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What to do when your cat meows non-stop

Why is my cat meowing so much?

Some cats are more vocal than others but a cat that meows non-stop is trying to tell you something, so you should pat attention. 

Why is my cat meowing so much? Non-stop meowing is either a call for attention or to let you know that your cat is anxious, scared or lonely. Excessive meowing can indicate that that your cat is in pain and requires medical attention.

I rescued cats for several years and every one was different. I blame my daughter. She would spend hours combing the rescue websites and then declare which one we would take in next. Many were being fostered and so then moved onto new homes. We loved every one of them and they each had their own special meow.

Best friends
Bojangles and his partner in crime, Bonnie.

I grew up with Siamese cats, and if you’ve never owned one of these, they are spectacular at meowing. Their vocalisations are like nothing on this planet. They have even been mistaken for a crying baby.

Did you know that meowing is a behaviour that domestic cats learnt to get the attention and communicate with their owners? 

In this interesting study published in Current Biology  Karen McComb found that domestic cats make subtle use of one of their most characteristic vocalisations — purring — to solicit food from their human hosts, apparently exploiting sensory biases that humans have for providing care.

You may have a cat that meows at you only when it wants something and another that meows to greet you and show affection. Then some seem to meow in a wider range of situations. What does it mean if your cat keeps meowing or suddenly starts meowing excessively?

There could be many reasons why your cat is meowing more often than normal. There could be positive reasons related to contentment, play, and their bond with you. But, increases in meowing could also signal problems with their physical and mental health. If you are concerned, keep an eye on their feeding, toilet habits, and other behaviours. Contact a vet if you believe there is a problem.

When your cat yowls this could indicate discomfort or pain

A yowl is often a negative response so it is important to take note if your cat begins to yowl after eating, or for no obvious reason. Yowling after eating could be a sign of hunger or discomfort. If this continues, take them to the vet to see if there is a gastric issue. 

Cats with injuries and infections will yowl often too to try and get you to take care of the problem. If your cat yowls a lot and appears to be in distress, check them over and watch their habits. A change in toilet habits could be another clear indicator of a medical issue.

Common causes of excessive non-stop meowing

This excessive or increasing yowling or meowing could also come from psychological stress. If you have ever become more talkative in a stressful situation through nerves, or tried to get others to help you out of it, you can empathise.

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Cats don’t like change or new experiences. They can become stressed by trips away from home and car rides. They don’t like strange new things in their territory – like new appliances, human toys, or new pets.

A common cause of stress and anxious meowing is a house move. It takes them a long time to settle and need reassurance that you are still with them.

There are also times when cats just don’t seem to want to stop talking. If this is a recent behaviour change then there could be a medical issue. Unspayed cats in heat will meow incessantly and loudly. It can also be a sign of hyperthyroidism, problems with their senses, or senility.

Feline Cognitive dysfunction can make cats confused and concerned, causing them to call out more often. Add in any sight or hearing loss and they are more reliant on you to know where they are and to come to help them.

Learn your cat’s language and be aware of any changes in their vocalisation.

Finally, the most important reason to take better note of how your cat communicates with you is so that you can notice any changes. For example, if your cat has a habit of meowing a little after food then this could be a norm, but what if they eat and start to yowl? That is where you need to pay closer attention. They may also start meowing in certain situations where they didn’t before, such as going to bed or to the toilet. This could be a sign of changes in their environment or health concerns that require further investigation.

Why is my cat meowing at me and following me about?

This is where it starts to get annoying that there aren’t more sounds and variations in your cat’s language. All the meows can begin to sound the same. The repetition of the sound could show that they require attention. If there is no immediate reason for this, such as a desire to go outside or a problem with their food or bed, then it may be through boredom. Try teaching your cat a trick, playing a game or making them some enrichment toys to keep them both mentally and physically occupied.

Feline enrichment at mealtime
Cats like snuffle mats for enrichment

Why does my cat meow with a toy in their mouth?

This is an interesting phenomenon where cats become vocal while carrying toys around the house or playing with them. There are a few possible causes. It could be to get your attention, showing you what they found, or encouraging you to play with them. Similarly, it could be a sign of pride that your cat was able to “catch their prey”. Then there are those that bond with certain toys in a maternal fashion. They may vocalise as though communicating with their young.

Why does my cat meow at night?

If your cat is aware and wandering around in the middle of the night, they might start meowing. This could be to get your attention, as they may want access to something, and this might be clearer if they come into your room or are at your door. This could come down to loneliness. Some cats closely bonded with their owners don’t like to be apart from them for too long. The dark nights alone can be long and unpleasant. Others may just meow for no good reason, which isn’t that fun for those trying to sleep.

Why does my cat meow after eating?

Most cat owners will be familiar with the situation where their pet comes and asks for food, it is this simple communication where cats are determined to ease their hunger. Delays can lead to persistent meowing. But, you might also find that your cat meows after feeding. Our Siamese used to meow and eat at the same time, it was the strangest of noises but we assumed it was because he was enjoying his food. He did turn his nose up at cat food so was on a raw diet. This could be a sign of contentment or gratitude for getting what they wanted.  But, it is important to watch out for yowls after feeding.

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Cat meowing after food
Nothing like good food to make your meow-munch

So, why does your cat keep meowing?

Cats can be very vocal animals and use their voices for communication with each other and with us. The problem is that it can be difficult to differentiate between sounds and understand exactly why it is happening. With practice, you can pick up on tonal differences. 

A contented little meow could be a sign of gratitude, but they could use similar repeated phrases to get your attention. A harsher yowl sounds more negative, like they are in distress or pain, but this might not be the case. That is why it is important to get to know your cat’s traits and watch out for changes.