Cat owner, we’re sure this has happened to you! Your cat walks up to you meowing, and you answer them like you know exactly what they’re saying. If you have a particularly chatty cat, you might even have an entire conversation. It’s a fun, cute game between cats and their people - until your cat won’t stop meowing, and it’s 4 in the morning.
Why do cats think meowing in your ear while it’s still dark outside is necessary? Is this normal cat behavior? Most importantly, is this something to be concerned about? Does your cat require a trip to the vet?
There are a lot of reasons why your cat might be meowing, and most of them don’t require medical attention. If you want to know why your cat is monologuing in your kitchen, keep reading to learn more.
What Does Meowing Mean?
If you’ve ever watched cats interact with each other, you may have noticed something interesting. Cats may purr, growl, hiss, or chirp at each other, but unless you have a mother cat with kittens, they rarely meow. Adult cats reserve meowing for communicating with humans.
Cats primarily communicate with each other using scent and body language. In the thousands of years since they were domesticated, cats have learned that humans just don’t pick up on pheromones and tail twitches. Cats just don’t get enough credit for realizing that, in general, humans are more responsive to verbal cues.
A cat’s meow can tell you about their emotional state at that very moment. Cat vocalizations vary with pitch and volume based on if they are in real distress, if they’re just trying to get your attention, or if they’re in an unpleasant situation and are over it (like during a vet visit).
Your cat might meow to say ‘hello’ or because she’s hungry, wants out, you aren’t looking at her, or she can see the bottom of her bowl. Meowing is your cat’s way of making sure you are meeting all of her needs.
Are They Meowing Too Much?
Every cat is different, so “excessive” vocalizing will vary by cat. Some breeds, such as Siamese, are known for being very vocal. Some individuals are also just excessively chatty. If you answer back to your cat, this may have trained them to be more vocal.
If you have just recently adopted a cat, you may not be used to their behaviors yet. If your cat has recently received a clean bill of health and is showing no other signs of distress, they may still be settling in. Your cat needs time to get used to their surroundings before they settle into their normal behaviors.
If you have lived with your cat for a while, you are familiar with his normal behaviors. You will know if it’s normal for your cat to walk around meowing to himself. If you feel like something has changed in the amount your cat is vocalizing, trust your instincts.
What If My Cat Is Meowing More Than Usual?
If you have noticed your cat seems to be meowing more than usual, something may not be right. Pay attention if your cat’s meows have changed in tone or intensity. If something seems off, your cat may also be showing other behaviors that are out of character. Cats are masters of hiding illness, so they may only be showing subtle changes. Your cat may have a problem they are trying to alert you about like:
Urinary problems- If you notice your cat seems to be meowing more when they use the litter box, they may be in pain from a UTI or stones.
Thyroid disease- If your cat is constantly eating but seems to be losing weight, and if they seem more hyperactive and are meowing more than usual, they may have a hyperactive thyroid.
Neurological Diseases- This is more common in elderly cats, but it can happen to cats at any age. If your cat is meowing a lot, in addition to appearing confused, disoriented, or unaware of her surroundings, they may have dementia or another neurological disorder.
Other Cat Noises
Meowing is the noise we associate with cats the most. But it’s not the only common cat sound. There are other sounds cats make that you may be curious about. Some sounds are cute and some are downright obnoxious. Understanding the purpose of these noises helps us understand our feline friends a little bit better.
If you have a female cat who has not yet been spayed, you will notice an increase in vocalizing when she goes into heat. This sounds more like a high-pitched cry than a meow. This sound is described as a yowl. These vocalizations will stop after she has been spayed.
There are other instances where you might hear a yowling cat. Unneutered male cats will also yowl to try to get the attention of any female cats in the area.
Cats may also yowl to warn other cats out of their territory. Feral cats often form small colonies and act for the good of the social group.
An injured cat may yowl to signal they are in pain. If you hear your cat yowling, they likely require immediate attention.
Does your cat make little chattering sounds as she stares out the window? These soft chirping sounds indicate that she’s spotted something interesting. She may have spotted a bird or a squirrel, and is expressing her interest. Your cat may also chirp at you while playing to show that she’s excited.
You may have heard your cat make a little noise somewhere in between a purr and a meow. This sound is called a trill. Trilling is a sign of affection and trust. Your cat may be trilling at you asking for you to pet him, or he may be trying to get your attention and show you something.
It’s so important to get acquainted with your cat’s noises. Knowing what your cat is trying to communicate to you will help strengthen the human animal bond. You will also be able to tell when things aren’t quite right and help keep your cat meowing and trilling at you for years to come.