As a cat parent, you will be familiar with the sound of your cat meowing – and you’ve almost certainly asked yourself the question: “why is my cat meowing?”

After all, who could resist wanting to know what their feline friend is thinking as they meow plaintively early in the morning, or while weaving through your legs and whining continuously.

From ‘’Hello!’’ to "I'm hungry!", we look at the circumstances in which your cat meows or vocalizes to help you understand your resident feline a little better.

Reasons your cat may be meowing

While kittens meow to let their mother know they're cold or hungry, adult cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at people.

Your cat may be trying to communicate the following when he or she meows:

• Illness – Constant cat meowing can be a sign of illness such as kidney disease, problems urinating or other health issues. If this behaviour is something new in your cat, contact your local vet

• Attention seeking – Despite many people thinking that cats like to be left alone, cats often meow to initiate play, petting, or to get you to talk to them

• Hunger – Your cat will make sure to remind you if the cat food bowl is empty, and you may notice your cat becoming more vocal when it gets closer to feeding time

• Greeting – Some cats may greet you when you arrive home, or even when you pass them in the house

• Stress – A new pet, change in home or the loss of a loved one may cause your cat to become stressed and often more vocal. Try to find out what is causing the stress in your cat and help them adjust to the change

• Aging – Just like us, cats can suffer from mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, as they age. This may lead to your cat crying for no apparent reason. If this is the case, consult with your vet

• Wanting to breed - Cats that aren’t spayed or neutered will make a lot more noise. Females yowl when in heat, and males yowl when they smell a female in heat

Different meows mean different things

There are many different meows that cats can use varying in length, pitch and volume. Generally, the following meows have these meanings:

• Short meow - a short, high-pitched meow is a standard “Hello!”
• Multiple meows - this is an excited greeting. ‘’YAY, you’re home!’’
• Mid-pitch meow - asking you for cat food
• Drawn-out “mrrroooow” - demanding something, ‘’Open the door now!’’
• Low-pitch “MRRRooooowww” - complaint of something, “Why is my cat food bowl empty?”
• High-pitch RRRROWW! – pain or anger “That’s my tail you stepped on!”

While there are many reasons your feline resident could be meowing, you will know as a cat parent that sometimes your cat meows for no apparent reason at all.

Paying attention to the circumstances in which your cat meows or vocalizes, and the sounds he or she makes, will help you better understand your furry companion.

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