Cat Yowling: Why Do Cats Yowl and What Does It Mean?
Cats are known to make a host of different sounds and many kits are real chatterboxes, with a skill in vocalization that will always get your attention, whether that’s with a cute meow or a contented purr. But some of their chatter is not always so pleasant and their yowling can even wake the neighborhood as they emit their favorite high-powered shriek.
So why do cats choose to yowl and what exactly are they trying to tell you? We take a close look at what their yowling means and what you can – and should – do to about it.
The Lowdown on the Cat Yowl
From her purring and meowing to full-on caterwauling, your cat’s vocal skills are used to communicate, not only with you but the other cats that may be around her. All cats ‘talk’ but when it becomes excessive, then there could well be a problem. Unlike the gentle or adorable meow of a contented cat, a yowl is a much louder version and one which is drawn out and borders on a high-pitched moan. Most cats will yowl at night, but some will also make the sound during the day or around the house, making it a problem for both you and your neighbors if is it regular or prolonged. The first step to take if you find yourself with a problematic feline yowler is to ask yourself – what exactly are they trying to tell me?
Why is my Cat Yowling?
A satisfied, safe and contented cat doesn’t yowl so if your feline pet is cranking up the volume you can be sure she has a message she wants you to listen to. But it is not always easy or immediate to see the reason behind your cat’s loud vocals, so you need to take a little time to work out what it is she has to say. Here are the main reasons why your cat may be yowling:
They are Hungry
This is the first reason for a cat crying you should check. If your cat is directly yowling in front of you or speaks up every time you walk into the kitchen or it is getting very close to their feeding time, then chances are they are asserting their request for food. This does require a little careful handling as you don’t want to reinforce or reward the yowling behavior by doing immediately as she asks. Wait for her to quieten down or take yourself away from her feeding station and wait a while if it is actually her dinner time, before filling her food bowl.
They Want Your Attention
Some cats need more attention than others and so if your kit feels a little attention-starved, he may well resort to loudly telling you. Especially if he is used to people being around the home and you have been away or not as available as you have been, separation anxiety could start to set in. Cats really don’t like being alone and so, if your puss feels he is being attention-deprived, yowling is one of his ways of putting you straight about it. If you think this is the reason behind your cat’s vocal racket, then ramp up the love, play, and attention. But don’t do it as an immediate response to their yowling as this again, is rewarding undesirable behavior. Instead, wait for them to calm down then sit down with them for a cuddle or play. And don’t forget to ensure they get their regular quality human time to nip any future attention-seeking yowling in the bud.
They Could Be ill or in Pain
If your cat’s yowling appears to come out of the blue or it is accompanied by a kit that is withdrawn, lethargic, doesn’t want to be touched or is off their food, then it could indicate she feels unwell or is in pain. Arthritis, an injury or conditions including hyperthyroidism or kidney disease could all contribute to excessive yowling so if you suspect your cat is under the weather or is hurting, make an appointment with the vet to get her checked out pronto.
They are Stressed Out
Cats can be sensitive creatures and any form of stress can lead to them acting up, especially when it comes to excessive yowling. Any change to their routine or home life can raise a cat’s stress levels and they can become much more vocal as a result. A new pet or baby in her home space, a house move, changes to her home or a loss or change of owner or family can all send a cat’s stress and yowling levels soaring. If you have a stressed-out cat, try to work out what’s affecting her and help her to adjust, as well as up the attention and quality quiet time to soothe and calm her down.
They are Hormonal
A loud cat, especially if it is a cat yowling at night could indicate they are in season and are on the look-out for a mate. This will most likely happen if your cat has not been spayed or neutered and has those mating hormones on the rise – female cats will yowl when she comes into heat and a male cat will shout out if he smells a female in heat. The best way to quieten down their yowling, as well as their ardor, is to get your cat sterilized so chat to your vet if your cat has not been done.
They are Displaying Cognitive Dysfunction
If you have an elderly cat yowling, it could be their age that’s at play. Cognitive decline and dysfunction – for example, cat dementia – can lead a confused or disorientated cat to vocalize and this behavior often manifests at night. But even if they do not have an age-onset medical condition, older cats are also prone to separation anxiety and will crave – and call out for – company, especially at night-time. If this sounds like your senior cat, you can help to ease their anxiety by creating a calm and comfortable home and provide them with plenty of company and cuddle time. If their yowling is a night-time habit, try feeding them an easily digestible meal before bed and increase their activity during the day so they are appropriately tired when it comes to bedtime. And if you are concerned about their behavior, do get them checked for any health issues that may be affecting their cognitive function.
They are Bored
If there’s no other obvious reason for their yowling, then it could be that your cat is simply telling you he is bored – and needs you to do something about it. Especially if yours is an indoor cat, then he will need sufficient stimulation to keep him mentally and physically fit and happy. And if you are working full-time or leading a busy life away from your home, then your cat’s emotional wellbeing could be suffering. Boredom in cats can also lead to frustration, and other negative behaviors so if you suspect this is the source of your cat’s loud vocal complaints, then look at ways you can help. An outdoor enclosure if you have suitable access could be a solution or more toys and a climbing activity stack for cats inside your home so they can amuse themselves when you are out. And try to increase the amount of quality time you give to your cat when you are at home.
What you Can Do to Stop Excessive Yowling
The most important thing is not to ignore your cat when they yowl. Even if you know it is a simple case of your kit demanding food or attention, you need to do something to deal with the cause. The best way to initially deal with a yowling cat is to check their food or water bowl and to ensure they are not trapped and have safe and easy access into and out of the home. It is also essential that you don’t scold a loudly communicating cat as it may lead to other negative or fearful behavior. Instead, reward quiet behavior and observe their noisemaking to see if there is a more serious reason behind their vocal distress.
If you think it is something you as an owner are not doing that is causing your cat to complain, look at how you can do things differently; spend more playtime with them, don’t leave them alone so often, feed her at regular times, create a calmer night-time routine and ensure they have enough stimulation around the home. And, if your cat has not yet been spayed or neutered, make an appointment with your vet to discuss your sterilizing options.
When to Get Help
If your cat is elderly or you suspect there is a physical or medical cause for your cat’s excessive yowling, seek professional veterinary advice. As well as feline dementia, there are numerous health conditions that can cause thirst, irritability, lethargy, pain or restlessness in your cat, which can all contribute to their loud complaining. And, even if your cat is given a clean bill of health, your vet could recommend an animal behaviorist, who will work with you to figure out just what is causing your cat to be so vocal and help you to resolve it. A calm and happy cat, as well as peace, restored in your home, now that is something to shout about!