Why Do Cats Meow All the Time? 8 Typical & Medical Reasons
By Jordyn Alger
There are several reasons why cats meow, and it is difficult to categorize them all into one box. But for the most part, your cat meows because he is communicating with you1. Meowing is particularly interesting, as it is specifically used to communicate with humans. Kittens will meow at their mothers, but as they grow older, the meowing tapers off. The only time an adult will meow is if he is trying to communicate something to you.
But what is he trying to communicate? That’s the real question. There are a few common reasons why your cat may frequently meow, but there are also some medical concerns that may cause excessive vocalization. If you want to learn these reasons and perhaps limit your cat’s constant meowing, this article has the information you need.
Typical Reasons that Cats Meow
There are a few typical reasons that your cat will meow. Likely, your cat does at least one of the following, if not all.
Meowing is a common way that cats greet their owners. If you have just returned home after a long day, your cat may run up to you and meow repeatedly. This is just his way of saying “hello.”
2. Wanting Attention
Cats are not as aloof and indifferent to their owners as they may pretend to be. If your cat feels neglected, he may meow at you to try and gain your attention and affection. If your cat has been left alone for an extended period, he will likely want pets, playtime, or even a few friendly words.
Your cat’s appetite may compel him to meow. If he is hungry or thinks it is time for you to feed him, he may grow vocal as a way to demand a meal.
4. Go Outside or Inside
If your cat is allowed outdoors, he may be meowing to tell you that he wants to either go outside or come inside.
5. Finding a Mate
If your cat is intact, he may vocalize to look for a mate. This sound is less of a meow and more of a yowl, but we included it on this list for information’s sake. If you want to limit the yowling, you must have your cat spayed or neutered.
Medical Issues that May Cause Excessive Meowing
If your cat’s vocalizations have grown more excessive, it is possible that a medical condition is to blame. Any overly vocal cat should be taken to the vet to rule out a health complication. To learn more about potential medical causes, examine the list below.
As your cat grows into an elder, he may experience cognitive decline. Feline dementia most often impacts cats that are a decade or older.
Some signs of mental impairment include disorientation, disturbed sleeping cycles, loss of previously known training (such as litter box training), poor grooming, and changes in activity levels. Another common symptom is increased vocalization.
If your cat is a senior, look for any of these symptoms to determine if aging could cause constant meowing.
Stress can be indicative of an underlying health concern. Stressed cats may vocalize more often and display other symptoms such as urination and defecation issues, excessive grooming and scratching, isolation, and aggression.
If your cat exhibits signs of stress, take him to the vet to rule out a medical concern. If there is no medical issue causing the stress, try to figure out what the stressor in your cat’s environment is, and then eliminate or minimize it.
Some severe illnesses may cause your cat to meow constantly. Hyperthyroidism or kidney disease are two potential causes, although the possibilities are not limited to those two conditions. If you are concerned for your cat’s health, reach out to your vet so they can properly diagnose your cat and help you to devise an effective treatment plan.
How to Manage Excessive Meowing
Assuming that a medical issue does not cause your cat’s meowing, excessive meowing may be a behavior you want to limit. To manage this behavior, you must construct a plan that suits your cat, your needs, and the problem you are trying to solve.
For instance, if your cat meows excessively to get your attention, you will want to avoid reinforcing this behavior. That means that you should not indulge him when he is constantly vocalizing. Instead, wait until he is settled and quiet and reward him for his excellent behavior.
It will take time to reinforce new behaviors in your cat, so brace yourself to be patient. Likewise, be understanding with your cat and know that he is not meowing to try and irritate you but to try and communicate with you the only way he knows. Once he learns that he can have his needs met without excessive vocalization, he should calm down.
What to Not Do
When directing your cat’s behavior towards something more favorable, it is vital to avoid inevitable missteps. First, you should never assume that your cat is meowing just to be demanding. If he is frequently meowing, verify that he is not hurt, has access to food and water, and can reach his litter box. Determine that all of his needs are met to ensure that he is not trying to bring your attention to a valid concern.
If he is meowing to be demanding, do not punish him. Punishments will not teach your cat the behaviors you wish to instill. Instead, it will lead him to be fearful of you.
Meowing is your cat’s only way to communicate with you. Although constant meowing may seem silly or even annoying, remember that your cat has no other way to tell you how they feel or what they need. Pay attention to any signs of illness; if there are none, try to determine the root of your cat’s meowing. The sooner you can determine what he needs; the sooner everyone will be relaxed and happy.
Featured Image Credit: Kaan Yetkin Toprak, Shutterstock