8 Common reasons your cat is meowing at you

A Cat begins meowing at you for several reasons. hunger, boredom even pain. Being vocal is a form of communication. Sometimes it is cute however in the middle of the night it can become a problem. Knowing the why behind the meow can be useful.

From birth, kittens can make a noise or a “cry” similar to a meow. Kittens depend on their mother for their immediate survival. They cry or meow to express their needs. A kitten cries when they are hungry, thirsty, cold, scared, or lost. If you have ever heard a lost kitten, you know it one of the most effective ways to let mama cats know where they are hiding.

As kittens get older and don’t need their mother as much, their vocalization changes. As they become more independent, the need to cry for their mother cat dwindles.

Enter their human pet parents.

Dare I admit, as a new kitten owner, we take on the role of a mama cat and baby our furry ones. We become responsible to feed nurture and care for our new family members. We speak to them often they also often hear television or radio. When they meow we respond. They notice how we talk to each other. In the wild a feral cat vocalized less often just to warn others.

about us pizza the wondercat
Pizza the Wonder Cat circa. 2010 approx. 2 months old

Common Reasons for being Vocal

How often do you chat with your cat? I personally talk to Pizza the wonder cat all the time. Studies have shown cats mainly meow to humans, not to each other. In addition to imprinting and purring, over time we have taught cats that vocalizing is a great way to communicate with us. (Who has trained who?)

What is my feline buddy trying to say?

Hunger or thirsty

I often get reminded that it is breakfast time ( or dinner time….or snack time ). I get a meow to remind me that my guy is hungry. There is a quick meow and a happy insistent chirps as I open the wet food can. ( occasionally he will even offer a little paw for help… I’d be in trouble if Pizza had opposable thumbs). Undoubtedly though, if he meows enough he will get fed, or get a treat. ( Yes, I have spoiled him)

To make it known they want out

We live in a “blended household” which means we spend a lot of time in our space. There is a beautiful dog at home BUT given our unique circumstances, time with the cat and dog needs to be supervised. Occasionally my cat will meow at the door to be let out of the room. Sometimes I think it is because he is talking to the dog.

Hello, I missed you

Pizza is very quick to show that he missed me. Often he can hear me come in the front door and begin calling to me. This has been a lifelong habit of his, one he had done throughout all the different places we have lived.

Does my cat love me?

Fear or Pain

I don’t hear this type of meow from my guy very often. However, lately, if the dog does bark unexpectedly at him and scares him, he does let out a different meow than normal. It’s louder and with more “cattitude”. In our case, it is not usually accompanied by any other signs of fear (raised hackled or claws drawn) so I just make sure the dog and cat are monitored when together in a room. It is a warning to “watch out you are scaring me.”


Some breeds are just more vocal than others. Bengals, Siamese are known for their propensity to be more vocal.

Sometimes products like Feliway can be useful. It is plug-in diffuser that mimics the pheromones, promoting a feeling of calm.

Worrisome reasons the cat is meowing at you


Is your cat suddenly meowing more than usual? It is possible they are extra thirsty because of disease. Thyroid or kidney disease can result in excess thirst. If you are concerned it is best to get your kitty to a veterinarian to rule out an issue.

At times medications or supplements like CBD can oil cause dry mouth. Be aware and make sure your cat has enough water available.


It is quite common for older cats to begin more frequent meowing as they age. Cognitive function lessens and old cats become more vocal because of it. They may forget what they want and verbalize their confusion. Perhaps it is equivalent to walking into a room and forgetting why you went.

Sometimes if your kitty is starting to lose their hearing they may yowl more than normal.

Desire to mate

An unaltered male or female cat also meows or more likely yowl, when the urge to mate hits. I have heard the long loud, meow from feral cats outside. It is an undeniable sound, designed to attract a suitable mate. An altered cat generally doesn’t do this.


As you can see, cats are pretty smart. We have taught them the fine art of communicating to get their desires known. I think that is pretty clever. Cats definitely have a lot of things on their mind and are not shy about letting us know about it. It is fun and informative to pay attention to the ways your little buddy is trying to communicate with you.

Can a Cat get Down syndrome?

The simple answer is no. Although there are genetic disorders that can mimic the appearance like Cerebellar hypoplasia (causes in utero by either severe malnourishment, a toxoplasmosis infection, or most commonly Feline panleukopenia.) In pets conditions that look like down syndrome or other retardation affects pets physically not developmentally as we think of down syndrome as humans.

What is Down Syndrome?

First of all, what is down syndrome? Simply put it is a genetic abnormality. In humans, it is defined by having extra or partial makeup of chromosome 21. A Cat has fewer chromosomes than we do, to begin with, so technically by definition, they can’t have down syndrome. Cats only have 19 chromosome pairs. However, they can have abnormalities that resemble the affliction.

Abnormalities in cats

However, cats can have genetic abnormalities that make them appear to have retardation or a “delaying or slowing the progress or development”.

Malformed faces

Eyes noticeably far apart

Small or misshaped ears

Small or misshapen head

Unusually flattened noses

Lack of coordination

Poor Muscle tone

Other less noticeable physical issues include lack of hearing, poor eyesight, or heart problems.

All of these issues are a result of genetics and form in utero. It is crucial if your cat is pregnant that her health is monitored for her and the health of her kittens. Many diseases causing these issues are preventable. For instance, Feline panleukopenia in cats is a common disease that can cause genetic abnormalities in kittens. It is both, highly contagious among felines, AND also preventable by vaccination.

Another culprit that can affect the development of kittens is exposure to toxic chemicals. Often a pregnant cat experiencing malnutrition can also cause developmental issues in kittens. Genetic issues are also evident in bad breeding practices.

If you suspect your cat or kitten has a genetic disease, it is best to get them checked out by a veterinarian. It is not always evident at first, however as your kitten matures sometimes issues become more clear your pet has special needs.

What can I do if my cat is special needs?

Most of the time, pets that show signs similar to down syndrome or other genetic issues can learn to adjust. It is amazing how cats and dogs can overcome disabilities. Just because a cat suffers from physical abnormalities doesn’t mean they can’t live a normal fun-filled active life.

Some issues do cause poor muscle tone or a predisposition to seizures, or other balance or coordination problems in cats. However, these are not contagious to other pets and with extra care can be managed.

Meet Monty from Denmark

Can CDB be helpful to cats?

Like all cats and pets, a high-quality diet, and spending time together, help foster happy healthy cats. If there are balance, sight, or hearing issues, it may be necessary to have a safe place for your furry one to play where she can’t get hurt. Regular veterinary visits are important also. Although your furry one, can live a healthy life, sometimes genetic conditions may require more visits to the veterinarian. Fortunately, like for us humans, there is pet insurance. Many offer comprehensive coverages for both genetic conditions and aging pets.

Looking for pet insurance ? here is 10 best pet insurance companies

Can you read your cats body language What is he trying to tell you ?

Although a cat can not have down syndrome, it can have special needs that require dedicated pet parents. But there is no reason an animal with disabilities can’t live a long happy.

selective focus photography of woman wearing purple sweater holding silver tabby cat

How to know if your cat loves you

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There are many subtle ways cats communicate their love and trust in you. Does your furry friend like to sleep near or on you? Most of the time this cat of mine is my shadow. So if your feline is always by your side it is safe to assume he loves you. Does your cat cry for you or chirp? Cats develop a language to “talk” to only humans, they use other body languages to talk to each other. My cat Pizza also winks at me , a lot. It nice to have someone flirt with me, but after some research, I learned that he is really just telling me that he trusts me with his eyes. Cats give off pheromones and rub areas they consider their “territory” So yes, that head bump and leg rubbing is their way of marking you and saying “You are mine”

I have had cats in my life for most of my adult life. A cat definitely has their own way of showing that they love you. By nature cats are territorial but not pack animals. There is a hierarchy among groups of feral cats, but mostly they are known for their independent nature. Cats also each have their own personality. Some are more affectionate than others but there are always telltale signs that your cat does love you.

CatWise : Americans favorite Cat expert answers your Cat behavior Questions

Do cats choose their owners

Given the option, we think so. There have been experiments behaviorists have theorized that the person’s voice, demeanor, or the way the person interacts with the cat is what entices the cat to choose them to be their owner. Cats don’t always choose the human that loves them back, at first. They can be discriminating and picky. We don’t really understand how they decide, but it is clear they have an opinion. Cats can read people and their emotions similar to a dog. Are cats or kittens just really good at reading people? Many feral cats survive just fine without a human. I have also have known families whose cats decided to find a new family and just leave. I have also had friends who were adopted by a neighborhood cat. Never fear though, once you have been chosen as the pick of their litter, you will be loved forever.

In a full household, with other pets and children, sometimes it is surprising who they choose. Years ago when my kids were little we adopted a kitten. My daughter was about 6yo. and a huge animal lover. Little girls love kittens, and this little kitten bonded with her almost immediately. He slept on her bed and would come when she called from just about anywhere in the house or yard. There were four other people at home including two dogs to choose from yet, she undeniably became his person. A little human clearly isn’t the best choice if the kitten was looking for security, food, and shelter, but they formed a tight bond. I guess that could prove cats don’t just “love” or bond with a “caretaker”. They make their choice based on other reasons.

“The scientists found some correlations between human personality and the behaviors of the cats—such as that cats with humans classified as “extroverted” or “conscientious” exhibited more complex patters of behaviors—and concluded that “it seems that an important area of negotiation between the owner and the cat is mutual attention and friendly tactile interactions” and that the patterns in the relationships between the cats and humans resemble other long-term and complex relationships, “such as those between humans.”

Smithsonian magazine Feb 2011

Signs your cat has bonded with you

Body language can tell you a lot.

  • Greeting you with a high head and tall happy tail
  • Purring when you are around
  • Grooming you. Yes, some cats try to offer a spa treatment cleaning your hair. You are family.
  • Gentle biting or nipping 
  • Are you continually getting a kitty massage?
  • Exposing their underbelly 
  • Chirping or meowing to or at you
  • Vying for your attention when you are doing something else.
cat loves me,
“What are you doing?”

I’m sure there are many more unique ways cat owners know that their cat shows affection. Humans have been sharing their life with cats for at least 9000 years. Yet, we have only recently begun to study a lot of their behaviors cats are historically not good test subjects, which make it hard.

Cats are not motivated to please people the same way as dogs

Ways to show your cat you love HIM

A good place to start is, just to be yourself. Sometimes, it isn’t love at first sight, it takes a while to get to know each other and build trust. Spending quality time with your furry friend is a great place to start. If you are a new parent, just sitting on the floor with your new friend in the same room is a great start. Have a few toys and some catnip-filled toys around.

Is Catnip good for my cat?

Try to not overwhelm them with YOUR love. Let your new cat or kitten come to you. Not all felines are comfortable with lots of affection from you at first. Show them love and head rubs, but pay attention to their body language for clues or when they have had enough.

Talk to your friend and reassure them. It is possible cats choose their human based on the sound of their voice. I have a habit of chatting with my boy, and either cause or effect, Pizza has become a very vocal companion over the years.

Like all relationships, be consistent and communicate. Pick a time for daily playtime together. Share a treat together at the same time. Although cats are fairly independent, they also enjoy your company especially once they feel safe around you and consider you to be a family member. Adopting a small kitten under nine weeks is a good age to encourage bonding with a human. An older cat may take more time to warm up to you, but most cats eventually bond.

Cats do love and bond like other pets

Cats like to hang out with the people they love. It won’t take long to share that bond. Your new cat will love you in no time. Sitting with a cup of tea and a cat snuggled up next to you is very peaceful and comforting.