It is downright weird catching your cat meowing at the wall as if he was communicating with an invisible being. But your cat has a reason behind this seemingly odd behavior.
Why your cat is meowing at the wall
Cats meow at walls for a variety of reasons, from detecting pests to cognitive disorders.
1. Pests in your house
Cats can hear sounds that are imperceptible to people. Those sounds include the sound that pests can emit.
If your cat has been staring and meowing intently at the wall, he is probably hearing the movement of pests like mice and rats, cockroaches, bats, squirrels, and other pests that can invade a home.
The walls in your home are perfect for pests that want to stay hidden while in close range to their needs like food and water. And more often than not, you would not know that these invaders have gained a foothold into your home without the help of your pet.
Although it is tempting to ignore your cat’s odd behavior, it would not hurt to check your home if there are indeed pests lurking between the walls and other parts of your home. At worst, you end up wasting a couple of hours looking for nothing. But at best, you can end up saving thousands of dollars preventing damage.
Cats are notorious for being territorial creatures. They guard their territories and the resources within those so closely that their senses are always on alert.
If your cat is meowing at the wall, it is possible that he has sensed the presence of another animal, like a dog or cat. Your cat’s vocalization comes as an offshoot of the presence of a perceived invader.
In such a case, your pet will stop meowing at the wall once he is confident that the other animal has left his territory.
3. Neurological and cognitive disorders
Another possible reason why your cat is meowing at the wall is that he is suffering from a neurological or cognitive disorder.
If your cat stares and meows at the wall after being manic, it is possible that he is suffering from a condition known as feline hyperesthesia. The condition often appears when a cat reaches maturity. Its symptoms include being absent-minded, aggression, rolling skin, and self-mutilation.
If you have an older cat, it is possible that he is suffering from feline cognitive dysfunction or FCD. Cats that suffer from this condition will see a marked decline in their abilities to learn, see, and hear.
Cats will sometimes fixate their attention on things that are inconsequential to humans, like reflections and shadows on the wall.
Here, your cat is simply trying to flex his hunting skills. Of course, this can continue, causing him to create an annoying distraction at home.
To avoid this, you can redirect his attention elsewhere with an interactive toy or one that makes interesting noises.
When you were little, did you speak into the electric fan, amazed by the change in your voice? The same thing can happen when your cat meows at the wall.
Try making sounds while facing the wall. You will notice that your voice changes compared to speaking in an open area.
Your cat may be meowing at the wall because he has discovered that his voice changes when he does that. Plus your cat’s hearing is so superb that he can distinguish those changes, even if those are not noticeable to you.
In a way, your cat may just be playing, amused with the changes in his voice, just like what you did when you spoke through an electric fan when you were young.
If you have moved into a new home, your cat is probably experiencing stress because his routine has been disrupted. And one way that he may be coping with his stress is exhibiting odd behavior like staring and meowing at the wall.
Once his routine is back to normal, you should expect him to go back to his feline ways and stop doing this odd behavior.
7. Attention seeking
Cats are intelligent creatures and develop habits based on the behaviors of their humans.
It is possible that you have encouraged your cat to meow at the wall because he knows that is one way to catch your attention. Perhaps, he learned that meowing at the wall will get you to come to him, and then you will shower him with affection.
Getting your cat to stop meowing at the wall
It can be tempting to ignore this odd behavior in your cat. Cats can be oddballs and you might think that you should just let your pet do this at home.
However, ignoring your cat’s quirks and odd behavior is almost always not a good thing. There is always an underlying reason behind your cat’s actions, especially meowing.
Before brushing off your cat’s meowing, make sure that he is safe and his needs are met. Never punish your cat. You will only risk him disliking you.
Once you are sure that his immediate needs are met, the next thing that you need to do is to investigate the underlying cause.
For example, it does not hurt to check your home for pests, especially if you have recently moved in. Or if your cat is meowing at the wall and exhibiting other symptoms like aggression or absent-mindedness, you should schedule an immediate trip to the vet.
As much as possible, discourage your cat’s excessive meowing. Encouraging him will only make him meow more and louder because he knows that he can get your attention that way. Nip this bad behavior in the bud by ignoring him when he is noisy and reward him when he is quiet.
Do not ignore your cat’s meowing
Living with a cat means finding the balance between meeting his needs and discouraging bad behavior.
If your cat’s meowing at the wall has become annoying, do not ignore it as a mere quirk. Investigate the reason behind it instead of dismissing your cat.
Image: istockphoto.com / NiseriN