A meowing cat can be cute, after all, they do reserve their meows just for humans, but after a while, you might start to wonder what does my cat’s meowing mean?
Are they trying to tell me that they are sick, they want food, they want to go out, they are annoyed with me or they just want me to pay them some attention?
We’ve talked before about why cats meow, so in this article, we are going to look at what your cat’s meowing means so that you can start to better understand what they want from you.
Cats Meowing At Each Other
You might not have noticed but cats do not meow at each other. They hiss and make other similar noises, but they only meow at humans.
A kitten will meow at its mum for food, or if they need some comfort or love, but once they are older they reserve their meows solely for chatting to their human family.
You should feel very honoured that your cat uses their meow to communicate with you to try and let you know what they want.
Cats Meowing For Food
When a cat meows for food it is often their loudest and most aggressive meow that they have. They can sound like they are shouting at you and demanding their dinner.
If you respond by feeding your cat when they do this then you will find it hard to break that cycle of meowing (screaming at you!) for food and then you feeding them on demand.
Instead, try to create a routine that your cat only gets fed when they are relaxed and quiet. It’s possible to train a cat with treats to behave in a certain way – just keep rewarding them when they exhibit the desired behaviour. They are very quick learners and you will quickly be able to make dinner time a more pleasant experience.
Cats Meowing When They Are Angry
Your cat might be angry for lots of reasons which causes their meow to be a lot louder and appear like they are shouting or screaming at you.
My own cat ‘Smug’ does this when he is hungry or wants to come in or go out. When he wants to do either of those things his meow is one of urgency.
Your cat might be doing it because they want your attention, they want to play or they are annoyed by something.
Cats Meowing At Night
All cats are different but I know from my own experience that my cat will happily nap on the sofa at night until he wakes up at 3 am and wants to go out, be fed, play, wake me up – who really knows what he wants.
Cats by nature like to go hunting so when their instincts kick in at night when we would much prefer to be sleeping, get ready for them to try and wake you up. It usually starts with a gentle nudge, a soft purr and then into a full blown loud meowing session.
If you get up and respond to your cats meowing then be prepared to do this every day.
Cats Meowing At Birds
If you have ever seen your cat catch a bird then you might have heard them making different noises during the process. There are different theories behind why they do this. It could be that your cat is either excited by the prospect of catching a bird and their meows are a sign of them being happy or that they are frustrated because they have not yet been able to catch a bird and so are meowing out of frustration.
The other theory is that the meows are all part of luring the bird closer to them by mimicking the sound of another bird. This one is probably harder to imagine, as to me a meow doesn’t really sound like a bird! But it could sound different to a bird and does, in fact, lure them towards to the cat.
How To Stop Your Cat From Meowing
As with any training, it’s important to be consistent. If your cat thinks you will give in to their demands when they meow then they will continue to do it.
If it doesn’t bother you then that’s great, but if you want to stop the night time meowing or the meowing for food then you need to get tough and not reward their behaviour.
Sticking to a schedule of feeding can help. This way they have a routine of when they are being fed rather than being fed when they demand food.
Also, not getting up when they meow at night to go out. Establish a night time routine and let them out earlier in the evening or get them a litter tray to use. You may prefer a cat flap so your cat has access to outside at night.
Should You Worry About Your Cats Meowing?
Most of the time there is nothing to worry about a cat meowing. It’s their way of talking to you and letting you know how they are feeling or telling you that they want something.
If your cats meowing changes though or their pattern or meowing changes then it is always best to get a second opinion from your vet.
Your vet will be able to check to make sure there are no underlying medical issues that you need to be concerned with.