Why Do Cats Meow? If you’ve ever asked yourself why do cats meow? You’re not alone. We at USPetcares talk to our cats all the time, and they usually just stare back, giving us nothing but furry little blank looks. But sometimes we get their attention—and get them to talk back—by asking why do cats meow? Cats meow for many reasons—to say hello, to ask for things, and to tell us when something’s wrong. Meowing is an interesting vocalization in that adult cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at people.
1) To greet you
A lot of times, when your cat meows at you, it’s because they’re trying to say hello. If you notice that your cat only meows at you when you first come home or when they haven’t seen you in a while, chances are they’re just trying to greet you. It’s not always an urgent issue! To ask for things: Some cats will use meowing as a way to ask for things like food, water, petting, or attention. It’s kind of like if you were really hungry and asking someone if they could get you something to eat! To tell us when something’s wrong: Cats often use meowing as a warning system-for example, if another animal is outside the house and your cat wants to warn the family about it.
2) To scold you
If your cat meows at you and you don’t respond, she may start to think her meows are falling on deaf ears. She’ll meow louder and more insistently the next time she wants something, whether that’s food, attention, or just to be let outside. If you give in and provide what she wants after she’s been meowing for a while, she’ll learn that all she has to do is keep meowing and you’ll eventually give in. So if you want your cat to stop meowing for things she can easily get on her own, ignore her when she first starts meowing and wait for her to stop before giving her what she wants.
3) When they’re upset
If your cat is meowing more than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Maybe they’re not feeling well, or they’re feeling stressed out. If you think your cat might be upset, try to figure out what might be causing the problem and see if you can help them feel better.
When they’re happy (three sentences): A happy cat will usually have a soft, gentle meow. They might also purr when they’re content or rubbing up against you for attention.
When they’re hungry (two sentences): A common reason for meowing is hunger. If your cat is meowing more than usual and seems especially interested in food, they might be trying to tell you that they’re hungry.
4) When they want something
If your cat meows and you don’t immediately respond, they may continue meowing or escalate their vocalizations by yowling or howling. Common requests include wanting to be let outside, wanting to be fed, or wanting you to pay attention to them.
5) To show affection
One reason your cat might meow is to show affection. If you notice your cat rubbing against you or curling up in your lap, they may be trying to tell you that they like you. If you have more than one cat, you may also notice that they meow more when you’re around, which could be their way of showing their love.
6) When they’re trying to get your attention
If your cat meows and you don’t respond, they’ll try again. And again. And again. If you’re ignores their meows long enough, they may start following you around or trying to get in your face until you acknowledge them. They learn that this gets results, so they’ll keep doing it even if it means driving you a little crazy.
When they’re hungry (three sentences): A lot of cats will meow when they’re hungry, especially if their food bowl is empty or if they see you eating something delicious.
7) When they’re happy
A happy cat will often meow when they see you, especially if you’re carrying something they want, like food or a toy. They may also meow in response to being petted or picked up. If your cat rubs against you and meows, it’s a sign of affection.
When they’re hungry (seven sentences): A common reason for meowing is hunger. If your cat is meowing more than usual and seems fixated on food, it’s probably because they’re hungry.
8) When they see another cat or animal
- If your cat sees another animal outside, they may meow to try and get the animal’s attention. This could be a sign that they want to play or are feeling threatened.
- If you have more than one cat, they may meow at each other as a way of communicating. Each meow has a different meaning, and cats will often use body language to communicate as well.
- If a cat sees a bird or squirrel outside, they may meow in an attempt to hunt it down.
- If a cat is pregnant or nursing, she may meow more often due to hormones and the need for extra care.
- Some cats simply meow more than others – just like some people are more talkative than others!
- Cats may also meow when they’re hungry, or after eating when they want more food.
- Kittens and elderly cats may be lonely and looking for love, so if your cat doesn’t usually meow much but starts doing so suddenly, this might be why.
- Cats also sometimes meow to call out for help if something goes wrong – if their water bowl spills on the floor, if there’s a strange noise coming from under the bed, etc.
- Adult cats don’t typically respond to these calls with a meow; instead they’ll come running to see what happened and check on the kitty who made the sound.
- Meowing is an interesting vocalization in that adult cats don’t actually meow at each other- only at humans!
9) To get you to play with them
A lot of times, cats will meow when they want you to pay attention to them or give them some love. If your cat meows and you immediately start petting them or playing with them, they’ve learned that their meowing gets them what they want.
10) For no apparent reason at all
If your cat meows and there’s no clear reason, it might just be that they’re bored. Maybe they want you to play with them or pet them, or they’re just looking for some attention. If your cat is meowing a lot and it’s really getting on your nerves, try giving them some extra attention and see if that helps. If not, you might want to consult a vet to see if there’s any underlying health issue causing the excessive meowing.
Though we may never know exactly why our cats meow, we can take solace in the fact that they’re trying to communicate with us. The next time your cat meows, try to listen carefully and see if you can figure out what they’re trying to say.