Remember those old cartoons where the cats are lined up on the fence at night, meowing at the moon? If so, you probably recall what happens right after: A man’s voice can be heard telling the cats to shut up, followed by a shoe being thrown at the row of cats. While tossing a shoe at your own loud cat isn’t the best reaction, you are probably wondering by now, “Why is my cat yowling?”
And if so, you are probably also wondering how you can stop them from continuing to yowl.
Cats are quirky. They’re funny. They do weird things. That’s why we love them. But sometimes they can be hard to understand. It’s hard to pinpoint why a cat suddenly starts to frequently meow. While cats will always be a bit of a mystery, there are definitely reasons for sudden yowling. And even better, there are most definitely ways to make your cat yowl a bit less.
Is It Normal for My Cat to Yowl?
This is actually a question only you — the cat owner — can answer! All cats are individuals with their own personalities, likes, dislikes, and meowing habits. Some cats love to meow for what seems like no reason. Maybe they just like to hear themselves, like some people you might know. But other cats are very, very quiet. You’re surprised if you even hear them mew or chirp.
There are some cat breeds that are known for being more vocal as well. While even cat breeds have variations within them, the general consensus is that Siamese, Oriental Shorthair, Burmemes, Russian Blue, and Sphynx cats are very talkative kitties. This may be due to these cat breeds’ tendencies to be more social — even clingy. These intelligent cats love being a part of everything you do. So what better way to get your attention and affection than meowing?
If your cat has always been talkative since they were a kitten, that’s probably just normal for them and nothing to worry about. Of course, excessive meowing can still be frustrating for owners, even if it isn’t a sign of anything concerning for your cat. Luckily there are some ways to make their meowing a bit less frequent. But knowing most cats, they will still meow if they really feel like it!
Normal vs. Excessive Yowling in Cats
Normal meowing is whatever amount of meowing you’re used to hearing from your kitty. Cats will meow when their food bowl is empty or when they see you head into the kitchen. They’ll meow before they jump onto the bed to cuddle with you. They will meow when they want to go outside. You’ll often hear your cat meowing at night as well, most likely while playing or while standing outside your door.
Excessive yowling is when your cat is meowing more than usual. Maybe their meows have not only become more frequent, but louder and longer. It almost seems like they’re crying out in agony. Maybe they won’t stop excessively meowing until you get out of bed in the morning. If you start noticing more meowing or louder meowing, there may be something going on with your cat — and you definitely shouldn’t ignore it!
Why Do Cats Yowl?
Your cat is zipping up and down the hall, meowing very loudly while you’re trying to sleep. Your cat obsessively meows when anyone is in the kitchen, hoping it will lead to more food or treats. Or maybe your cat starts howling in the early morning, hoping to be your new alarm clock.
Why are they meowing? And why so loudly?
To Get Your Attention
Cats don’t meow at other cats — they communicate through body language, scent, and touch. Over time, cats have come to realize that humans aren’t so quick to pick up on those cues. To better communicate with humans, cats started meowing at us. Yes, you read that right: Cats only meow for our benefit!
Cats will start meowing more frequently when they are trying to get our attention, whether it’s to play, feed them, pet them, or do another task for them, like opening doors. Cats will also meow to greet us when we come home. Your cat might also meow excessively in the morning in hopes of waking you up.
You’ll probably notice more frequent meowing if your cat has been left alone or ignored for a long period of time.
Yowling Late at Night
Cats are less active during the day. They actually sleep about 15 hours a day, meaning most of their activity is done at night. Since they are more energetic at night, they may meow more frequently than they do during the day. This may be to get your attention, hoping you’ll get up to play with them or feed them. They might just be a bit bored.
To Find a Mate
Yowling is a big part of courtship for cats. Intact male cats who haven’t been fixed may yowl to get the attention of female cats. Female cats will also yowl to let nearby male cats know they are open to mating. Female cats go into heat multiple times a year starting as young as four months old. The yowling from a female cat in heat is meant to be attention-grabbing — but it can drive humans insane.
Intense or Sudden Pain
Although felines are notorious for concealing pain, they can’t always hide it. Intense or sudden pain can cause a cat to vocalize its feelings. This type of yowling can be loud and it could be an indication of a serious injury.
Loud, frequent meowing becomes more common as cats age. This is especially true at night. If their vision and hearing becomes impaired, it can be harder for older cats to maneuver around at night. This can be disorienting for them and they may express their anxiety and frustration with excessive meowing. Your older cat may also have cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), a form of dementia in felines. Older cats can also suffer from diseases, some of which leave them in pain or discomfort.
Anxiety & Change
Cats don’t like change. They become attached to places and routines, meaning a move or new pet can leave them quite upset. If they feel anxious or confused, your cat may start to meow more frequently.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Yowling?
While some cats just naturally meow a lot, it can be concerning when your cat suddenly becomes more vocal. And it could be any of the reasons mentioned above. The first thing to do is to ensure that your cat is fixed. Not only does this prevent unwanted kittens, but it’s great for your cat’s health. Spaying or neutering your cat will prevent many diseases and illnesses. It will also stop them from excessively yowling for a mate every few months.
When To Give Attention
You can also try giving your cat more attention — just not when they meow. Interact with your cat a bit more if you suspect they are lonely. This can be in the form of playing or just petting them while you’re hanging out on the couch together. If you’re not opposed to it, you can also allow your cat to be in your bedroom at night. You will probably notice a lot less meowing when your cat feels they are getting the attention they crave.
Don’t Give In To Yowling
But, like we just noted, don’t pet them when they meow. This will encourage that behavior since your cat will realize that obnoxious meowing leads to pets and treats. If you have a cat that meows excessively in the morning try your hardest not to give in. Simply turn away and continue to sleep, even if it’s just you scrolling through social media feeds or listening to a podcast. The important thing is to not get up and not feed them. Your cat will start to learn after a few weeks that yowling at you to wake up won’t get them what they want.
It’s also important to not feed your cat every time they beg for food, no matter how adorable or annoying you find their behavior. Start feeding your cat at the exact same time every day, even using an automatic feeder. Overfeeding a cat can lead to obesity. It can also encourage them to keep meowing once they find out it’s the magic button that provides them with more food.
Set A Routine
If you recently moved or added an extra cat to the home, you can make your cat feel more comfortable and confident (which leads to less meowing) by giving them a sense of routine. Feed them at the same time every day, play with them at the same time, and train them with treats around the same time. When it comes to creating a routine, try playing with your cat right before bedtime. This may tire them out a bit, making them less apt to waste energy yowling for hours into the night.
You should also provide your cat with some high up perches, whether it be a cat tree or cat shelves. This will give them their own territory within the house and they’ll also feel more secure when they can watch their family’s activity from above them.
If your cat is older, try putting night lights around the house. This could help them see a bit better in the dark if they are having eye issues. This will ensure that your elderly kitty isn’t as disoriented, which can help cut back on their meowing habits.
Check For Injuries
Felines are not impervious to injury. Your pet might be yelling due to intense pain or a recent injury. If you believe this is the case you can perform a physical inspection. Check your cat’s legs by gently adjusting the joints and if it vocalizes pain it probably hurt a limb. You can also check for cuts, abrasions, or sensitive areas on the body and head to see if there are any injuries.
When Should I Go To The Vet [For My Cat Yowling]?
Yowling can be a sign of bigger problems. Cats are known for expertly hiding discomfort from their owners, but a cat experiencing immense pain may start meowing in response. If you suspect that your cat may be in pain or has symptoms of a disease or illness, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Older cats that frequently meow should also be brought to the vet. A veterinarian can check their hearing and vision, as well as any other underlying illness. They can also see if your cat has CDS, which leads to disorientation, soiling, disinterest in food, memory loss, and pacing.
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Cats may excessively meow for a variety of reasons, whether it’s for attention or because they’re experiencing pain. While there are definitely ways to lessen a cat’s yowling, you most definitely do not want to punish them for it. Your cat won’t understand that you are annoyed or lashing out in response to their meows and could become anxious or fearful. This may only lead to more meows since they are afraid and confused. Instead, address the possible reason for their meowing, making sure your cat is happy, loved, and healthy.
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Written by Olivia Richman at www.holistapet.com