow and get fed every time, so he’ll do it more.

Look at Me!

Sometimes your cat strikes up a conversation just because he wants some love and attention. A quick conversation, a bit of play or a pet might satisfy his earnest need.

Let me in! or Let me out!

Your feline friend will let you know if they want to be on the other side of the closed door. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; they simply likes the door to be open.

This is Stressing me Out

Any changes in your cat’s environment can cause him to stress. This can lead to him taking the meowing up a notch. Moving house, bringing home another pet or a new baby are some of the upheavals that can stir him up – so a little extra TLC can work wonders here.

I am Feeling Sick

If excessive meowing isn’t normal for your cat, he might be trying to tell you that there is a problem. Medical conditions like kidney disease, urinary tract problems and arthritis can all cause your cat to feel under the weather.Also, if your cat’s meow suddenly starts to sound different, it could indicate something medically wrong. If the meowing is combined with altered behaviour, it is definitely time to get him checked by the vet.

My Memory is Fading

If your cat is getting along in years, he might start to display symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. This condition can cause symptoms of confusion and memory lapse in older cats and can lead to loud meowing, especially at night. This is something to discuss with your vet.

I am Lonely

Some cats get anxious when left alone for extended periods of time, this can lead to excessive meowing both when owners are away and when they return.

When you are at home, make sure to give your cat loads of attention.

Lots of play and stimulating toys might help to tire out your furry little friend.

I am On Heat

If your cat has not been desexed, it’s only natural to become a bit chattier during the mating season. A female cat may even yowl relentlessly while on heat. Consider desexing your cat at the prescribed age.

I am Angry

If your cat feels threatened and unable to escape, they might engage in loud and angry yowling. It might also happen if they see an unwelcome trespassing feline outside the window.

This is Me

Meowing levels vary between breeds. For instance, Siamese cats and other Oriental species are considered great ‘talkers’.

If you really want to maintain a quiet kitty, there are two key things to remember.

  1. Reward your cat when they are being quiet, and
  2. Turn a deaf ear to their mouthy demands!

Repeating the command “quiet” is likely to eventually sink in, especially if that means they're not getting their way.

Happy cat talk interpreting everyone!

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