Cats love to meow and "talk" to their owners, but sometimes it can get a little out of hand, even for the cutest fur babies. When your cat is meowing frequently and can't seem to stop, you may find yourself asking: "Why does my cat meow a lot?" Excessive meowing can have many causes, including boredom, wanting to talk with you, feeling hungry, or being stressed or sick. The key is learning to translate your cat's meows.

Cats may meow to ask for food or make other requests.

Greeting and Talking to You

Your cat may be meowing a lot simply because he loves you and wants to talk to you. You may get happy meows when you get home and persistent meows when he wants a little attention.

Meows are a form of communication.1 Cats tend to meow more to humans than they do to each other. This could be, at least in part, because they've learned that humans respond more to vocalizing than to cat body language.

Your cat may meow, purr, and make cute "trills" when she's content and happy. Often, short meows are a form of "hello," while multiple meows can show excitement.2 A mid-pitched meow may be a request, such as asking to go outside. A lower pitched meow could be a complaint. But each cat is different. Listen closely to the cadence and pitch of your cat's meows. Over time, you may learn to "translate" some of your cat's meows based on duration, tone, and timing.

Stress or Illness

Cats may meow more if they're stressed or sick.3 Unexpected changes can cause stress, like moving, losing a loved one, or bringing a new pet or a baby into the home. Sometimes even a new set of furniture can cause meowing. If your cat is particularly stressed, try using a calming diffuser, which can help reduce the stress that can cause negative behaviors in cats.

Illness may also cause excessive meowing. A cat who's feeling pain or thirst might meow in an attempt to communicate the stress. An older cat who can't see as well or has new age-related health issues might also be more vocal. Your cat might even meow just because he's cold and wants in your lap.

But remember: cats don't always become vocal if they're sick. Some sick cats may be quieter, sluggish, or even stop eating. The best clue that your cat may be sick is any big change in personality, such as vocalizing more frequently or becoming less active and social. If you're at all concerned, you might want to visit your veterinarian.

Boredom or Extra Energy

Cats with too much time on their hands may excessively meow because they're bored and have a lot of pent up energy they need to use. For indoor cats, providing cat trees and condosscratcherswindow perchesinteractive toys, and lots of play time can help curb this.

Mating Calls

A female cat that isn't spayed or a male cat that isn't neutered may meow excessively, day and night. Their meows may be more drawn out and sound like "yowls." This is because they're looking for a mate and can't really resist those hormonal urges. Spaying or neutering your cat can stop the yowling.

Meowing at Night

Why do cats sometimes meow at night more than during the day? Cats tend to be more active at dawn and dusk when they naturally want to hunt, so they may meow more at night. If you play with your cat a lot at night right before bed, ending play time with some food, this might help curb those nighttime meows. Closing the shades so he doesn't see animals in your yard at night might also help.

If you frequently respond to nighttime meows, your cat may just meow more. Try ignoring those 3 a.m. yowls or giving a short "hiss" noise in response. Sometimes that's all it takes to let your cat know, in her language, that the noise isn't wanted.

Wanting Food

Cats may meow when they're hungry. If your cat always gets extra food when he meows, then he may start meowing excessively when his tummy rumbles even a little.

How to Help Your Cat Meow Less

Some cat parents encourage only the kind of meows they want, such as responding to welcoming meows. In contrast, they don't give food in response to meows or answer late night yowls.

If you help your cat ease boredom with scratchers and interactive toys, play with him a lot, and feed him at night before bed, you might see a decrease in meows over time.

Excessive meowing can mean all sorts of things, from feeling stressed or sick to trying to communicate with you. If you pay close attention, you can often determine what those meows mean.

  1. ASPCA. "Meowing and Yowling." APCA.org, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/meowing-and-yowling.
  2. Pierce, Jessica. "Why Do Cats Meow at Humans?" Psychology Today, 5 September 2018, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201809/why-do-cats-meow-humans.
  3. Pets WebMD. "Cats and Excessive Meowing." Pets.WebMD.com, https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cats-excessive-meowing#1.