Cat General Health

Why Do Cats Meow? A Guide to Common Cat Noises

Why do cats meow? Good question and unfortunately, there is no straight answer. The truth is a cat can meow or make a variety of noises for different reasons and these reasons change as they transition from being a kitten to an adult cat. Cat noises can occur to communicate both positively and negatively. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons your cat may be trying to get your attention:

Why Do Cats Meow?

So, why do cats meow? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A crying cat can mean that they’re both happy and sad depending on their environment and needs. Here are some common reasons your cat may be meowing at you:


While cats are independent creatures, they actually get used to the company. And, if you’re not giving them any, it could be that they start meowing at you for attention. If your cat is meowing at you for no apparent reason, it may be time to play with them or give them a good scratch. 


Excessive vocalisation can also be a sign of sickness. If you’ve tried everything and your crying kitten is still asking for attention, consider taking them to the vet. This is especially true if they’re showing other symptoms of illness, for example, lack of hunger or thirst, diarrhoea, and vomiting, to name a few. 


Cat moaning typically happens when it gets close to their mealtime. That said, your cat may also cry every time you go in the kitchen in the hope to get a bite of whatever you’re having, especially if you often feed them human food. 


If your kitty is used to having you around and you suddenly start leaving them for hours at a time, they may find the change in routine a little lonely. If they meow out of loneliness, consider getting them some foraging toys with food inside so they are kept busy while you’re out. 


It’s common for house cats to dislike a change in their routine. This causes stress and can make them more vocal. The arrival of a new baby, a big move, or even a loss in the family could make your cat cry out due to increased stress


Cats are similar to humans in the sense that they can also suffer from mental confusion when they get older. If you have an old cat that won’t stop meowing, it could be that they have a form of cognitive dysfunction and feel disorientated. Your vet may be able to prescribe medication that helps them with some of the stressful symptoms they’re experiencing.

Understanding the Different Meows

Not all meows sound the same. And, different meows can often mean different things. Here are some popular beliefs among cat experts:

  • Short meow – This often means “hello!” in cat language
  • Numerous meows – This is commonly out of excitement, e.g. when you get home
  • Multiple mid-pitch meows – Your cat is most likely hungry
  • Drawn out meows – They’re demanding something from you (or begging for food)
  • Low pitch meows – This could be them filing a complaint about something
  • High pitch meows – they’re either in pain or angry at you

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