As a proud cat owner, you are probably used to the daily cat meowing and purrs your cat shares with you. But did you know that cats communicate with other cats is mainly via scent, and cat meowing is reserved only for humans? Cats don’t meow at each other, only at humans, and meowing is a learned behaviour. Different meows mean different things too!
Cats go to all the trouble to communicate with us because they have something important to say. To help you decipher, here are the top reasons why cats meow.
Why do cats meow?
1. To greet you
If you’re used to a short cat meowing just as come home, congratulations – your cat actually noticed you were missing. A bit of affectionate petting and a few warm words are expected in return. Ah, the joys of being a cat owner!
2. To get your attention
Cats also meow so they can get your attention for play, petting or some nice treats. So if your cat keeps brushing up against you while meowing, chances are you’re needed for some spoiling time. Have fun!
3. To get food
If your cat won’t stop meowing at certain times, it’s a good idea to check if the food bowl is empty. However, don’t fill up the bowl straight away – wait until your cat stops meowing before getting the food out. Otherwise your cat will learn that they can meow and get fed, so they’ll do it more.
4. To tell you they’re unwell
Unfortunately, some meows are not always easy to address, especially if the pitch and the frequency are unusual. If your cat is meowing at night, they might be trying to tell you there is something wrong. In fact, many illnesses from kidney disease to urinary tract problems or arthritis can have your kitty meowing for help. If you notice anything unusual about the sounds your cat is making, it’s better to visit your vet to rule out a possible illness. On the other hand, it can be very difficult to read a cat’s body language and they often hide signs of pain, just because they are not meowing doesn’t mean they are 100% ok.
If you have an older cat, watch out for a common culprit – Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. Symptoms include confusion and meowing at night, so make sure you discuss this with your vet too.
5. To indicate stress
If you notice extra cat meowing, think about any possible disturbances or changes in your cat’s environment. A new house, a new pet or a new baby can set off alarm bells. So be mindful of any changes and try to put your cat at ease by offering them more attention and some nice quiet time.
Cat breeds that meow the most
All cats meow at their owners, but there are certain cat breeds that are more ‘chatty.’ Here are the cat breeds known to meow the most:
An elegant and graceful cat that also likes to socialise. These cats can get very loud but they are extremely fun to be around too.
Similar to the Siamese, Oriental Shorthair cats like to make their presence known by meowing, playing games and being around people.
Maine Coon cats are known for the delightful quiet chirping sound they make. They are very playful and friendly and will let you know how much they enjoy your company.
Affective and very energetic, Bengal cats are known to be a very vocal breed as well, with a wide vocabulary that will have you actively guessing.
What to do if your cat won’t stop meowing
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for cats that keep meowing when nothing seems to make them want to stop.
Don’t ignore your cat
The main reason why cats meow is because they are trying to communicate with you. It’s true that they might not always have important things to say, but sometimes, it’s their SOS signal, look out for other signs accompanying the meows. Your cat might be in distress or in pain and really needing your attention.
Don’t punish your cat
If you’re tired, non-stop cat meowing can be annoying, but the best thing to do is to remain calm. Avoid shouting or punishing your cat. Their unlikely to stop the meowing and can even make your cat fearful of trying to tell you about problems in the future. Just go through the above list and try to determine what exactly your cat is trying to say.
Break the habit
If your cat thinks that meowing up a storm is the only way to get food or play time, discourage this behaviour by waiting until the cat has finished saying their piece before getting out the food or their favourite toy.
Visit the vet
If your cat has always been noisy then there is probably nothing to worry about. However, if cat meowing becomes excessive and unusual in pitch, this might be a sign of an underlying illness. Make sure you visit your local vet to find out more.