Updated: Nov 2023
Being a cat owner often involves learning how to interpret the wide array of strange noises your feline friend makes. But when your cat’s regular mews and purrs escalate into incessant meowing, it’s natural to wonder, “Why does my cat constantly meow?”
Excessive feline vocalisation, as this phenomenon is called, can be both perplexing and concerning. Let’s delve into understanding this behaviour, with a special emphasis on how anxiety can contribute to your cat’s heightened vocal communication.
Unravelling Common Reasons for Your Cat’s Constant Meowing
While Meowing, also known as feline vocalisation, is a perfectly normal and healthy habit for a cat to demonstrate, a sudden surge in vocalisation can be indicative of a multitude of factors.
Common triggers include hunger, thirst, the desire for attention, or even boredom. Often, providing engaging toys or interactive playtime can help soothe a vocal cat. Young kittens are known to meow for attention, comfort, or food from their mothers.
Breeding seasons often bring a surge in vocalisation, with female cats in heat and males responding to mating signals with increased meowing. This behavioural change can often be impacted by spaying or neutering.
In addition to these triggers, a significant change in routine or environment — such as moving house — can cause cats to express their distress vocally. Cats, contrary to their independent reputation, can be profoundly affected by stress and anxiety, leading to increased meowing.
Reasons for Persistent Cat Meowing
It is an important means of expression for your feline friend, which can let you know what they might need or how they may be feeling at any given time.
- The most common reasons for cats to meow are when they are hungry, thirsty, or perhaps bored and seeking attention from their pet parent. In the case of the latter, providing your kitty with stimulating toys or simply indulging them in some playtime may be the answer to your problems.
- Kittens will commonly meow in the same way when looking for attention, comfort or food from their mother.
- It is also a very natural occurrence for cats to show an increase in vocalisation when they are ready to breed. A female cat will meow excessively when in heat, while a male will respond similarly when they smell the female. Spaying or neutering can resolve the issue in this case.
- Breed can also be a determining factor in how much your cat meows, with certain breeds, such as Siamese, tending to be more vocal than others.
- While cats are known as fiercely independent creatures, they can be more affected than humans might realise by separation anxiety or changes to routine. Long periods spent alone or perhaps a drastic change in environment or daily pattern, such as a house move, can lead to them expressing themselves the only way they know-how.
All of these factors play a part in your cat’s regular pattern of vocalisation. But what about when their routine chatter becomes consistently more urgent and excessive?
Cat Anxiety: A Silent Contributor to Excessive Feline Vocalisation
While the reasons above explain common triggers, one often-overlooked factor contributing to excessive meowing is cat anxiety. Changes in environment, separation from the owner, or sensory stimuli can create stress, leading to an anxious response manifesting as constant meowing.
Anxiety in cats can be challenging to identify due to their independent and secretive nature. However, signs such as constant hiding, avoiding people or eating, and increased vocalisation can be indicative of underlying stress.
Management of cat anxiety involves creating a secure, soothing environment and, in some cases, utilising calming aids.
When to worry about excessive feline vocalisation
If your cat’s consistent meowing persists despite addressing basic needs and providing adequate attention, it might signal an underlying issue. Medical conditions like kidney disease, overactive thyroid, and severe pain can lead to excessive vocalisation6. Additionally, cognitive dysfunction or mental confusion in older cats can cause increased distress and vocalisation7.
In such cases, it’s essential to consult your vet immediately. Potential factors that might be at play include:
A disease or infection
Certain medical issues can cause your cat to meow far more than usual as they attempt to express their discomfort. Such issues might include extreme pain, stress or anxiety, kidney disease, overactive thyroid, or excessive hunger or thirst that points to a disease or infection.
As cats age, they may experience cognitive dysfunction or mental confusion, which can be extremely distressing for them to deal with. This can cause disorientation and lead to a cat crying out more than usual, particularly during the night.
Unbeknownst to you, your cat may be suffering from sensory issues that are triggered by daily encounters or experiences. In such cases, a particular stimulus will prompt an emotional reaction from your cat that can cause severe stress and anxiety, which can manifest itself in excessive meowing.
How To Help: Managing Excessive Feline Vocalisation
The treatment for excessive feline vocalisation will vary depending on how and why your cat is affected.
Helping With Medical Issues
If a medical condition is the cause, your vet will advise on how the problem should be treated, either through medication, surgery or other therapies. This is also the case with ageing cats, as certain drugs may be provided to alleviate their symptoms and make them more comfortable.
Helping With Sensory Issues
In the case of sensory issues, you will likely need to try out some behaviour modification techniques to help your pet through this rough patch. Such techniques, like counter conditioning and desensitisation, work by replacing a negative reaction to a particular stimulus with a positive one. It is a process that should be approached sensitively and gradually, but great results can be achieved for your cat with a lot of patience and dedication.
Integrating dietary supplements that promote a calm disposition into your pet’s regular diet can also help with this process while improving overall health. Mark + Chappell’s Serene-UM Drops Calming Solution can help reduce anxiety during stressful situations, such as behaviour modification training, giving pet owners more time to address the task at hand.
Helping With Cat Anxiety
When anxiety is a major factor, integrating calming aids into their regular regimen can also be beneficial. VETIQ Healthy Bites Serene Calming Treats for Cats are specially formulated to naturally calm your cat, with ingredients known for their soothing properties like Chamomile, Lemon Balm, and Ginger oil.
For deeper anxiety concerns, the VETIQ Serene Calming Drops provide a blend of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, helping to manage anxiety without sedation.
Never Punish Your Cat For Excessive Meowing
The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with a cat that is excessively vocalising is not to punish your pet for what might be irritating and frustrating new behaviour. By seeking professional advice and approaching the situation with a positive solution, your pet will hopefully be back to their perfect purring selves in no time.