Cats have a reputation as being aloof, but if you know what to look for, they are often trying to communicate with their human! Read on to find out about what your cat is trying to tell you when they verbalize!
Cats do not meow at other cats unless they are kittens and want their mother, so when your cat meows at you, you know that you are special! But what are they trying to say?
They’re saying hello. They could be greeting you when you get home or come out of a room to say hi. Usually, this meow is not super loud or high pitched, they sound excited to see you.
They want to be fed. Often, a cat that is meowing constantly thinks it is time for some food! They can be incredibly insistent at mealtimes or whenever someone is near their food. These meows are often repetitive and can be longer in duration.
They want your attention. Cats will meow at their owners to get their attention and affection. Just like humans, some cats crave touch, play, or other forms of attention. This meow is often repetitive until you give in! It can be a shorter meow versus a drawn out one.
They are an elderly cat. Just like humans as cats get older and can have some diminished cognitive function, they can become lost or confused more easily. In this case, your cat is probably looking for you or a comfy place to nap but can’t find it. This meow is often loud and frightened sounding.
They are looking for a mate. If your cat is not neutered or spayed, they are more likely to produce a loud drawn-out howl to attract a mate, usually it’s the females calling for males. The best solution for this is to get your cat spayed or neutered.
Chirping: Have you ever heard you cat make a chirping or trilling sound? Cats make these sounds when they are happy and to tell each other to follow them! If you cat is making this sound as they look out the window at a bird, they are having fun watching it. If they make the sound at you, they often are trying to get you to come to them or follow them.
Hissing: Hissing is a cat’s way of showing they are scared or angry. They often hiss at other cats or animals if they feel threatened. If your cat is hissing unprovoked it could be a sign that they are in pain and need to be taken to the vet especially if the behavior is new.
Written by: Helen North
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.