Cat Training

Cat Meowing & What It Means

Cat Meowing (and what it means)

Cats do most of their meowing when they want something but they do occasionally meow to say hello. (Mine usually meows 'hello' when I arrive home from work. Although if I'm late is generally more of a 'Where the hell have you been I'm starving' than a friendly greeting!)

It is estimated that cats have roughly 100 vocal sounds and that they reserve all of them for communication with their owners. (They very rarely meow at other cats.) It can take a while but, if you listen to the different types of meow, you'll begin to pick up on what each one means (much like the different cries of a baby). As I mentioned before, they usually meow when they want something and the most common reasons for meowing is to say:

  • I'm Hungry
  • I want to go out
  • I want to come in
  • I want some attention
  • Help!

Each of these meows will be different and some are easier to understand than others. The 'I'm hungry' meow is usually easy to work out as cats a pretty good at standing by their empty food bowl or the cupboard their food is kept in when they make this noise.

All of the sounds need to be evaluated alongside your cat's body language and facial expression. Over time, as you get familiar with your kitty, you'll be able to recognise what each meow means. If all else fails, just ask them what they want.

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Constant Meowing

Some cat species meow a lot more than others (e.g. Siamese), but all do it to get your attention. And while most just do it when they want something in particular, some cats just meow constantly and for no apparent reason. This can be a major problem, especially if it occurs at night or early in the morning when you're trying to sleep.

Stopping Constant Meowing

Firstly, make sure that your cat isn't meowing due to an illness or medical problem. Cats do meow to communicate, not just to demand things, so illness should be ruled out first of all.

However, most cats who constantly meow are doing so because they're trying to tell you something. Please bear in mind that your cat doesn't meow just to annoy you and the quicker you can figure out the reasons for the noise, the quicker it will stop. Here a few a few things you can try:

  • Feed on a regular basis. Try and feeding your cat at set times/regular intervals so they can anticipate when they're next going to eat. You can also try leaving down the dry cat food/biscuits so that your cat can nibble whenever they get hungry. However, if you cat has a tendency to over-eat, this may not be wise.
  • Install a cat flap. Most cats can never make up their minds if they want to be in or outside. My cat is in heaven during the summer when I can leave the back door open and he can wander in and out at much as he pleases. If your cat is always in and out, a cat flap is a great option. They're fairly cheap and easy to install and you buy ones which have magnets on them so only YOUR cat can get in. Check out the 'Other Resources' section of our online shop for some examples.
  • Play. Some cats meow a lot because they want some attention and affection. Stroke and play with your cat often to keep them from feeling lonely or neglected.
  • Discipline. Don't let your cat drive you round the bend with excessive meowing - take charge. You can either ignore them which will eventually make them stop if you don't give in (very hard to do!) or you can try the old favourites of a squirt with a water spray or a firm 'NO' and a clap of the hands. Eventually your kitty will realise that constant meowing will get them nowhere. Please ensure you remember to praise your cat and give extra attention to them when they're not meowing.