Cats tend to meow mostly when they are around humans but does this mean that they only meow at humans? A cat will meow a lot towards its owner, but they also do the same to other familiar animals. For instance, a mother cat can meow at her kittens. Similarly, they can meow at other felines they’re familiar with. And that horrible screeching you hear when a couple of cats are going at it, well, technically, that’s meowing, too!
In this article, we get to learn why cats mostly meow at humans. It’s essential to understand this as you create a greater bond with your feline friend.
Why Do Cats Meow At Humans?
A cat’s meow is their way of communicating. Usually, the meow can mean lots of things, including:
A Simple Greeting
Perhaps it’s early in the morning, and you’ve just come downstairs. It’s pretty common for your cat to run to you with a loud meow. That’s their way of saying ‘good morning.’
Signaling Feeding Time
A continuous meow from your cat can mean ‘it’s time for breakfast.’ Cats learn that using the meow is the best way to communicate with their owners when hungry. A meow can also be a prompt to give them some treats.
A meow can even be a plea for help or them asking you to pick them up. But, it’s up to you as the feline parent to deduce what the meow means. If they love belly and back rubs, that can be it.
Wanting to Go Outside
If your cat is into a routine, you can assess what time it is and what they need. A meow while scratching at the door means it’s time to go outside and play. The cat may have learned that meowing while standing by the door is the best way to beg a little outing.
To Be Let Back Inside
When they’re outside and can’t get back inside, they meow at the top of their voice to get your attention.
Cat Cry for Help
A meow from an older cat can be a cry for help. They tend to lose focus and cognitive function, making them feel scared and want some immediate comfort. For kittens, it can be a cry looking for their mother or you, if you’re the primary caregiver.
Do Cats Meow at Their Kittens?
Although cats mostly meow at humans, they also meow a lot at their kittens. Try and observe a mother cat and her kittens. There will be lots of licking and meowing as they continue to bond as a family.
Moms meow to their kittens for different reasons. She can be trying to find one that’s lost or call them over to feed. Remember, kittens are blind and a little deaf when small. A mom’s meow is to help them find their way to her and some much-needed milk.
Do Cats Meow to Attract a Mate?
A female cat that isn’t spayed will at some point go into heat. This means they have to search for a male to reproduce. While searching for a mate, you notice your feline friend cries out like a meow.
However, this is more of a cry than a gentle meow and is called a mating cry. The mating cry lets the male cats in the area know she is on heat and ready to mate. The more she searches for a mate, the louder the cry becomes.
There’s nothing gentle about a mating cry, so it’s quite easy to distinguish it from a meow. Most of the mating calls will happen at night when cats tend to be more active. This characteristic is quite common in all felines, including wild bobcats, lions, etc.
Do Sick Cats Meow?
As mentioned earlier, a cat’s meow is its way of communicating with you. It can mean many things, and most of the time, it’s an energetic and audible meow. But, in other cases, it’s a way to alert you to a problem.
Maybe you come into a room and hear a small meow from the corner. Your cat is lying on the floor and can only make a little noise. That meow isn’t as vibrant as the other times. This is an indicator that your cat isn’t feeling well, or perhaps they have an injury.
The moment they see you, the low meow is continuous to say, ‘please help me.’ In such a case, it’s best to jump into action. Gently inspect your cat to see if they have any injuries, and be keen to check their temperature. Then, proceed to take them to the vet for an immediate checkup.
Any of this can accompany a slow meow from your cat. No one understands your cats as well as you do, so you can always tell when something is wrong.
Is It Possible to Help Your Cat Meow Less?
A cat’s meow is so lovely and can be a sign of affection. However, it becomes less charming if it’s constant. You want some peace, but your feline friend won’t stop crying out to you.
What do you do? Are there ways to make a cat less vocal?
First, before you follow any guides to help your cat stop the excessive meows, it’s better to get to the bottom of the matter. Why is your cat so vocal? Is there something wrong, or is it a behavior they’ve been learning?
Understanding the cause can be crucial, especially if the excessive vocalization is because your cat is ill. They may be trying to tell you something is wrong. So, perhaps start with a physical examination or take them to a vet to rule out any injury or illness.
After you’re sure the excessive meow isn’t because of injury or illness, you can try the methods below to make your cat meow less.
Make Your Cat Meow Less (5 Steps)
1. Reduce Attention and Affection until Your Cat is Silent
Excessive meows can be subtle demands to pick them up and pet them. While this is adorable at first, it can grow into a disruptive habit if your cat always meows to get attention. Therefore, the best thing is to teach your cat they only get attention and affection when quiet.
This might take some time for the both of you to change your ways, but it’s doable. Always resist the urge to pet them until they’re silent. Keep repeating this, and soon you’ll have a quieter household.
2. Cat Care
A lonely cat will tend to be clingy and meow out a lot. Perhaps they spend all day alone inside the house and want a chance to interact with others outside. One way to help them not be too lovely is to get a cat sitter.
You can hire professional cat sitters to spend a few hours a day with your feline friend. This helps your cat not be too lonely. Or you can take them to a daycare where they spend the day with other cats.
But, a daycare only works if your cat plays nice with others.
3. Different Feeding Routine
Does your cat meow bloody murder when it’s time to feed them? If that’s the case, you have to nip that behavior in the bud by stopping it. Stop feeding them each time they meow; when they keep quiet, complement them and continue adding their food.
Your cat can turn into a well-behaved feline friend after some time. But, you have to be firm. If you falter, they can go back to their old ways of loud meows demanding food.
Soon your cat will only be saying good morning, and then they sit silently waiting for their food.
4. Avoid Morning Greetings
It’s worth noting that an early morning greeting is probably always going to be there. If you wish to reduce the morning greeting meows, you can practice waking up and slipping out without your cat noticing.
5. Spay Your Cat
Some loud meows might be subtle mating calls. At first, it’s not that bad, but after some time, it’s unbearable. This is worse if your cat is always indoors and wants to go outside searching for a mate. They’ll make sure to wake you up with mating cries each night.
The best way to avoid this happening is to spay her. Take her to the vet the day you adopt her or after she’s grown and have the procedure done.
Conclusion: Cat Meows
A cat’s meow is its way of communicating with the owner. They can meow as a form of greeting, saying they need something, or a sign something is wrong with it. However, as seen, cats do not only meow at humans. They can also meow at the kittens or fellow cats for that matter.
Always try and assess the meow, especially if it’s excessive. There are ways you can help your cat be less vocal. But, only do so if you are sure the cat isn’t trying to communicate that something is wrong.
Featured Image Credit: Helen Bloom, Shutterstock