Why Some Cats Talk A Lot.

This one is for you, Jimmie!


It’s normal for cats to meow, but some do it more than others. Especially specific breeds such as the Siamese, Orientals and Chartreux’s. Some only peep, some have entire conversations. You can compare it a bit with humans. Some talk a lot, some don’t. And some cats meow while they are playing, while others don’t.

In the wild, cats have two sets of language – one to communicate between mother and offspring and another to communicate with other adults within their territory. Your cat uses vocalization to tell other cats (or you) what she needs. Different pitches, intensity and the volume of the meowing reflects the emotional and physical needs. Loud meowing usually means anxiety and fear, while a meow that is lower in sound means that your cat is confidence.

It’s possible that cats relate to us as their “surrogate mothers”. And learn to communicate with us, if there is something that they want, or just to get attention. If a particular meow, chirp, or chortle elicits a desired respond, they will learn to do it more. But some cats are just social and like to ‘talk’ with us. They even may develop a special language just for us.

In a typical household with cats, the feline residents, after they have grown up and passed the kitten stage, communicate with each other mostly through non-vocal means. And probably because they know we’re not good at interpreting body language and they discover that we respond better to vocal cues and commands, cats change their communication styles to work with humans. And throughout adulthood they continue with many of the vocal techniques they used as kittens to let their mothers know how they were doing and what they wanted.

It can be cute, but when it happens at three in the morning, it’s not really cute anymore. But rather annoying.

Most cats that talk a lot want your attention. They will learn that if they meow long enough, you will give up and feed her, or wake up and let her in. They know that if they meow, they will get what they want.

Body language between cats.

Stop reinforcing it.
Do not respond when your cat meows relentlessly at your door. If you consistently ignore her unreasonable demands, they will eventually stop. In theory.

Environmental enrichment.
Consider that your cat may be lonely or bored. Many cats spend long hours alone at home with little to do. Think about playing games with your cat.  It must be interactive and should last 15-20 minutes. Really get your cat to move. Later, she’ll be too happy and tired to yowl at your door.

Reward good behavior.
Give your kitty the attention she craves only when she is acting calm and quiet.

Get another cat.
With your cats this can be a good idea, to get him a companion. With older cats it will be trickier.

Consult your veterinarian.
Excessive meowing may be sign of separation anxiety or even a medical problem. If simple solutions fail to help, it’s time to consult your veterinarian.

What if your cat suddenly starts meowing out of nowhere? It may be a sign that there is something wrong. A young female cat who yowls, purrs and rubs may be in heat. A male who cries, howls and then strains to urinate may have a urinary blockage. And this required medical care.

An overactive thyroid, common in older cats, may cause increased hunger, wakefulness, and excitability, making your cat meow more. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and weight loss.

High Blood Pressure.
Cats, like humans, can develop high blood pressure as they age. Cats with this problem usually have kidney disease or hyperthyroidism as well. Humans with high blood pressure sometimes have headaches or ringing in the ears. It’s thought that kitties may also experience these uncomfortable sensations, causing midnight yowling.

Dental disease.
Painful, infected teeth may make it hard for your cat to eat. Mouth pain and hunger may make her clingy and meowy. Symptoms of dental disease also include difficulty chewing, dropping of food, and bad breath.

Older cats can develop arthritis just like dogs and people, and they may not seem to complain. Arthritic cats usually just move less, and do so in a gingerly fashion. However, midnight yowling in older kitties is sometimes attributed to achy joints.

Elderly cats who are hard of hearing may become louder and more meowy if they simply can’t hear themselves talk.

Feline Dementia.
Also known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, this is a gradual decline in mental ability that affects some feline elders. Symptoms can include disorientation, altered sleep cycles, house soiling, and bizarre loud vocalizations. If you notice these symptoms, consult your veterinarian right away. There is no cure for feline dementia; but there may be treatments that can help.

Always call your vet when you think something is not right!


16 Responses to “Why Some Cats Talk A Lot.”

  1. nadbugs

    Thank you for this one. Bugs is really a shouter, and I see I need to do something different. This post helps. Another cat looks like the next step.

    • Dianda

      Suki is a shouter too, especially if she wants attention. So if she meows, Hiro walks up to her and starts licking her. The only bad thing, Hiro started meowing now too as well. It’s like he’s trying to be Suki.

  2. jimmie chew

    thank you for all the info!
    Our Fin is the meower, he always wants treats! Jimmie is pick’n it up. we will have to stop give’n in.

  3. heretherebespiders

    “In theory” – ha hahah! Yes, I’ve had sucess with this lately with Spot. But now he’s annoyed that his favorite lap (mine, of course) isn’t available at all in the day. He’s letting us know…loudly…

  4. Alexandra

    That was really interesting! The last half sounded scary though, but it’s very useful.
    Usyaka talks a lot and that’s a whole language which we learned to understand. Although she’s extremely attached to me, I think she talks to my husband more with a wider range of sounds. Maybe she thinks I understand her without any words anyway :)
    So do your cats not sleep when you are sleeping? What does Hiro do when Suki is talking at 3 am?

    • Dianda

      Well, we usually go to bed around 12 or 1am – if we don’t have work. I play with her several times a day, and in the evening she usually doesn’t want to, until we go to bed. That is when she suddenly wants to play! She has this small little golden ball that is her “precious”, but because it’s so small she loses it a lot. When she wants to play she tries to get our attention by meowing, then when we reach out for her to pet her, she runs away like “Follow me! come play!” and when we toss some balls around she follows them like crazy. (or paper wads, she looooves them at night).

      Or she wakes up around 4am, suddenly waking up she starts meowing. Hiro usually comforts her, but Suki also drags Hiro into her playful mood. And eventually they end up ‘wresteling’ with each other.

  5. littlemiao

    More excellent information! Chun fits the Siamese stereotype of being vocal. Usually he meows for cuddles, to be let into a room, for food, or just to show off how cute and clever he is. Sprocket always mews and squeaks when he enters a room, like he’s announcing himself and saying hi.

    One thing I have noticed, since my father has two ragdolls, is that ragdolls have an unusually soft and squeaky meep/mew. I wonder if this holds true for other ragdolls.

    • Dianda

      I don’t know if that is a sounds ragdolls typically make. I could look into that if I have my laptop back, haha. But I have noticed the same with maine coons. ;)


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