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Eight Reasons Why Cats Meow

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Wondering what your cat really means when she meows? Is she hungry, stressed, or just asking for cuddles? According to the ASPCA, “The cat’s meow is her way of communicating with people.” The Humane Society of the US explains how to understand your cat's meowing, “Your cat’s vocabulary may seem limited, but you can learn to associate the sounds she makes with certain moods or desires.” 

Here are eight reasons why cats meow


“I’m hungry!” 

Cats often meow to communicate that they are hungry. If you don’t respond, they may follow you around and keep meowing until you locate the food! 

“Hi there!” 

When you and your cat cross paths, or when you get home from work, your cat will often meow as a friendly greeting. It simply means, “Everything’s good. Nice to see you!” 

“I’m feeling happy!” 

When your cat is feeling happy and relaxed, he will most likely purr instead of meowing. Cats often purr when they’re sleeping or being petted by their owners. 

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“I’m angry!” 

If your cat hisses, growls, or screeches, she may be reacting to something that frightened her. Or she may be responding aggressively towards another cat that crossed her boundaries.

“Let me in!” 

If your outdoor cat wants to come inside, she may wait outside the door and meow until you open it. Indoor cats might meow because you’ve closed the door to a room they want to explore. This is one of the most common reasons why cats meow.


“I’m aging.” 

Cats often meow more as they grow older. As the daily activities of life become more difficult, they may meow to ask for help or express their frustration.                                    

“I’m stressed!” 

If you notice a significant change in your cat’s meowing patterns, she may be experiencing stress. Longer periods of meowing or lower, throatier meowing can signal this. To learn if your cat is stressed, read our previous post on signs of OCD in cats.

“I’m lonely!” 

If your cat wants a little love and TLC, he may keep meowing until he gets your attention. If he wants to play, he will meow loudly and persistently. According to the Cat Guide website, “Single cats who are very closely bonded with their caretakers are particularly susceptible to loneliness or boredom.” You can help alleviate your cat’s loneliness by cuddling or playing with her more often. 

Cats use meowing and vocalizations to tell you how they are feeling or to ask for help. You are their favourite fur mom or fur dad in the world. And, now that you know lots of reasons why cats meow, you might even be able to read their mind! How awesome is that!

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