Why Do Cats Meow

Suki and Hiro are both cats who meow when they want something. They want to play but we don’t have time? They will meow just as long until we play with them. It sometimes drives us crazy, but that’s not the only reason cats meow. Why do cats meow?


Copyright by Zanthia.

Copyright by Zanthia.

Why cats change can have several reasons and this reason change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers they are hungry, cold or scared. But once they get older, they use other vocalizations: yowling, hissing, growling. This is to communicate with each other or with us. Over the years cats may learn that meowing often gets something done. This can be attention, food, treats or something else.

Some breeds are known to be very vocal. Like the Siamese who like to talk back and chat about everything. If you don’t like very chatty cats, the Siamese is not a cat for you.

Is your cat meowing but you don’t know why? Before you can work with it, to get your cat to meow less, you need to find out why your cat is meowing. Depending on how good you know your cat, it’s going to be easy or not.

Cats Meow Because…

  • They may have an illness.
    The first step is let your cat be checked out by your vet. Many diseases can cause a cat to feel hunger, thirst or pain. This all can lead to excessive meowing. Elderly cats also can develop an overactive thyroid or kidney disease, both diseases can result in excessive vocalizations.
  • They are looking for attention.
    Cats often meow to start play, petting to get you to talk to them.
    If you don’t want her to meowing when she’s looking for attention, don’t respond when it happens. Only give her attention when she stops meowing. If she starts meowing again you can look away, or walk away. Only respond good behavior, but don’t ignore her. You don’t want her to meow because she’s looking for attention? Spend some quality time with her everyday. Groom her, talk to her, pet her, play with her. Make her tired.
  • Your cat wants food.
    Some cats meow when someone walks into the kitchen because they are hoping to get a bite. And some cats become vocal when it gets close to feeding time. If this bothers you, simple don’t feed her when she meows/cries. Wait until she has stopped meowing and put the food down. Also, don’t give her treats when your cat meows.
  • Your cat is greeting you.
    Cats may meow when their people are coming home, or when they meet you in the house. She’s happy to see you.
  • Your cat is lonely.
    Your cat spends many hours alone at home? Think about getting a pet sitter to come along during the day or find ways to make your kitties life less boring. Put bird feeders outside the window, leave interactive toys out (with food inside). Or — if the situation/timing is right — get her a buddy.
  • Your cat is stressed.
    Cats cat are stressed often become (more) vocal. A new pet, a new baby or changed into their home, an illness, or the loss of a loved one can turn your silent kitty into a talker. Try to find out what is stressing your cat, give her some more attention and quiet time with your cat to soothe her.
  • Your cat is getting old.
    Cats may suffer from confusion, cognitive dysfunction are they grow older. They may get disoriented and often meow or cry for no reason. This often happens at night. A night lamp may help if your older cat gets disoriented during the night.
  • Cats in heat/want to breed.
    If your cat is not spayed or neutered they will meow and howl everything to get laid. Female cats yowl when they are in heat and male cats yowl when they smell a female in heat. Both can drive you nuts. Spaying or neutering your cat will prevent this.
  • There are other problems
    They can’t reach — or get in the litter box. They are trapped in a room, they see birds outside the window or another problem they want you to know about.
Copyright by footloosiety'.

Copyright by footloosiety.

Do not punish your cat for meowing. No hitting, shouting, spraying them with water. All this will make your distrust you or even dislike you. And you don’t want that, right?

Don’t give in. If your cat is used to getting what he wants from meowing, he’s going to meow more, and louder, when it quits working. it will get worse before it gets better.

Does your cat meow a lot?


13 Responses to “Why Do Cats Meow”

  1. minlit

    Meowing is fascinating. They don’t meow to each other, apparently – just to us. Always makes me wonder how it sounds inside their heads! They mostly meow to me in this household, because I talk back. And eventually I give in and get them what they want. I had two kittens who used to chirrup to each other when they were playing in the middle of the night. My cats just hiss and growl at each other :( Meowing is very useful when they are trapped though, and a cat that is used to calling for attention/help will be discovered sooner than one who isn’t.

    • alienredqueen

      See…I had hear that too, but I don’t think it’s 100% true. Like Dianda said, babies meow at their mamas. Living with us, they definitely learn it gets things done. I saw a video the other day of a guy playing a meow sound on his cell phone and his cat answering. So, whether that’s a natural thing or learned in this case, I don’t know, but that cat was definitely “meowing” to the other “cat” he heard.

  2. onespoiledcat

    Sam and I have long conversations – his vocalizations are varied and certainly each sound or group of sounds CLEARLY mean certain things. It’s interesting because he only does the standard “meow” to my husband but with me – very complicated and long drawn out “sentences” !! I had a cat once who never in all the years I enjoyed his wonderful company never made a sound…..he would communicate with me with his eyes – winks in patterns. Cats are incredibly smart and VERY clever. All they need is a willing human to participate in this two-way communication!


  3. Gobi Obi

    my little one chirrups, he only miaows for feeding, the Sphynx boy is vocal but miaows if he is cold or wants feeding, My elderly girl is also a chirper.

  4. littlemiao

    Sprocket always miaos and meeps to announce his arrival.

    Chun used to meow a lot when he was an only kitty. I guess the poor purr was lonely.

  5. Misaki

    My nanny’s cat Daisy, cries alot more now she’s older, I’ll definitely suggest my nanny gets a night light for her


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