We all know that some breeds are more vocal than others (Siamese, anyone?), and some cats just enjoy hearing the sound of their own voices. But if your cat suddenly starts meowing a lot, a vet check might be in order. Here are some reasons why your cat might be vocalizing excessively.

1. She’s in heat

Of course, this is only true if your cat is not spayed. But if your five- or six-month-old unspayed cat suddenly starts meowing and carrying on, she may be seeking a mate. Cries of a cat in heat are eerily loud and almost sound as if the cat is in pain, and they’re usually accompanied by super-affectionate behavior and an odd, sway-backed position when you pet near the rump.

2. Hyperthyroidism

Typically found in older cats, hyperthyroidism displays a number of symptoms, including weight loss despite ravenous hunger, excessive activity, and excessive vocalization. If your cat is showing these symptoms, take her to the vet right away for a checkup and blood test.

3. Loss of vision and/or hearing

If your older cat cries like a lost child once you’ve turned off the lights and gone to bed, she may really feel lost. A cat who’s partially blind or deaf won’t be able to make their way through the house and may not be able to hear you.

4. Senility

Yes, cats can become senile. This condition, known as feline cognitive dysfunction, can cause a number of problems that will leave your cat feeling scared and disoriented. Her response will be to wail and yowl. A cat with cognitive dysfunction may also become more irritable, sleep more or have altered sleep cycles, lose coordination, and even on occasion become incontinent.

5. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome

A cat with this condition will sometimes get wild-eyed and just go nuts, almost as if she’s hallucinating. She’ll cry and yowl loudly, may have bizarre mood swings, her skin may ripple as if even the air hurts her, and she might have sudden fits of grooming herself like crazy, even leading to hair loss.

6. Pain

Cats rarely show their pain, but sometimes when they’re really hurting, they’ll call out. I saw this once when my cat had a urinary tract infection: she ran back and forth to the litterbox and tried to pee, but nothing came out and the effort was so painful she cried. (Of course, she went right to the vet after I saw this behavior!)

7. Loneliness or boredom

Single cats who are very closely bonded with their caretakers are particularly susceptible to loneliness or boredom. This kind of crying usually starts after you go to bed and continues until you respond or she gets tired of calling out for attention. If your cat meows because she’s lonely, these tips from the ASPCA may be helpful.

Does your cat meow all the time? What caused her to do that, and what have you done to help her stop? Tell us about it in the comments!