Why do cats meow? An introduction to cat communication


Cats meow when they are hungry and when they want to cuddle. Cats meow when they are in pain or when bored.

Cats actually meow all the time, especially people who are not very experienced with cats think. But cats’ urge to communicate differs from animal to animal, according to cat breeds and according to the well-being of the animals.

Meow! The primary word in cat language
Cat meows
As a cat owner of a kitten, you will hear this “word” for the next 14 to 18 years. Meow! It is your cat’s vocabulary that she shows you in different pitches and volumes.

Sometimes she is silent, sometimes she meows incessantly. So what is it about meowing and what does the cat want to tell you with it? The fact is, there are penetrative moans and quiet cats.

By choosing a cat breed , you can have a say in whether it gets loud or quiet in your house .

Cats meow in different tones
Sometimes the voice is so low that you can barely hear your cat. Another time she calls out loudly and you worry because the cat is meowing and doesn’t want to stop.

Depending on the breed and mood of the animal, meowing can be a shrill and nerve-wracking sound or almost a soothing sound.

There are serious differences in the pitch of cats, as well as in the penetrance with which the cat meows.

If you dig deeper into cat language , you will understand your cat much better.

The cat that meows has a need
When cats meow they have a reason for it. This does not necessarily mean that you now have to make sense of the address. But is the cat, for example, looking at you and meowing at you?

Then she behaves like a kitten looking at its mother and expressing a wish with the meow. Now you are definitely doing what most “cat mothers” do.

You pick up the little one and ask her in your language what she’s got. We will explain in a later paragraph what effect you will achieve with it.

Meow – a holdover from communication with the mother cat

Cats meow for very different reasons. Therefore, a meow can also sound happy and playful, sad, almost miserable or painful.

This sound is rarely used among adult cats. If your cat meows at your place, it sees you as a mother substitute and therefore uses the “cat child language”.

In this case it is usually an encouraging meow accompanied by a look out of wide eyes.

The bored cat meows
While outdoorsmen are busy themselves, the cat living in your apartment is dependent on you for their occupation.

That is, if the cat is bored, it will loudly announce this condition.

Many cats meow from boredom and stand in front of you to encourage you to play or to cuddle.

If you pay attention to your cat now, it has won and will meow even more with boredom in the future. Finally she has achieved what she intended with her address to you.

A lonely cat draws attention to itself
By nature the cat is a loner and does not need humans. But in house cats this trait has changed significantly.

From an early age, you shape the animal on you and take it in your arms, cuddle with it and are there for the cat.

If that is not the case in a moment, cats can meow from loneliness. This can happen when you go to work or when the cat is in another room – for example at night.

Check honestly how much time you devote to the animal and whether your care is sufficient for the cat. If cats meow because they are lonely, the hangover can go on for hours in your absence.

The cat can be sick
Meowing does not always have to be a need for attention. There are some illnesses in which cats meow and make loud statements that they are unwell.

Does the cat suffer from an overactive thyroid gland or does it have high blood pressure? If the cat meows and has, for example, shaggy fur or loss of appetite , you should have a vet clarify the reason.

Kidney problems also lead cats to meow and thus rob you of your sleep.

Note: If an originally calm cat meows and changes in nature, there are usually physical problems behind it.

The same applies to older cats who want to draw attention to their discomfort by meowing.

Shame about fearful animals
Fear causes unrest in the animal and in your home. If the cat is meowing and not looking at you, that sound may be an expression of fear.

Miaowing for fear is particularly common when the animal is sitting in a corner of the room and calling into the room. At first the noise is still quiet, but with time the cat meows louder and raises its voice significantly.

When a cat meows in fear, the volume may resemble a scream.

Find out why your cats are meowing and if anything has changed in their life. A cat can be in dire straits if it is scared of the surroundings after moving.

A bad experience, such as being afraid of a dog or another cat, can also reinforce this type of utterance.

Cats meow when hungry
If your cat meows regularly, does your cat get food ? If that is the case, she will constantly meow when she is hungry or hungry for a treat. Regularly feed your cat at the same time and place.

Don’t wait for her to come to you and meow and then be fed. It only takes a few days for the cats to get used to meowing as a ritual.

In addition to being asked to feed, cats can also meow when they’re happy about your return home. Or when they come home after an excursion as an outdoorsman.

How much meow is normal?
Cat meows
Joyful meowing makes you happy and shows you that your cat likes you. If you go into it, a real “conversation” can develop between you and the cat.

In principle, it is okay for cats to meow and express their needs. But if it gets too much, if the cat meows and does not come to rest, you should definitely watch the animal critically.

Is the cat bored or sick? Is she afraid, does she seem tense?

With a little experience, you will quickly discover why your cats meow. Because after a short time you can tell from the pitch whether it is a happy or an unhappy meow.

The fact is that permanent meowing is always a cause for concern and a specific review of animal health.

A general answer as to how often and for how long cats meow is not possible. There are individual animals that express themselves loudly while you cannot hear other cats at all.

Then there are the breed-specific characteristics. A domestic cat meows significantly more than a Don Sphynx , which is one of the quietest cat breeds.

If the cat meows constantly, it could be the human being – why?
If your cats meow and don’t stop at all, this may be due to your upbringing, among other things. Ask yourself whether you always react to meowing and reward the cat with it.

The cat meows all the time, doesn’t stop and looks at you? Then boredom or loneliness can be a reason for the noise level in your apartment.

Cats meow until they get their way. Cats continue to meow once they have learned that by meowing they get their will.

It’s a vicious circle that you can only escape through education. To do this, you have to call both the cat who is meowing and yourself to order.

Stop reacting when the cat meows and you will see that the continuous meow will cease very soon. If the meow sounds different than usual, however, you have to check: your cat could be sick, in pain or in dire straits.

Cats meow because you are responding to their speech
As already mentioned, cats can be ritualized. The cat meows and you take it on your lap. Then you can assume that she will meow again when she needs the next cuddle session.

The same applies to all of the cat’s needs that you meet after they have spoken to you. Simply turn the tables. Deal with the animal when it is quiet.

If the cat meows and loudly demands attention, however, you ignore it. You will see that this reversal pays off in a timely manner.

Because as quickly as cats get used to ritualized meowing, as quickly they get used to it again – if you don’t react.

Some cats meow more than others – isn’t that just “human”?
Hand on heart: There are talkative, even very talkative people. And there are people who can get by with just a few words a day. It is no different with our cats.

There are cats who meow a lot and like to meow. And there are cats who rarely meow and you sometimes wonder if your cat even has a voice.

There doesn’t always have to be a deeper reason for everything. If you can assess the meowing and find the cat happy, you don’t need to worry. Maybe you just have a “talkative” roommate.

Your cat also wants to communicate
When the cat meows, it always tells you something. Practice shows that very few cats meow “for no reason” and simply do it in order to do it.

In order to rule out diseases or other impairments to the cat’s well-being, you should pay close attention to the animal’s tone and facial expressions. Watch the cat meow out of the corner of his eye and you will quickly see what she wants to “tell” you.

If a cat meows constantly and the neighbors have already pointed this out, you should take remedial action.

You can do that if you pay attention to the cat – the moment it is calm and does not meow.


Mehul D

I love pets especially dogs and cats. I have created this website to spread useful information about pets and to help people to take care of their pets in a better way.