My cat meows incessantly. Is there something wrong?

My cat meows incessantly. Is there something wrong?

Meowing is one of the many ways cats communicate with us. Your cat may use a short meow to say “Hello!”, multiple meows to express how excited they are to see you, or a low pitched mrrrroowwww to complain that their bowl is empty. While meows are often very useful to understand how your cat is feeling, excessive meowing can be frustrating. This article will explain:

  • Why cats meow excessively
  • What you can do if your cat is meowing excessively
  • What other pet parents are asking about cats meowing excessively

Why do cats meow excessively?

Cats will typically meow excessively for one of four reasons:

  • There is an underlying medical condition.
  • They are bored.
  • They need something (e.g. food or water).
  • They are seeking attention.

What can you do if your cat is meowing often?

To rule out the option that your cat has an underlying medical condition, talk to your vet. Assuming they’re healthy, we need to focus on the other three reasons your cat might be meowing excessively:

  • Your cat is bored: Reduce boredom by providing lots of playtime (this is key!). Your cat needs to burn energy and feel mentally stimulated! Games that help and encourage stalking and hunting are great for this. Try to schedule play time a few times each day (two to three 15 minute sessions each day), and invest in toys like wands, toy mice, ping pong balls, and of course a cardboard box. When using a wand, for example, try to keep the end out of reach throughout the session but eventually let them catch it. You don't want them to get frustrated. They need to know the reward of catching the wand will come!
  • Your cat is seeking attention: Resist the urge to give them attention, and instead wait for them to stop crying. As soon as your cat stops crying, shower them with attention. Even though it's hard to resist a meowing cat, if you're consistent, they’ll catch on and associate being quiet with getting lots of love and attention.
  • Your cat needs something (e.g. they want their water bowl or food bowl filled): Similar to the above recommendation, don't feed your cat when they’re meowing to be fed. Instead, only feed them at predetermined times each day. Keep these times consistent (e.g. breakfast at 8am each morning) so that they learn the routine and realize it's not worthwhile to cry for food at other times. While it will be hard to ignore your cat’s meows late night and early morning, not giving in will pay off long term!

Frequently asked questions about excessive meowing

Is it normal for cats to meow a lot?

Meowing is the primary vocalization cats use to communicate with humans, and they can meow excessively when they’re sick, bored, seeking attention, or want something (e.g. food, water).

Why does my cat wander around meowing?

If this behavior is new, you should talk to your vet to make sure there’s nothing medically wrong with your cat. Your cat may be in distress or suffering from a medical issue. If your vet has confirmed there’s nothing wrong with your cat, resist the urge to give them attention when they’re meowing. Instead, wait for them to stop, and then shower them with attention. If you're consistent, they’ll catch on and associate being quiet with getting lots of love and attention.

What do different meows mean?

Cats often use a short meow to say “Hello”, multiple meows to express their excitement, a low pitch meow to complain, a drawn out meow to demand something, and a high pitched meow to express anger or pain.