Obviously, meowing and making other sounds are normal cat behaviors.  Interestingly, research has shown that cats don’t use the meow much to communicate with each other -it’s more a cat-human communication.  Persistent meowing can mean something is wrong.  Your cat may be anxious or distressed.  Cats may not meow at all when they are in pain.

Excessive vocalizations can have several different causes. Cats can learn to meow to get things they want. If meowing leads you to put food down, pet your cat, or play with him, then your cat knows that meowing works. Sometimes this can get out of hand, to the point that your cat meows almost constantly in order to get you to do something. Not rewarding the behavior, making sure your cat’s behavioral needs are met, and teaching your cat to show other behaviors to get what she wants can be helpful.

Cats can also meow when they are anxious or fearful of something or not feeling well. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have your cat checked by your veterinarian, especially if she is older. Anxiety and fears usually can be treated with behavior modification techniques or changes to your cat’s environment.

Meowing and vocalizing at night is a fairly common problem in older cats. Behaviorists don’t know for sure why older cats do this.  It may be because aging has decreased the cat’s ability to hear or see well which causes anxiety.  Often we can recommend changes in your cat’s environment, to manage the behavior. It is also possible that medication prescribed by your veterinarian may be helpful.

Contact us if you’d like to schedule a behavior consulting appointment to help you with this problem.