A big orange tabby cat meowing.
Ginger cat meowing by Shutterstock.

Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing?

Cat won't stop meowing? There might be more to your cat meowing all the time than nonstop vocalization. Find out if all that cat meowing signals something serious like a medical condition.
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We all know that some cat breeds meow more than others (Siamese, anyone?), and some cats just enjoy making noises. But if your cat won’t stop meowing, a vet check might be in order. So, why do cats keep meowing? Here are some reasons for that constant cat meowing:

Cat with mouth open — trilling, meowing or making another kitty sound.
Your cat might be meowing if she’s in heat. Photography by annadarzy/Thinkstock.

1. All that cat meowing means your cat is in heat.

If your five- or six-month-old un-spayed cat won’t stop meowing, your cat might be in heat. Cat in heat sounds 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. Excessive cat meowing could signal 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 and your cat won’t stop meowing, take her to the vet right away for a checkup and blood test.

Related: What Do Different Cat Meow Sounds Mean?

3. If your cat won’t stop meowing, it could signal loss of vision and/or hearing.

If your older cat won’t stop meowing 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 her way through the house and may not be able to hear you.

4. Senile cats meow a lot.

Yes, cats can become senile. This condition, known as feline cognitive dysfunction or cat dementia, can cause a number of problems that will leave your cat feeling scared and disoriented. Her response will be wails, yowls and excessive cat meowing. 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. If your cat won’t stop meowing, she could have 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. Cat meowing might signal pain.

A cat will rarely show pain, but sometimes when she’s really hurting, a cat won’t stop meowing. 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. Your cat is meowing due to loneliness or boredom.

Single cats who are very closely bonded with their caretakers are particularly susceptible to loneliness or boredom. This kind of constant cat meowing or crying usually starts after you go to bed and continues until you respond or she gets tired of calling out for attention. If a cat won’t stop meowing because she’s lonely, these tips from the ASPCA may be helpful. Or, consider adopting a second cat.

Top photograph: Shutterstock.

Originally published in 2017.

Read Next: All About Cat Hissing — Why Do Cats Hiss?

205 thoughts on “Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing?”

  1. My male neutered cat is 11 years old, he has always brought gifts of old leaves into the house but suddenly this has begun to get crazy he goes in one door out the window and back in again with huge mouthfuls of leaves howling at the same time this is now going on all night the leaves are now a huge pile in the morning and howling goes on and on. He is already on hills science diet urinary stress to help be calm but he seems to be getting worse. How do i stop the obssevie behaviour

  2. Deborah J Riggins

    We have two senior cats and one was increasingly aggressive to the other, one was peeing outside the boxes, and there has been increasing meowing from both this past year. One of them is having hearing loss, the other’s sight is decreasing. They have clearly been discombobulated by the COVID-19 changes in routine in our family. At our vet’s suggestion, we now give them Zylkene, a supplement known to help with behavior issues. Things have calmed way down with our girls. I recommend Zylkene. No prescription needed, though it is a bit expensive.

  3. My cat gave birth and the kittens are 1 monthand 1 week old. She is meowing then stopping then meowing but not right away I would say every 30 minutes to every other hour it’s not constantly though what should I do during g this pandemic as it is not easy to see a vet

    1. I haven’t experienced a problem getting my cat to the vet, even during this pandemic, and I’m in NYC. Vets are still seeing your animals, usually, you wait in the car, the tech comes out, picks up your cat or dog, the vet examines and comes out to you and vet discuss what needs to be done. Or whatever.

    2. My boy Zippy does the meowing thing in the evening. He does it when my husband and I are watching TV. I am totally convinced he wants our attention to play with him/ plus this is way of saying it’s time for bed. He almost corrals us. The meowing can be annoying. None of the above reasons apply to him. They all have their on little quirks. God love them.

    3. Louise Ramsden

      My cat’s doing the same her kittens are 6 week old now, she feeds them then when they are asleep she constantly cries then stop start’s again. Annoying at times, just had the male cat castrated so he’s carmed down. I wish I knew what she wanted I know it’s not food can you please help

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  7. Mary. Ann Sawka – OFarrell

    My 17 year old male cat meows for hours . This just started about 4 months ago. He also has a avid need for his water bowl and he pees Alot . He eats, is alert, uses the pan and cleans himself and uses his scratching post ???. What could this mean. I cannot get him to a Vet right now . Is there any mediation that could calm him .

    1. Sounds like kidney disease. I have extended the quality and life span of many cats with a product called “kidney support gold” google it and buy it direct from pet wellness or on Amazon. Its a fantastic product.

    1. My young boy used to do that. I believe he came from somewhere traumatic according to his foster mom. I very gently started discouraging it. Gave him extra attention away from my ear to distract him. He did it less and less over time and finally stopped doing it when he was a year or so.

  8. My Male (fixed) keeps meowing at the door, whether I’m out there or not. He wants to go outside, but he has never been outside since he was just a baby (which I found him separated from his momma, and wasn’t winged yet). I have been his caregiver since. Just recently he started meowing at the door wanting to go outside. I have let him out on the porch with me, to see how he reacts, but now he wants to go out without me outside. Should I let him go outside and just let him go to see how he would be or if he would come back in when I call him??

    1. As a disclaimer, I am not any kind of cat professional or vet. I have just spent all of my life with these lovable creatures. I have had similar issues with my indoor cats wanting to go outside. It could be for a few reasons but the most common one is boredom. Cats can naturally survive on their own outdoors. They have lots of natural hunting instincts. This can be seen in how they play: pouncing, swatting, and sneaky walking. A strictly indoor cat may never feel bored but I feel that this depends on their personality. For the most part, if indoor cats have enough things to climb and play on and have toys that you regularly engage them with then they will be fine. Otherwise, cats may feel an urge to go outside because it’s a new area that stimulates a lot of their natural hunter instincts. Bird sounds! New smells! Even if your cat doesn’t want to engage in hunting activities, it could be enough to just stimulate their hunting instincts. Now, I would not leave the cat alone until you know for sure how they will be. There is a broad spectrum of reactions so I cannot, unfortunately, give you a solid guess as to how your cat will react. My friend’s cat begs to go outside but will freeze or bolt once let so much as a foot outside. Meanwhile, my eldest cat loves to go outside and I can let him be (but since he’s old I don’t leave him alone for more than a few hours). I would test the waters with your cat. If you feel like there’s a chance of bolting see if some friends or family will come help supervise. Having a break-away collar with your contact info is also good in case your cat does get lost. Consider keeping the cat away from traffic and any other animals (like other cats and dogs) nearby. New environments could possibly be stressful at first and encountering a new animal might lead to a fight. As I mentioned, there could be other reasons as to why your cat might want to go outside besides boredom. Sometimes being sick drives cats to seek out new environments, but I have found that it’s boredom more often than not that causes this behavior. I wish you luck and hope that you and your kitty friend do well!

  9. My 4th cat was dropped off to me by his foster parents. The howling and yowling started that evening. I thought maybe he missed his foster family. I took him to the vet to get his physical. Surprise! The howling and yowling turned out to be a toothache. Imagine that! It made perfect sense!

  10. Ever since my cat was a little kitten he walks around , especially at night, with one of his toys in his mouth while letting out all sorts of different meows. It’s amazing how many different sounds he makes. Sometimes he almost sounds human. This usually goes on for 5 to ten minutes before he jumps up on my bed and goes to sleep.

  11. Marilyn J Ranson

    My 10-year old cat meows constantly until her wishes are met. If I sleep in past 6 a.m., she has a constant loud meow. She starts meowing at 3 p.m. for dinner at 4. If, at 10 p.m. I go into my office rather than to bed, she meows like crazy. I think she has OCD.

  12. Our geriatric (16+ year) kitties have all had senility “issues”. The loud “singing over their final few years can be (has0 been tough. My eldest will be 19 in Oct. and has been crying intermittently for over a year. Yet when I stroke her or shine a light on her (3AM show) she quiets down. When I pet her, she seems startled by my touch, but never aggressive; and is comforted and quiet.

    1. Our elderly cat (20) did the same thing. She would start howling in the
      middle of the night and would not stop until I got up to comfort her.
      We started leaving a small light on in the kitchen and in the room with
      the litter box. This really made a big difference. She has since crossed the
      Rainbow Bridge, but have continued leaving the lights on for our other
      cats.

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  14. I have two males, 10 and 14. Love them so much but the meowing is almost a game to them to wake me up. My oldest must go under the covers when I lay down to sleep or if I am on the couch. He suggests that he wants to go under the cover by nudging it with his head, i then have to lift up the covers and he comes and sleeps there for however long he feels like it. He may request to be under the cover 5 times in a night. Lately he has been meowing a lot at night for attention and I contribute this to recently moving but it is incredibly annoying. I love the snuggling part – hate the meowing for attention part. Such is life!

  15. My 16 year old female tabby cat meows for long periods of time. She eats well. She seems starved for attention and we give her lots of love. This helps for a bit then she asks for more. She’s very insistent. She’s not an active cat, she gets around okay though.. what can I do to calm her down. She has never been one to hold, she’s on the timid side.

    1. Perhaps your cat just needs some entertainment and a distraction. My eleven year old, doesn’t see very well, thus she isn’t one that would play with inanimate objects. However, we bought a round scratching dish (that has a little ball that goes round & round). She loves to sit in it, but won’t play with the ball. We also bought an electronic toy that has a feathered stick underneath a round tent and when you turn it on it slowly rotates. My cat will sit in the round dish and watch this feathered stick go round & round for HOURS! It’s truly funny to watch, but it keeps her very content.

  16. My male neutered cat is 11 years old, he has always brought gifts of old leaves into the house but suddenly this has begun to get crazy he goes in one door out the window and back in again with huge mouthfuls of leaves howling at the same time this is now going on all night the leaves are now a huge pile in the morning and howling goes on and on. He is already on hills science diet urinary stress to help be calm but he seems to be getting worse. How do i stop the obssevie behaviour

    1. Duncan Sinclair

      To Nancy Punnett, This is just a guess and I could be entirely wrong – but my cat brings a toy mouse in her mouth to me, and meows with it in her mouth. My security cameras reveal she even does it when I’m not home. She’ll leave the mouse at the front door, she’ll leave it on the bath mat while I’m having a shower. It’s her gift to me, as she must come from a long line of mouse catchers.

      Is it possible these leaves are your cat’s mouse-catching instincts kicking in? Do you have some toy mice you could try as an experiment? My cat especially likes the one that squeaks when it’s been bumped.

  17. U need to teach the dog to stay or tell him/her to lye down while u have me time with ur kitty. The puppy will eventually catch on. They will work it out if taught early enough. Good luck..

  18. My roommates cat, consistently meows. To the point where it angers me. I don’t want her to get rid of her pet. But I’m losing sleep over it. She’s not financially stable to have him neutered. I’m definitely not paying a $1000 to have it done for her. I get it. Veterinarians did their time in college and what not. But it seems like for the most part, they’re ripping us off with their prices! You can forget about spade & neuter fairs too. I once took my cat to one of those, to save some money. My cat died a few months later, because the procedure was done incorrectly. Come on vets. Stop rapping us!

    1. It’s not even near $1000 to get a cat neutered. Check with the local SPCA, they may have a low cost neuter clinic you can get in to.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll look into it. But yes, it IS THAT much. I researched two different locations in my area. It’s approximately $1200 for two cats.

          1. My cat just gave birth to her child and after two days, it started to walk around the house and keep meowing and sometime growling. The past two days it always stay by her children’s side but now she stopped to see her children. And she only give milk if i make her stay by her children’s side (and leave earlier than before). Idk what she wants and means. I hope you can help me in my case.

        1. “It’s approximately $1200 for two cats.”

          Then that means it’s not $1000 to get a cat fixed. $1200 for two cats is $600 each. (Which is still pricey, but if the vet doesn’t have an established relationship with those particular animals, most will want to do preop physical and labwork. They want to make sure there are no underlying health issues that could cause complications and then someone complaining that the procedure was “done wrong.”)

  19. We just caught a semi-feral female cat roughly 3 yrs her kittens were caught before her and taken to a rescue now we have 7 cats and we keep her separate and in an inside area shes scared but deals with us petting her as long as shes behind a wired like rack. She definitely enjoys the canned cat food but at night she meows not sure why. Don’t know if shes calling for her babies or what. Any suggestions I would love to hear its been a week. She will be going in for spaying next week we had to wait for her milk to dry up so no complications with mastitis. Anyone have any ideas why she meows every night?

    1. If she hasn’t been fixed yet she’s definitely in heat. My cat used to do the same thing. She was actually fixed but some of the ovarian tissue was still intact so she still went into heat. Good luck! I hope you work it all out

  20. I have tortie/Siamese mix cat who has been meowing and yowling so much. I think it’s because she wants to be with me but my puppy runs after her if she comes close! It’s exhausting!

    1. U should never let.your puppy chase your cat. The puppy should have a leash on at all times in the house until u teach it not to chase the cat

    2. U need to teach the dog to stay or tell him/her to lye down while u have me time with ur kitty. The puppy will eventually catch on. They will work it out if taught early enough. Good luck..

  21. My cat meows constantly all day long. He sits in front of my door crying incessantly because he wants to go in the building’s hallway. He hears people and wants to play. He also cries non stop at the balcony door. The other 2 cats behave themselves but he will climb to the next door balcony, sit in their window and screams for their attention. They are amused but I am not. I never had a cat that is so crazy for human company!

    1. I have a cat that came from outside, and he do the same thing…. he howls to get out doors, and if he doesn’t get his way he will do something to get my attention!! Since he likes to go outside, I started walking him on a harness and leach, but boy what a mistake that turned out to be.. because now, he really bothers me…. :(

    2. I adopted a Bombay kitten a month ago she is now 5 months old an she literally meows alllll day long. Its constant! An it drives me nuts at times. An she is soooo food crazy for people food its unbelievable. She can be sleeping an if you start eating something as simple as a apple or banana she smells it an wakes up an goes nuts!! Trying to take your food. But the constant meowing is just ridiculous. The vet said shes fine so idk what to do. If shes awake shes meowing an just following you around doing it.

    3. Me too! I just adopted this cat and he sits at the door screaming. And if I have a fan on he screams even louder. He’s seriously like a newborn baby.

  22. I adopted a senior Meeser from a breeder and she is a talker for sure. Not the usual meow but she sounds like a crow or seagull.
    We call it walk and squawk.
    Love her all the same. I try to close my ears but my husband cant tolerate it.. What to do

  23. My 14 year old cat stands in front of the sliding mirror closet door and meows until I let him in. He goes in then comes right out. He only does this when he knows I’m getting ready to take a shower.

  24. My female Manx meows loud and incessantly when she has cornered her prey. Now, mind you, this could be a bug or a piece of shiny paper or a mouse (outside). It can also be 02:00 in the morning! You can hear her bellowing outside from the far recesses of the indoors. She will keep it up too until you come investigate and tell her what a good hunter she is! She loves showing off her prowess! At first it scared us because we thought she was hurt or caught somewhere! Now my spouse and I just look at each other and say “Cleo found something, your turn ..” lol cats! Gotta love ‘em!

  25. Anne marie Coderre

    My cat meows non stop at the door, he won’t stop until I let him out. I’m trying to stop him from going outside, but he’s driving me crazy with his meowing, I have to let him out. And as soon as I open the door he stops.

    1. Our cat is exactly the same except cats are not allowed to go outside in our estate so I spend half my life walking him on a lead.

    2. Mine did this after he ran outside for the first and only time in his life last Spring. I refused to give in to his meowing because he has been declawed. I opened the basement door to shoo him downstairs, because he would not stop cry meowing. I had never let him down there before. He stopped meowing to go outside after that. Now I leave the basement door ajar so he can come and go as he wants. I think it wasn’t so much wanting to be outside as it was the “curiosity” to explore and smell new things. Hopefully you have a basement. They do make Catio’s for indoor cats to be outside in an enclosed area. Good luck…

  26. I have very strange older kitties, both about 25. I got them both from the same cage at the humane society 15 years ago. They are Harry and Ron, after Harry Potter. It was so much fun to see my 12 year old granddaughter realized who they were named after. Anyway…Harry has always done weird things. I’m 70 and can’t remember not having a cat in my life. He does play fetch. He’ll bring a toy mouse back to me and drop it at my feet. Strangest is when he drinks water. He always has one paw that crosses over in front of him. I can’t even think of a reason. Any ideas?

    1. I have a nine year old kitty who does the same thing when drinking. He’s done this since he was a kitten. Never figured out why!?!????

  27. So I adopted this kitten from a pet store and she is 5 months old and spayed…This kitten is continuously meowing at first I thought it was because she is in a new place and it will eventually stop but it hasnt…how do I get her to stop? I have had cats my enire life and never had one that meows all the time…I am at my witts end with her and need help…p.s. not looking to adopt another cat I have a dog and thats all the fur babies i need(cat and dog)

    1. I just adopted a cat she is now 5 months an does the same thing. Non stop meowing all day. Is shes awake she is meowing an I have no idea what to do or why.

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  32. Hi

    Our cat meows everytime we move and when we move she takes us outside to spot where it is amongst the plants and wall. Once we go there then she curls up and go to sleep or looks for spot to sleep. Then we go away and she promptly gets up and follows us and calls us back. At night she sleeps on the bed with my daughter. The cat is not spayed and there is no signs that she is on heat, pregnant or had kittens. Please help.

      1. I agree. Why are you not getting an outside cat spayed? Please get her spayed. There is a problem with too many cats and kittens. Rescue shelters are working diligently to try and find homes for them. Please don’t contribute to this sad problem.

    1. There is no reason why you are not having your cat spayed.
      it is not cute for her to have kittens.
      Go to a shelter and see how many cats are killed because no one will adopt them.
      if you care about her please spay her. she will be a much healthier calmer cat.
      i worked for the humane society, cats are still put to sleep, because of over crowding.
      and cummunicable diseases. KEEP YOUR Cats INDOORS PEOPLE!

      1. I have a healthy spayed indoor 4 year old cat who suffers from Separation Anxiety who at certain times of the day talks incessantly. She “Edith” walks through the house talking nonstop. Nothing I do will make her stop until she is ready. I certainly know what it is like to live with a Cat who won’t stop talking.

        1. My neutered cat Jake constantly at the window crying. He was a inside/ outside kitty. Even adopted him a playmate for his entertainment, but no help with the meowing. Help!!!!

  33. so about 6 months ago, i picked up a rescue cat which was about to be put down.

    when the cat is in the BR, he’s gentle and sweet.

    as soon as he wakes up (at around 15), he goes to the LR and starts circling around meowing for food, like normal cats (nothing extreme).
    he greets me, chirps “mrä mrä mrä” and goes to eat.

    after food, he wants attention.
    he doesn’t really like playing (except between 4-5am, when he runs after shadows and small insects). but he likes to lay down next to my feet on the couch and use my feet as his pillow.
    i lie on the couch with him for a while after work every day.

    thing is.
    if i get off the couch… that’s when it all starts.
    he starts meowing… really loud… he’s not a small cat… he has an extremely powerful megalodontic meow!
    if he was a human… he would most definitely be a death metal singer!

    usually, he’ll start circling around the fridge (he does this even if he has food in his bowl).
    and he continues circling between the fridge, his bowl and my chair where i’m sitting in front of the PC. meowing hours on end.
    he can be quiet if he doesn’t see me in the living room (sitting in front of the PC, concealed behind the chair… but as soon as i stand up or he notices me…. “MEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!!”).

    everyone has been telling me to ignore him when he does this. which is what i do.
    but this results in him meowing even louder! and louder! and louder!
    this can continue for hours.
    even my neighbors are complaining, thinking i’m torturing him in here!

    when he starts doing this, nothing makes him stop, except petting him.
    but hey! i can’t pet him 24h/day!!!

    it’s clear that he wants attention. he’s the only cat.
    but getting another cat isn’t possible (he has FiV and Feulv… the 2nd cat would need to have the same diseases…. and regular vet costs for this 1 are already astronomical).

    releasing him outdoors to run off his restlessness isn’t an option either, as my neighbors have cats (that he would infect). and walking a cat on a leash… all of us have cats…

    am going crazy.
    he sleeps in bed with me. i spend hours every day playing with him.

    his food bowl is in the LR atm (where i have issues with him). will try to move his food bowl to the corridor. if this works, i’ll come back here and tell you about it.

    if it doesn’t, i’ll just cut off my ears.

    1. I am having similar issues with my cat, anyway I enjoyed the laugh and knowing I am not the only only being tortured by their cat daily

    2. Laughter is best! Sounds like you know it’s attention he’s seeking and ruled out any illnesses. Have you tried putting a cat bed next to your computer where you’re working (on top of the table) so that he can be right beside you?
      I wouldn’t ignore him when he’s talking to you. Try things that will help him feel better. He wants to be close to you. That’s a cat that loves and trusts you. You’ll figure it out!

  34. So we have three cats that came from the same litter. They are around five months old. Koa and Ash are fine but Bama is extremely vocal. Like he will be cuddling and getting all the pets and he’s purring but he’s meowing constantly. If you stop, he will jump off and just start meowing constantly. Does anyone have any tips or advice? They all just had their vet visit and they are 100% healthy.

    1. Deborah Crosby

      Hi Amanda, many year’s ago my Mum had a Siamese cat which used to drive my mum crazy with meowing which she said was like having a baby crying. Unfortunately I belive this what Siamese cat’s do.

      1. I have a healthy spayed indoor 4 year old cat who suffers from Separation Anxiety who at certain times of the day talks incessantly. She “Edith” walks through the house talking nonstop. Nothing I do will make her stop until she is ready. I certainly know what it is like to live with a Cat who won’t stop talking.

    2. I have always had Siamese Mixes my male cat carries on conversations with me all the time. My female cat has a white fuzzy toy we call the white rat when she wants me to pay special attention to her she carries in he mouth making kind of a loud meow noise and drops it at my feet then I give her a special pet. I still have not figured out how she finds it when she leaves it in strange places. Actually I think the cats are the only ones who talk to me!!

  35. There’s been a kitten on top of my roof for 2 days now, the cat came out of nowhere and its super loud and wont stop meowing(meowing nonstop), i have tried to feed it and catch it and tried to make it leave (because it can easily escape from the roof) but the cat wont let me touch her and she wont move from a spot, i don’t know what to do to it and how to help it and i have no idea whats wrong with it, it just looks like its lost and out of its mind.

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for reaching out! Please reach out to a local rescue organization or shelter to help you move this cat to safety!

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