We live in a four cat household, so it’s pretty common for us to hear a cat meowing almost all the time. Especially Yavapai, he’s our most vocal cat by far.
Meows are cute - it means your cat is trying to communicate with you. In fact, science has shown that cats don’t really meow at other cats (well, they do but only in specific situations). So this means all those meows you hear are just little calls for you from your cats.
Cute right? Not all the time…
Common Reasons For A Cat To Meow
Below we will list a few of the most common reasons for a cat to start meowing uncontrollably at you. Please note that there could be more reasons, these are just the ones we’ve seen and experienced the most.
If your cat has suddenly and inexplicably started meowing a lot they could be in serious pain. You should strongly consider paying a visit to the vet if this occurs.
As we’ve said, a meow is a way for a cat to communicate with a human. So what’s the number one reason a cat wants to talk to us? Because we’re ignoring them and their needs. They want some attention and they are calling us to give it to them.
It’s a pretty cute strategy for the most part. When a cat meows at you for attention it’s usually followed up by them rubbing against you. I think we all know what to do after that.
A big reason to hear cats meowing is also from fear of something. Sometimes our cats get scared from loud crashing noises in the kitchen and they will meow in fear. It’s similar to how we cry out in fear sometimes - it just feels like the right thing to do.
If your cat is crying out in fear of something like a vacuum chasing them around the house, you should try your best to give your cat time to get associated with the foreign object. If it’s a genuine fear (like thunder), you will probably see your cat skirting under the bed or couch. Give them time and lots of petting.
If you haven’t gotten your cat fixed, they might be going into heat! A cat meowing for a mating partner will sound a lot different than a cat meowing for human attention. This meow will be more like a yowl and will almost sound like they are in pain.
Usually if cats are in heat they are also going to pee everywhere to mark their territory, so get ready. When Naz went into heat she sat at the door clawing at it, desperate to be let outside.
When Yavapai went into heat he peed and kept crying all day. He looked lost and scared.
All cats are different, but you will know if your cat is crying due to being in heat.
This one is my favorite. Yavapai loves to do this to us. You step into the kitchen and the chorus begins. No, it’s not that he’s begging for your attention all of a sudden, he’s begging to be fed.
Bonus points if your cat cries when they hear the opening of a can or the banging of their food bowl.
To be fair, out of four cats, only one does this consistently. We haven’t found a good way to stop it either.
Sometimes your cat will give you a friendly meow when you get home or enter a room they are in. You will know this one because they do it when they first see you and they don’t continue to harass you.
Pima is king of this in our home. He’s injured and doesn’t move much, so he’s extra vocal when we walk into a room. He loves to say hi and he’s also asking for some attention from us.
If your cat is greeting you with a meow, give them a minute of your time and pet them to say hi back.
This one is a little ambiguous but it’s a catch all. Cats need help from you sometimes and they meow to call on you for help with things.
Sometimes our cats like to sneak into the closet when we are in there, and then they hide and we lock them in. Later we hear them meowing for help - they need us to open the door.
Yaki has a bit different of a meow than other cats, his is more of a MOOOW - like a cow. When we hear that it means he needs help from us, or he’s frustrated. He doesn’t meow for no reason - in fact he rarely meows at all. Usually if we hear that it means he’s gotten himself stuck in a room or he found a bug on the ceiling that he can’t reach.
If your cat needs help and they are meowing for you, help them out please. Sometimes we pick Yaki up real high so he can swat at a bug on the ceiling.
How To Stop Your Cat From Excessive Meowing
We tried to point out little tips that are more like basic cat companionship (helping your cats when they meow at you, or giving them attention), but sometimes their problem is a bit more complex.
Bring Them To A Vet
This one is awful, but sometimes cats need your help in a different way. Sometimes they are sick and in pain and they have no idea what to do so they are calling you to figure it out. You may need to bring them in for a check up to make sure everything is okay.
Cats can cry from pain from infectious disease to stuff in their ears. It’s better safe than sorry.
Clean Their Litter Box
That’s right, believe it or not but your cat is a neat freak. They like things clean and most cats hate dirty litter. If you’re lucky they will stand outside their litter box and cry for you to clean it. If you’re unlucky they will just find somewhere cleaner to go to the bathroom.
We’ve said before on this site, and will say it again, build a routine around cleaning your cats litter and do it daily.
Stop Encouraging Them
Sometimes your cat looks so cute when they meow for some food that you can’t help but give them a treat or two during the day. But this is exactly what you have to stop doing. You’re encouraging bad behavior and reinforcing it by giving in to their request. Try ignoring them completely next time your cat starts whining to you for something (as long as it’s food).
In summary, cats have a huge list of reasons to be meowing, and only you will know the real reason for it. Be attentive and listen to the type of meow they are producing, it will tell you a lot more than you may think. And be sure to give them lots of attention when they talk to you. It helps establish a greater bond between the two of you and can help you better understand when their meow is from actual pain.