Cat Yowling: What is It and Why They Do It?

Cats use meowing and yowling to communicate with us and the environment around them. A cat’s yowling sound is a long, low-pitched moan that comes from a cat’s throat. The sound is typically very loud and drawn out. Why exactly do cats yowl?

Cats may yowl because they are hungry, bored, or they want attention. Furthermore, cats use yowling as a mating call. Finally, cat yowling may be a sign of pain, cognitive dysfunction, or behavior issues. 


Why Do Cats Yowl?

Read on below to learn more about the different reasons why cats yowl.

Your Cat Yowls Because They Are Hungry

If your cat is hungry, they will find a way to let you know. Cats are intelligent, and they know that a loud yowl in your face will get their food bowl refilled. If your cat is yowling but has food, you will need to determine another cause for the yowling.

Cats Yowl to Get Your Attention

Although some cats enjoy being alone, other cats may require more attention. You may notice your cat yowling if you have been away from home a lot lately or if you just haven’t been giving your cat as much attention as you normally do. If your cat is yowling and you know you haven’t been giving your cat much attention lately, try playing or cuddling with them to see if that helps the yowling stop.

Cats Yowl Due to Boredom

Cats enjoy a certain amount of enrichment and entertainment in their lives. If your cat is yowling, it may be their way of letting you know they are frustrated or bored. Cats can benefit from toys that are engaging. Find toys that your cat enjoys playing with, and rotate your cat’s toys regularly so that they don’t get bored playing with the same toys.

Sometimes indoor cats want to be able to spend some of their time outdoors. One option is to purchase or build a cat enclosure so that your cat can safely spend time outside getting fresh air. If you don’t want your cat to go outside, giving them window access is another great option. By creating a window perch for your cat, they can spend their time watching the birds and squirrels outside in the yard.

Cats Yowl as a Mating Call

If your cat is not spayed or neutered, yowling can be a sign that your cat is in heat. The yowling sound cats make is also meant to attract potential mates. Having your cat spayed or neutered can take care of this hormone imbalance issue to stop the yowling.

Pain Can Cause Cats to Yowl

You may hear your cat yowling if they are in pain or discomfort. Cats typically hide their pain, so if your cat is yowling and you have ruled out other possible causes, you may need to have them checked out by a veterinarian. A veterinarian can do a full physical, including bloodwork, to ensure there are no medical issues going on with your cat.

Cats Yowl Due to Cognitive Dysfunction

In cats, cognitive dysfunction is also known as dementia, and it occurs mostly in older age. If your cat is experiencing cognitive dysfunction, you may hear them yowling and becoming more vocal since they aren’t fully aware of what is going on around them.

If cognitive dysfunction is the issue, you may hear your cat yowling more during the night. Some ways to help your cat include feeding them a highly digestible meal before bed so that they are not hungry, creating a safe and relaxing place for your cat to sleep at night, and increasing their play time throughout the day so that they are more tired at night.

Behavioral Issues Can Cause Yowling

If your cat is younger and has no medical abnormalities, yowling could be a behavioral issue. One way to determine this is to keep a log of your cat’s activities. Write down when the yowling happens and see if you can link it to some sort of trigger.

One example of a trigger for your cat is any changes in the home such as a new baby, a new pet, or a recent move. If this is the case, your cat may be yowling out of stress or anxiety. Another example is if your cat is constantly yowling next to the same window or other location, perhaps there may be a stray cat outside that is coming around and upsetting your cat.

If you believe your cat’s yowling is due to a behavioral issue and it is affecting your cat’s quality of life, your veterinarian may be able to refer you to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. A veterinary behaviorist may be able to determine the root cause of your cat’s yowling and help you work with your cat to make it stop.

Should You Be Concerned?

Cats meowing and yowling is a normal communication behavior. When your cat is meowing or yowling, they are trying to communicate something to you. If you are aware of your cat’s normal behaviors, you will be able to tell if their yowl is due to something you should be concerned about.

Cat yowling becomes an issue when it starts to affect quality of life. If your cat yowling is negatively affecting your cat’s quality of life, or the quality of life for you and your family, it would be best to reach out to a veterinarian.

Palos Animal Hospital in Palos Heights, IL can be reached at (708) 448-6600 for any questions or concerns about cat yowling.