Excessive meowing in cats: what does it mean?

Excessive meowing in cats: what does it mean?

For cats, meowing is simply a form of communication. Although some breeds are more vocal than others, it is an ordinary trait and usually isn’t a cause for concern. However, if you notice that your cat is doing lots of meowing, it can be an indication of an underlying problem and should be looked into.

When cats meow too much, also known as ‘excessive vocalisation,’ it’s usually behavioural instinct but could also be a sign of physical discomfort. In order to manage it, it’s important to first establish the cause of the change in behaviour. Argos Pet Insurance explains:

Health issues

When cats do lots of purring and whining, it can sometimes be an indication of a health or medical problem. It’s important to eliminate this possibility first, so booking an appointment with your vet should therefore be your first port of call. Your veterinarian will be able to do a full examination of your cat and establish whether there’s something physically wrong.

Old age

If your cat is old, excessive meowing could be an indication of cognitive dysfunction – also known as feline dementia. Like humans, cats can also show signs of old age by becoming increasingly vocal – particularly at night – and this may be accompanied by disorientation, peculiar sleeping patterns or a decline in friendliness. Dementia in cats can’t be prevented but early detection is important to help stifle decline.

Attention grabbing

As in most cases, your cat could be meowing to grab your attention. If it becomes a regular occurrence during the night, it’s best not to reward the bad behaviour. As cute as it may be, you shouldn’t fuss over your cat when it’s behaving badly. By the same token, make sure you reward good behaviour and save feeding and play times for calmer periods.

If you keep track of when your cat’s being peculiarly noisy, it can make it easier to manage.

If your cat is being loud during the day, try to divert its attention by providing toys for it to play with. Leaving time for playing during the day is also a good way to prevent nocturnal activity if your cat’s meowing is keeping you up at night. Your cat should be playing for at least 15 minutes each day to prevent it from getting bored.

New surroundings

Excessive meowing can also be a sign of stress or anxiety, particularly if you’ve recently moved house or had a new baby. New surroundings or circumstances can take some time for cats to adjust to. Familiarity is key here, so try and make new surroundings as recognisable as possible.


If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, it will become noisier when mating. Male cats will meow when they smell a female cat nearby – especially at night time – and female cats will become loud when they’re on heat. This vocalisation can sometimes sound like your cat is in pain or distressed, but this is normal cat behaviour and shouldn’t be of concern.

It’s crucial to insure your cat with Argos Pet Insurance. We’re here for them throughout their learning and development, helping to make sure they get any treatment they need to keep them happy and healthy. You can find lots of handy advice at www.argospetinsurance.co.uk.

Article was kindly provided to us by Argos Pet Insurance

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20 thoughts on “Excessive meowing in cats: what does it mean?

  1. Tigger Haywood says:

    Seems sensible enough, but they forgot the obvious: some of us are very musical and just like to sing!

  2. Pingback: Excessive meowing in cats: what does it mean? — Katzenworld – ITH & SB

  3. Laura (PA Pict) says:

    I have one cat who meows relentlessly and loudly to request that I clean his litter tray. This would not be a problem and certainly would not be unreasonable if not for the fact that the same cat is an absolute neat freak and one single pee or poo is enough to set him off. Often I scoop right away, as per his request, but sometimes I am in the middle of cooking or a phone call and he has to wait. He just gets louder and louder until I submit.

  4. The Canadian Cats says:

    Yes, very good article. I have noticed that Shoko and Kali will chatter at me if something is upsetting their world. Such as pooh that is in kitty litter, no dry food or the water is low. Also if it’s time for bed or time to get up. They are Siamese so not afraid to chatter.


  5. Lauren says:

    Hi Marc,
    You may recall that Effie was on the yowl prowl because she was in heat even though she was spayed. She had Ovarian Remnant Syndrome, and required surgery to remove excess ovarian tissue–enough to put her in heat but not sufficient to reproduce.

    This is one example of how imperative it is to get an unusually whiny cat to the vet. I had never heard before of ORS. Effie was spayed and no other cats had access to her, and yet she was in heat!

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