What Does It Mean When a Cat Meows a Lot?

Written by nora zavalczki
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What Does It Mean When a Cat Meows a Lot?
Kittens miaow to other cats and humans, while adult cats only miaow to humans. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Felines use different sounds such as meowing, purring or hissing to express various emotions or when performing certain activities such as hunting. Meowing is a means of communication for your pet. However, if the meowing pattern of your pet changes abruptly, you should look into the potential causes, as your cat may be affected by an illness or stress.

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Attention-Seeking Meowing

Often, cats miaow to grab your attention. The pitch of the sound may vary and the more time you spend with your cat, the better you'll get at interpreting the miaow. The cat's body language may also help you identify whether your cat wants to eat, play or go outside. Make time to play with your cat, but don't respond immediately, so that your cat knows you are the boss and it cannot control your reactions by meowing. Ignoring your cat may make the meowing more persistent. In some cases, the cat is ill and the meowing signals that it is in pain. Take your pet to see a veterinarian if the meowing persists even after you eliminate all possible reasons it wants your attention.

Fear or Stress

Low-pitched meowing can mean that your cat is afraid of something or it is agitated. The meowing may be accompanied by hissing and growling. Identify the stimulus causing this reaction, and if possible, remove it so the cat can't see it. Desensitise your cat if the trigger cannot be removed, for example if it is startled by fireworks. Felines are extremely sensitive to change, so the meowing may be due to stress. Stress can be caused by recent changes, the loss of a companion or a family member or even changing the litter brand. Allow your pet to adapt to changes, but if it requires extended periods of time, talk to your veterinarian about a medical treatment.


Felines, especially older ones, may be signalling disorientation when they miaow. Older cats may be affected by cognitive dysfunction and are vocal when they don't recognise their environment or are found in a new situation. If your pet is older, take it to the vet to find the reason it is meowing incessantly. The cat may have a medical problem or suffer from mental confusion, which is similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Yowling in Mating Season

Yowling is a sound cats make during mating season. The female cat signals that she is in heat and available to mate, while the male responds. The sound may be mistaken for meowing, because it is similar, but more drawn out. Another difference between yowling and meowing is that yowling is used between cats, while adult cats typically only miaow to humans. Neuter your cat if you don't wish to breed it; this will put an end to the yowling and make your cat calmer.

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