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Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing & Rubbing Against Everything? Vet-Approved Facts

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

cat rubbing against owner

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are occasionally known for meowing and rubbing against things (especially us!). Some breeds are more vocal than others, but cats do not generally rub against random objects while meowing consistently. If your cat is doing this, they are obviously trying to communicate, but what are they saying? This is typically a sign your female cat is in heat but there can be other causes too. Read on to find out!

Constant Meowing and Rubbing Typically Means a Cat’s in Heat

If your cat is a female and she has not been spayed, she will go into heat cycles once she reaches reproductive age. During this time, she will be looking for a mate, and one way she manifests that desire is by meowing excessively and rubbing up against just about anything that is in her vicinity to spread her scent around. When in heat, female cats tend to act clingy with their human companions and fellow household pets too. Other behaviors of a cat in a heat cycle include rolling on the floor, urinating more, and keeping her backside elevated and ready for mating.

How Often Does a Heat Cycle Happen, and How Long Does It Last?

Once a female cat has reached sexual maturity, which is at about 5 to 6 months of age, she will start her first heat cycle, which lasts about 7 days, though the time length can range widely anywhere from 1 to 21 days. If the cat is not spayed, the heat cycle will happen every 2 to 3 weeks. In the northern hemisphere, this occurs from approximately February (with increasing daylight length) to October, with a peak from February to April. Therefore, the act of meowing excessively and rubbing up against everything will become a common occurrence, so you will know what the behavior means.

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A cat can get pregnant at any time during her heat cycle, so it’s important to keep her away from any males during that time, unless reproduction is a goal. The meowing and rubbing can become overwhelming and even annoying after a while. It can also lead to unwanted kittens if she manages to mate. It is best to have your kitty spayed if you don’t want to be responsible for kittens and you don’t want to put up with her exaggerated behavior.

Other Reasons That Your Cat Might Be Meowing and Rubbing Against Everything

Cat rubbing against owner's legs
Photo Credit: Evan Abram McGinnis, Shutterstock

Going into heat is the most obvious reason that a cat would excessively meow and rub against everything, but it is not the only one. If you notice that your cat is meowing and/or rubbing against things all day, it could be due to one of the following reasons.

They Want More Attention

If a cat is feeling ignored or gets left alone at home for longer than they are used to, they may let you know that they want more attention by meowing at you and rubbing up against your legs or nearby furniture. They tend to keep going until they finally get the attention that they want, which is usually more than just recognition that they’re in the room. They’re likely looking for a nice cuddling and petting session.

They Are Greeting You

Your cat is happy to see you, and they are letting you know by rubbing their head or body against you. Certain areas of their skin are rich in the oily glands (sebaceous) that produce pheromones (chemical messengers), and they will rub against you to exchange scent. This is associated with comfort, reassurance and friendly interactions.

They Are Bonding

Another reason a cat might meow and rub up against things is that they are “marking” you with their scent. Even if you have not been away, the scent needs to be reapplied. Your cat establishes a social connection through this type of body language.

In Conclusion

Cats are independent creatures, but they also need love and attention to enjoy a happy life. If they are not spayed, they also have a need to mate, which can result in excessive meowing and rubbing against stuff. Getting your feline family member spayed will help curb this behavior and help ensure that your community does not get populated with unwanted cats.

Featured Photo Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

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