Although meowing is a way of communicating, it’s not the way that cats communicate with each other.
The kind of cat meow we hear has been exclusively developed for humans. Cats learn that we don’t respond to things like scent and body language. However, we do respond to sound – which is why they learn to meow in the first place.
Although it may sometimes seem like your cat keeps meowing for no reason, your cat is actually trying to tell you something – it’s just a matter of discovering what that something is.
There are many theories as to what your cat’s meowing might mean, and there will be times when you understand why, and times when you don’t.
For example, if your cat’s meowing whilst standing by their bowl, you may think that they’re asking for food. However, it may be the case that your cat does this because they know this is where you will almost certainly interact with them – this is often misconstrued as meowing for food, which in turn can lead to overfeeding.
Here are some of the more common reasons that could explain your cat meowing a lot:
1) Illness – your cat might be trying to tell you that something is physically wrong with them. However, cats can often suffer illness and discomfort in silence, so the absence of meowing doesn’t necessarily mean that they are well.
2) Attention – your cat might just want you to play with them or talk to them. Certain breeds of cat are known to be louder than others, so it’s also possible that your cat is just vocal by nature.
3) Food – your cat might want food, even if they’ve already been fed. It’s important not to feed them every time they meow, as this may encourage your cat to repeat this behaviour.
4) Stress – your cat might have had an encounter that threatened or scared them.
5) Disorientation – your cat might be confused or unsettled – this is more common in ageing cats and you might notice your cat meowing more often due to deterioration in cognitive function. If you think this may be the case, a plug-in pheromone diffuser may help to soothe your cat. Additionally, your vet can give you advice about supportive supplements.
If your cat won’t stop meowing and your attempts to soothe them haven’t worked, or if the amount of meowing your cat is doing has become more frequent and persistent, then it’s time to seek help.
Excessive meowing could be a sign that your cat is ill, in pain, or experiencing discomfort. If their excessive meowing continues for a significant period of time, we advise you to seek veterinary advice.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of illness, read our helpful article about ways to tell if your cat is sick.