Cats meow to get your attention, to ask for food or to communicate. If you talk to them they may also meow back at you. But it can be alarming if they suddenly stop doing it.
My cat stopped meowing: What are the reasons?
Here are the common reasons why your cat will stop meowing:
1. She has an upper respiratory infection or URI.
Your cat stopped meowing since she has an upper respiratory infection that often results in laryngitis. It can cause hoarseness and cats experience a runny nose, sneezing, lack of appetite, lethargy, watery eyes and yellow or green discharge from the nose and eyes. Bring your cat to the vet so she will be given proper medical attention.
2. Your cat has hyperthyroidism.
Cats that suffer from hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid glands may experience hoarseness and weight loss. Due to this, your cat will stop meowing. If you suspect that your cat has this condition, bring her to the vet for proper evaluation and treatment.
Other symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism include the following:
- weight loss
- increased appetite
- increased thirst and urination
- matted and greasy fur
3. It could be due to rabies.
A cat infected with rabies experiences hoarseness although most symptoms could take months to develop. The common signs of rabies in cats include increased vocalization, aggression, loss of appetite, weakness, paralysis, seizures, disorientation and even sudden death. If you suspect that your cat has been exposed or in contact with an infected animal, bring her to the vet for a thorough evaluation.
4. Your cat has laryngeal paralysis.
Another reason why your cat has stopped meowing could be laryngeal paralysis. Cats with this condition have nerve damage in their voice box or larynx and they cannot meow well. Other symptoms include weight loss, coughing and difficulty in eating and breathing. If your cat has this condition, she should be treated by a vet promptly.
5. She has a tumor or polyp in the throat or vocal cords.
Tumors or polyps in the throat or vocal cords can cause hoarseness and changed vocal sounds. It can result in throat cancer and cats with this condition may experience sneezing, coughing and ear infections. If you suspect that your cat has this condition, take her to the vet so a biopsy can be done.
Other reasons why your cat stopped meowing include:
- there is a stuck furball in her trachea or throat
- your cat just meowed and she is just resting her voice
- she is not feeling very talkative
- your cat is stressed because you may have a new pet, a new family member, you moved your furniture or you relocated to a new home
To encourage your cat to meow or to check if her voice is just fine, try to talk with your cat to see if she will respond. Pause for a while just as you would when talking to another person and observe if you receive a response from your cat. You can also look in her direction as you talk to encourage her to meow.
See to it that your cat knows that you are interacting with her. Playing an audio recording or a video of meowing cats may also do the trick. However, if your cat stopped meowing for the reasons mentioned above that are health-related, consulting your vet is the best option.
Is it normal for a cat to not meow?
No, it is not normal if a cat will not meow, however, it is normal that a cat meows just occasionally. Your cat may just not be feeling up to it. Be wary though if a normally vocal cat stops meowing for a long period of time. If she is also lethargic or depressed, you should bring her to the vet for a checkup.
Cats are unique and each has its own personality and some are just naturally more vocal than the others. Vocalization among cats is also breed-specific. Siamese cats are known to be vocal and loud while Birman cats are quiet by nature.
Felines are normally not vocal with each other but female cats tend to be toward their kittens. Cat experts believe that meowing is more directed to humans and that it is a cat’s way to communicate with their owners. Also, domesticated cats tend to verbalize with their humans the same way that they would to their kittens. Needless to say, if you have a quiet cat that rarely or does not meow but is very healthy, happy and playful, you should not worry.
What does it mean if a cat won’t stop meowing?
Here are the reasons why a cat won’t stop meowing:
Due to signs of aging
An aging or senior cat can suffer from cognitive dysfunction just like humans. This condition causes cats to cry or yowl for no reason and become disoriented especially at night. According to studies, feline cognitive dysfunction affects at least 55% of cats that are 11 to 15 years old and more than 80% of cats that are 16 to 20 years old. Cats affected with cognitive dysfunction have deteriorating memory, awareness, sight and hearing perception and the ability to learn.
Due to illness
If you have a chatty cat like a Siamese you do not have to worry since being loud and vocal is normal for this breed. However, if your cat is meowing excessively and it is accompanied by restlessness and other signs like vomiting, you should be concerned.
Your cat may be feeling ill like an overactive thyroid or kidney disease. Your cat may be trying to tell you that she is not okay. If you suspect that she is unwell, bring her to the vet for proper treatment.
Your cat is stressed
Your cat may be extra vocal lately because she is stressed. You are putting your cat unknowingly through a lot of stress if you made changes in your home, you relocated to another place or you added a new pet to the household. Felines are creatures of habit and thrive on routine, thus, changes in their environment can be too much for them.
If you suspect that your cat is stressed, identify the source of stress and give her some quiet time and extra loving care. Provide her with hiding places and vertical spaces like a cat tree to reduce her stress and allow her to sleep and relax.
Here are other symptoms of a stressed cat aside from excessive vocalization:
- bald patches in her fur
- poor appetite
- eating non-food items like wool or plastic ( also called pica )
- sleeping more than usual
- changes in her litter box routine
- aggressive behavior
- pacing around the room
- reluctance to play
- hiding under dark and solitary places
- spraying urine in furniture and other household items
- excessive scratching
- excessive grooming
She is seeking your attention
Cats tend to meow nonstop since they want to get the attention of their humans. If your cat acts like this and she is acting needy, she may probably be bored or feeling lonely. Spend some quality time with your cat for at least 20 minutes twice each day to stimulate your cat’s agility and skills and burn excess energy through exercise.
Your cat is in heat
Unaltered cats excessively meow and vocalize when they are in the heat especially the female cats since they are attracting tomcats. To avoid this, you need to neuter or spay your cat. It will also improve their health and help curb behavioral issues as well.
Your cat is begging
Your cat may also be meowing nonstop because she is begging for food. Some cats are so-called chronic beggars but cat experts advise that you should not feed your cat if she is meowing excessively to beg for food. Wait for a while until she quiets down before giving her food and do not give treats if she is meowing nonstop.
Why has my cat’s meow gone croaky?
Your cat’s meow may have gone croaky and hoarse because she was using her “voice” a lot that day. It could also be due to trauma in the neck or throat area and your cat may have bumped into a hard surface or fell from the roof. A cat’s meow may also become croaky due to tumors or an upper respiratory infection. Most of all, a cat’s vocalization may change and become hoarse and croaky because of laryngitis.
Here are the symptoms of feline laryngitis:
- dry and harsh cough that is painful
- vocal changes
- difficulty in swallowing
- high-pitched and noisy breathing
- bad breath
These are the symptoms if the laryngitis was due to an upper respiratory infection or URI:
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- loss of appetite
Here are the causes of laryngitis aside from URI:
- inhaled irritants like smoke or dust
- obstructions in the larynx
- paralysis of the laryngeal nerve
- foreign objects in the throat
- throat cancer
- tumors or growths in the throat
The common treatment for laryngitis includes diuretic and pain medication. Diuretic medication helps prevent fluid buildup in the lungs while the pain medication allows your cat to swallow easily so she can eat and recover fast. Stuck foreign objects are easily removed by your vet while he may recommend steroids if there is a tumor or growth.
Take extra care of your cat and increase the humidity in your home with a humidifier. Keep your home warm, at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit and clean your cat’s nose with a soft and damp cloth to help her breathe comfortably. Your vet may also recommend adding food supplements to your cat’s diet.
You do not usually have to worry if your normally vocal cat suddenly stops meowing as she may just be resting her voice or is not up to it at the moment. However, if this continues it can be due to health-related reasons like hyperthyroidism, laryngeal paralysis or a throat tumor.