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Why does my cat meow?

 

We often think cats meow as a form of communication to each other, but it looks like we’re wrong about that. Cat behaviourists say that only kittens meow to their mothers; when they’re hungry, cold or scared. But once they get older, they use other vocalisations, such as hissing and growling, to communicate with one another. Meowing, it seems, is reserved for the communication with humans.

 

Next, we have to consider the breed and individual temperament of the cat. Oriental breeds such as Siamese cats are very talkative. Also, sometimes cats simply enjoy listening to their own voices, while others cherish conversations with their owners.

 

Here are a few reasons why your cat could be meowing to you:

 

  1. Sickness

If your cat is unwell, she could be seeking attention from you. If Kitty is vocalising excessively, a trip to her vet should be in order. Plenty of diseases can cause a cat to feel hunger, thirst, or pain, all of which can cause excessive meowing. Senior cats can also develop diseases such as kidney disease or an overactive thyroid, which can also result in excessive meowing.

  1. Company

Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t like being alone that much. To engage you, your cat might meow, indicating that she wants to play or be petted or to simply have a conversation with you. If you don’t want to encourage this behaviour, simply stop responding when your cat meows at you for attention.

  1. Hungry or Greedy

When you walk into your kitchen and your cat meows at you – she probably wants to be fed too. Other cats can get very vocal when it’s close to their feeding times. If you want to prevent this from happening, do not feed her when she cries; wait till she is quiet before setting her food down.

  1. Greeting You

It’s just their way of saying “Hello!” when you come home. That’s pretty sweet, isn’t it?

  1. Stressed Out

Cat behaviourists point out that stressed felines tend to vocalise more. Changes to the home environment, such as a new baby or moving houses, can cause Kitty to talk more. In situations like these, try to figure out what is causing distress to you cat and help her adjust to the change. At the same time, try to spend more time with her to soothe her.

  1. Loneliness

If you leave Kitty alone at home for too long, she’s bound to be attention seeking when you come home. You could create an area where it’s safe for her to gaze out the window and people watch or bird watch. Or you could provide her with kitty condos and a wide variety of toys for her to play with.

  1. Elderly Cats

Aging cats often become confused and may meow for no reason. However, always be safe and have your senior cat checked out at the vet to eliminate any health issues. If your senior cat is truly going senile and often gets disoriented, your vet may able to dispense medication.

  1. In Heat

If Kitty isn’t spayed or neutered, then you’re going to have a real chatty cat each time they’re in heat. Females yowl when in heat, and males yowl when they smell a female in heat. Best to neuter Kitty to avoid a situation like this.

 

Do Not:

  • Ignore your cat if she is being overly talkative. Even though you may not want to encourage excessive meowing, Kitty could be behaving this way for a good reason.
  • Punish Kitty for meowing. Never hit, shout or spray water at her if you want to stop negative behaviours. More than anything, such abusive behaviour breaks the bond you two share and she will find it hard to trust you again.
  • Give in to Kitty when she meows for unimportant things. If your cat is perfectly healthy and only meows when she knows she can manipulate you into giving her what she wants, do not encourage this behaviour (unless you like it, of course). Simply keep rewarding quiet behaviour and ignoring meowing, and Kitty will learn in due course.

Image Credit: dasu_ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/naanuu/), Meow, CC (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)