Help! My Cat Won't Stop Meowing!
What she’s trying to tell you 🗯️
So your cat is vocalizing at you constantly, but you don’t have a meow-to-English dictionary.
Nonstop meowing is a pretty common behavior problem in cats, especially since there are so many reasons your cat might want to get your attention.
So what the heck is she trying to say?
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian with Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in California, who broke down everything your cat could be trying to tell you.
Why cats meow in the first place
“Cats are the most vocal of all carnivores,” Dr. Cruz told The Dodo. “They communicate with a variety of purrs, chirps, guttural noises and meows depending on the situation.”
But when it comes to meowing specifically, that’s actually something your cat is reserving just for you.
“Kittens and adult cats only seem to meow around humans,” Dr. Cruz said. “What they are trying to communicate with their humans will also vary.”
Reasons your cat might be meowing include:
Why your cat won’t stop meowing
If the meowing is constant, your cat’s probably trying to tell you about something that’s really important to her.
Having issues with her food is a pretty common reason.
“Though given food, it may not meet their gastronomic or nutritional needs,” Dr. Cruz explained. “They may be unable to consume the food for medical, behavioral or physical access reason[s] [like] another pet [or] person in the home is impeding access.”
There’s also a chance your cat is suffering from separation anxiety.
“Separation anxiety occurs in cats as well as dogs and may manifest as increased vocalization,” Dr. Cruz said.
It could even be something as simple (and cute) as wanting attention.
In rarer cases, the meowing could also be a symptom of a medical condition, like dementia. Your cat could also have hearing issues, and might not even be able to hear herself meowing.
What to do if your cat won’t stop meowing
Since there are so many possible reasons for meowing, the first thing you have to do is figure out why your particular cat is being noisy.
“Examine changes in [her] and your lifestyle,” Dr. Cruz said. “Cats like routines and [if] it has been altered, your cat may speak out.”
If your cat isn’t vibing with a recent change, you might want to consider how you can make her feel more comfortable with it, and maybe try to implement that change more gradually (if you can).
And if the meowing is an attention-seeking tactic, you might actually be making it worse by responding, even if you’re just telling your cat to knock it off.
“If your cat is meowing to get your attention, you may be reinforcing a bad habit by giving it the attention it is seeking, even if it is negative attention,” Dr. Cruz explained. “Try ignoring the request. Redirect the cat to a particular spot and only give it attention when it is there. Establish a routine of treats and attention that fits your lifestyle and timing.”
You can also try distracting her with a toy that will take up all her attention, like a slow feeder or treat dispenser.
Also be on the lookout for signs that your cat may be having health problems, like:
- Changes in appetite or water intake
- Bowel issues
- Fluctuating weight
- Difficulty moving around
You’re going to have to really pay attention because your cat probably won’t make it obvious that she’s not in tip-top shape.
“Cats are masters at hiding their signs of illness,” Dr. Cruz said.
If you do catch your cat showing any of these signs — or even if you don’t, but you still notice she’s meowing a ton and you don’t know why — reach out to your vet.
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