Meowing: why does my cat do that?

All cats meow, but meowing isn’t something you find in the cat-language-dictionary. Meowing? That’s something they do to their owners, and barely to each other. But why?


Learned behavior?

When your cat was a teeny tiny kitten, he meowed for his mother when he was hungry, when he was cold or when he was scared. But when they grow up they begin to use other sounds to communicate with each other and with us: yowling, growling, hissing.

Most cats have learned that when they meow, they get something from us. Think about a play session, a treat, food, being rubbed on their head. They want attention. And they know that when they meow, they will get that from us.

Some breeds are known to be vocal: the Siamese will talk to you about everything!

Has you cat started meowing when he’s normally very quiet? Or has he turned silent when he’s normally very chatty? Then that might be a sign that he’s not comfortable in his skin. A trip to the vet might give you some clearance.

Cats meow because:

They can be sick: 
That’s why it’s important to see a vet first if you’ve noticed that your cat started meowing less or more than usual. Some diseases can cause for more hunger, pain or thirst which can make your cat ask for more attention.

Older felines can get an overactive thyroid gland or have trouble with their kidneys which can make them more vocal.

They want attention
Your cat is smarter than you think. He knows that he will get something when he meows. Does your cat meow a lot when she’s bored? Time for some daily play sessions!

Some cats will start meowing as soon as you get into the kitchen, begging for a piece of whatever you’re having. Some cats will become vocal when it’s (almost) feeding time.

They’re greeting you
Cats can be vocal when you’re coming home or as soon as they hear the key rinkling in your hands. They are happy you’re home and they probably can’t wait to have their bowl filled.

She is lonely
Is your cat home alone a lot? Big chance that your cat is meowing because she is lonely. You can solve this by hiring a cat-sitter when you’re at work a lot, or consider a feline friend.

You can also make their live a bit more exciting between those four walls. Place feeding stations outside the window for birds, place fun food puzzles in your house and keep her busy.

Cats who are stressed out can become more vocal than usual. The reason they are stressed out can be anything, from big to small: a new family member, moving out, a disease, losing a loved one. This all can change your cat.


It’s your job, together with a vet or behaviorist to figure out what causes that stress and to take that factor away.


In heat
If you don’t neuter or spay your cat they can get in heat. Ladies will yowl until you’re going crazy. Neutering/spaying is the best option.

There are other things going on
They can’t reach their litter box, they’re stuck in a room or they’re not feeling ok. Or they are seeing birds outside they cannot reach. If you’re unsure and your gut feeling is telling you something is wrong: always call the vet!

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