Tortoiseshell cat sitting by window door meowing.

Cats meow, howl, chirp, and chatter for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they’re just begrudgingly acknowledging our existence or letting us know that it’s time for us to wake up. But there are times when a cat meowing and yowling means that something is medically amiss and it’s time to call the doctor. 

At Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital, we love helping you keep your felines happy and healthy throughout their lives, and our team is here to explain strange cat behaviors and when they might indicate a medical problem.

Possible Medical Issues Behind Why Cat is Meowing

Some cats are clearly more vocal than others—and you know your cat better than anyone. Is she meowing to get your attention? Does she need more food or water? If this is typical cat behavior in your household, no need to worry. But if her vocalizations have become more frequent, louder, or are accompanied by any of the following strange cat behaviors, it’s important to schedule a veterinary evaluation

Cat Litter Box Problems

Cat meowing and yowling can indicate that she is unable to comfortably use her litter box. Cat urinary problems like urinary tract infections can cause painful urination. Similarly, constipation or diarrhea can make elimination extremely uncomfortable. And when a cat associates the litter box with pain and discomfort, she may avoid using the litter box altogether and “experiment” with different locations around the house. 

Unusual Cat Body Language

An uptick in vocalizations in conjunction with unusual cat body language can indicate that a cat is in pain. Is she holding her head awkwardly? Is her posture often hunched? Is she having trouble standing or reluctant to move? Does she vocalize when you touch a certain part of her body? Arthritis or another degenerative condition could be to blame.

Confusion or Other Unusual Behavior

Is she a senior cat? Cognitive decline impacts more than 55 percent of cats between the ages of 11 and 15, and at least 80 percent of cats 16 and older, according to the ASPCA. This deterioration can lead to hearing and sight problems, confusion and spatial disorientation, memory issues, and more. Cognitive dysfunction also often leads to increased and more urgent sounding vocalizations. 

How We Can Help

When vocalizations are accompanied by cat litter box problems, unusual cat body language, symptoms of cognitive decline, or other strange cat behaviors, it’s extremely important to seek veterinary care and obtain an accurate diagnosis. Because some human medications can be toxic to pets, it’s important that you never try to medicate your pet at home. 

Please contact us if you’ve noticed an increase in your cat’s vocalizations. She may have a treatable (or manageable) condition, and early intervention can greatly improve her quality of life.