A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

Why Does My Cat Walk Around Meowing? 6 Possible Explanations

By: Brianna Gunter

A tabby cat makes a funny face while meowing.

You’re working from home, trying to hit a deadline, when all of a sudden it starts. That high-pitched, repetitive noise that seems to come on at the most inconvenient times.

Just why do cats like to walk around the house meowing, and does it mean something is wrong?

If you are looking up “why is my cat walking around meowing” because you suspect something is wrong with your pet, go ahead and give your veterinarian a call. That said, there could be any number of reasons behind your kitty’s vocal expressions. Read on for six of them!

6 Reasons why cats walk around meowing

Close-up of a gray cat with his tongue poking out.

1. They want attention

Meows often translate to “Play with me, NOW!” or “I noticed you’re not petting me. Let’s change that!” Instead of ignoring or scolding your cat for meowing (which you should never do), try spending more time with him.

According to the ASPCA, cats also meow and yowl when they are lonely. If you leave your cat alone for long periods of time during the day and are getting complaints from neighbors (or are seeing your cat meowing away on a pet camera), consider scheduling a pet sitter to come give your kitty some much-needed attention.

It’s worth noting that some breeds—like Siamese cats—tend to be excessively vocal anyway, as do certain personalities. Meowing at you often could just be your kitty’s way of saying “Hello! Let’s hang out.”

2. They’re hungry (or thirsty)

A very common reason cats walk around meowing repetitively simply has to do with their tummies rumbling. Check the clock and see if it’s around your pet’s usual meal time. Likewise, check how much food you’re giving her and how often, and make sure it is enough for her age and size (many newer pet owners are surprised by how much food kittens need, for example).

At the same time, give your cat’s water bowl a check. She could very well just be thirsty after long hours of snoozing or playtime.

Keep in mind that if your cat seems to always be hungry or thirsty, there could be an underlying medical cause. It’s always a good idea to give your veterinarian a call when you’re unsure.

3. They’re communicating with other animals

Sometimes the answer to why your cat keeps meowing is a simple one: he hears other animals. House cats will occasionally listen to noises made by other creatures and meow either as an attempt to contact them or find where they are.

Giving your cat a nice window perch may help him feel like he has more access to the world and take away some of the mystery behind outside noises.

4. They’re looking for a mate

Cats who have not been spayed or neutered have been known to walk around meowing while in heat. In addition to vocalizations, other indicators that your cat is in heat include:

  • Rubbing against furniture, toys, walls, and perhaps even you
  • Trying to get outside
  • Increased affection towards you and/or other pets
  • Excessive self-grooming
  • Marking territory
  • Assuming a mating position

If your cat has been spayed or neutered and is doing these things, contact your veterinarian.

5. They’re stressed out

Cats meow at pet owners in an attempt to communicate. Oftentimes, they do so when they are feeling stressed out by a noise, smell, or situation, and they want you to help.

A study published in 2020 found that not only is meowing a mostly human-directed behavior meant to convey emotional state, but pet owners who spent more time with their cat were better able to decipher what different meows mean (especially when the cat was in duress). Interestingly, better meow understanding also correlated with higher levels of empathy for cats.

So, the next time your kitty starts mewing at you, pay attention. He could be trying to tell you that he’s stressed out and in need of assurance. Likewise, look around for anything that could be stressing him out and do what you can to stop it.

6. They have an illness

Once again, don’t hesitate to call your pet’s veterinarian if your cat keeps walking around the house meowing. While there are many harmless reasons behind this form of feline expression, it could be an indicator of an underlying condition. This could mean anything from an upset stomach to more serious illnesses like hyperthyroidism or even cognitive issues. Cats that are deaf or developing hearing loss have also been reported to meow loudly often.

In any case, if there are no other obvious causes for your cat’s meowing (like being dinnertime) it’s time to seek veterinary care.

Don’t ignore changes in pet behavior

Meowing ginger kitten in a basket with a blanket.

There’s a good chance that your cat is walking around meowing for a perfectly harmless reason. Many cats have been known to make a routine of this when they are hungry or bored. That said, if your previously quiet kitty is suddenly mewing her head off, it’s a behavior change that shouldn’t be ignored.

Make an appointment with your cat’s veterinarian, and start taking notes of when your cat is meowing, for how long, and whether or not any actions on your part seem to help. Share all of this with her veterinarian upfront, as well as her past habits. This can help your veterinary team get to the root of the problem (if there is one) faster.

Protect your cat from unexpected illnesses

Cats are unpredictable. While serious health problems that cause excessive meowing are on the rare side, there’s no telling when your pet may require extensive medical treatment. If you haven’t done so already, there’s no better time than the present to look into pet insurance for your feline friend.

Learn more about cat insurance and protecting your furry loved one from the unexpected now.

A dog and cat snuggle

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We’re the official blog of Trupanion—chosen by veterinarians as the #1 pet insurance in America. Here you’ll find useful dog and cat care tips, interesting veterinary insights, and fun pet topics galore.

While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.

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