All You Need to Know about a Cat Crying or Meowing

cat crying or meowing

There are some cat breeds like Siamese cats, which are very vocal. A cat crying or meowing is their way of communicating with us, with other cats, and with other animals. Hunger, pain, and attention are some common reasons why cats may meow. Problems start to arise when a cat meows continuously that the owner begins to question, “why is my cat meowing nonstop?”

For more information on how you can stop your cat from crying or meowing incessantly, you can take a look at the article, Solutions to stop cats from crying and meowing. There, we discuss in detail what a cat owner should do to stop the crying and meowing behavior from turning into a habit.

It is normal for cats to meow sometimes because that is the equivalent of humans talking. We cannot completely stop cats from crying, but if the vocalizing becomes constant, you might want to find out why it is behaving that way and control the issue. Continue reading to find out the different reasons for the cat crying or meowing behavior.

The answers to “why is my cat meowing nonstop?”

There is not one single answer to why your cat may be meowing. Sometimes cats meow because they are hungry, sometimes they meow simply to greet you. Some breeds of cats meow more than other kinds, while some cats may be meowing and crying because it is in pain. While you cannot eliminate some meowing issues like a cat crying for food, but you can control your cat crying for attention.

The following are the main reasons why a cat may cry and meow.


A hungry cat is a vocal cat. Your cat may be meowing because it is feeling hungry, just like when babies cry when they are hungry. Since they cannot verbally tell us in words about their needs, cats will resort to meowing until you realize why it is meowing and give it some food to eat. While giving it its food, remember to lay down its plate only after it stops meowing.

Cats, especially those who live in apartments, cannot find their own food. They depend entirely on their owners to feed them, and sometimes, owners might forget to feed them. We cannot blame a cat for excessive meowing if it is asking for food. A cat will ask for food and meow every time you enter the kitchen or when it is feeding time.

One thing to be aware of is when a cat asks for food a little too often. This habit may be a sign of a more severe behavioral issue, and you might need to get a vet or expert to check it. Otherwise, this behavior of a cat crying for food is completely normal, and you need not stress yourself over it.


Cats do not react to pain as dramatically as humans do. However, when a cat is in a lot of pain, the cat crying and meowing becomes frequent, and sometimes, they may refuse to stop. A cat meowing in distress may have underlying medical issues. You should take your cat to a vet to check the problem and stop it before doing any permanent damage.

Some medical conditions may cause a cat to feel hungry or thirsty. Both of these causes a cat to meow until the cat owner satisfies their hunger or thirst. Illnesses like Urinary Tract Infection can be very painful for cats and other animals alike. Meowing and crying is their way of dealing with pain.

Wants attention

A common misperception that people have about cats is: cats like to be alone all the time. This presumption is, however, not correct. Most cats are playful by nature and love to be in the company of a playmate. When a cat wants you to play with it, it may start to meow. A cat crying for attention is not as rare as it may sound.

Sometimes, a cat keeps meowing at you with hopes that you respond and talk to it. Cats love to get petted and may meow at you for such attention. You should give your cat attention and love, but always remember that giving it attention while it is meowing will encourage this behavior and turn it into a habit.

When your cat meows or cries a little too much for attention, wait for it to stop before you give it what it wants. This way, the cat will learn that crying does not get what it wants, but staying quiet does.


Many illnesses may cause a cat to constantly meow and cry. Some of these problems and issues are:


Hyperthyroidism is a common disease caused by the excessive production of thyroid hormones present on the neck of a cat. Since thyroid hormones affect almost every organ in the body, untreated hyperthyroidism will lead to secondary problems.

To diagnose this disease, you will need to take your cat to a vet. Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are significant weight loss, although there is an increase in appetite. The cat will want to urinate frequently and have an almost insatiable thirst for water. All these causes the cat to meow and cry more often than average.

Feline hyperesthesia syndrome

Some other names for this disease are “twitch-skin” syndrome or rippling-skin disease. It is not an easy condition to diagnose, and you will need a vet’s help or an expert’s help to treat it. This syndrome is rare and occurs more in adult cats regardless of the breed.

A cat with this disease becomes very sensitive at the lower back region, and the skin on their back seems to ripple and move, hence the name of the condition. This condition causes a cat to cry or meow fervently and lick or bite its end. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome can cause a cat to enter episodes where they run about frantically for around 20 minutes until it passes.

If a cat is showing signs of this condition, you should take it to a vet to confirm. Cat owners might have to visit the veterinary neurologist for running some tests and figuring out a treatment plan.

Urinary Tract Infection

The symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) are similar to the signs of UTI in humans. It includes the inability to pass urine, losing control over bladder function, bloody urine, and vomiting. If a cat is suffering from UTI, cat crying or meowing is a widespread occurrence. If you are thinking, “why is my cat meowing nonstop?” it might be because your cat has UTI and is in a lot of pain and discomfort.

Meowing as a sign of greeting

Contrary to popular beliefs, most cats like their owners a lot. Sometimes, cats may meow at you just to say hello. If you see your cat in the hallway and it meows at you, it only means that the cat acknowledges your presence and is happy to see you. This meowing usually stops in a short time. If your cat is crying or meowing for longer than usual, you might want to get it checked.

Meowing out of loneliness

If a cat owner does not stay at home for long periods in a day, the cat may get lonely without anyone around. In some cases, a cat keeps meowing at the door when you leave. This behavior is normal and only means that it is feeling lonely and wants a friend with whom it can play or hang out.

You can control a cat crying or meowing out of loneliness by leaving toys behind so that it can keep itself occupied while you are gone. Another effective method to stop a cat meowing for attention when it is feeling lonely is to adopt a second cat. Experts encourage the adoption of two kittens at a time so that they can keep each other company.

Stress or anxiety

Cats are susceptible to stress, and the cat crying or meowing because it feels stressed is not an uncommon occurrence. Many things may stress a cat out. If there is any change in the environment, like changing its home or the cat owner’s home, changing your routine along with the cat’s, or an illness that the cat has contracted, a cat may feel stressed and anxious about the whole situation.

To calm or soothe itself, the cat may meow and cry. A cat owner should try to identify the reason why their cat is feeling stressed and take care of it. In case you cannot figure out what is stressing her, consider giving it attention and affection, along with quiet time so that it will stay calm. Cats bond with their caretakers very deeply, and if they lose a loved one, it may become vocal and seem like the cat crying for no reason.

Old age

Just like humans become slightly unaware of their surroundings and get disoriented as they grow old, even cats go through the same thing. An old cat can contract cat dementia or feline cognitive dysfunction, which is equivalent to human amnesia.

A cat crying for no reason is a typical behavior amongst cats who have feline cognitive dysfunction. Physical and mental exercises can help to reduce the symptoms of cat dementia. A cat owner should try not to introduce sudden changes in the cat’s life because an old cat has low memory power and may feel puzzled and lost.

Adding antioxidants, Omega-3, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E and C to a cat’s diet may help to improve the cognitive function of a cat with feline cognitive dysfunction. Get the advice of a vet or animal expert before adding any supplement to the cat’s diet.

Asking for favors

When you lock a door, and the cat wants to leave the room, it will meow to get you to open the door. Some foster cats do not like it when you keep a door closed, so even if it does not want to enter a room, the cat keeps meowing at the door for you to open it.

Nocturnal meowing

Cats are partially nocturnal creatures meaning that they become more active at night. A cat crying or meowing at night is common amongst younger cats or kittens whose uncorrupted instincts tell them that night time is the perfect time to hunt for food. After a cat grows older, it gets used to the cat owner’s routine, and the cat crying or meowing at night reduces.

Your cat is in heat and ready to mate

If you do not spay your cat, it may meow or yowl when it is in heat. A cat in the heat makes sounds that are strangely loud and eerie. Cat owners become concerned if they hear these yowling and crying for the first time. Sometimes, it might even sound like the cat is in a lot of pain. Elderly cats yowl to attract mates.

You can know when your cat is in heat through noticing signs like an increased amount of meowing, spraying of urine, rolling on the floor, seeking the cat owner’s attention at every given possibility, and even begging to go outside.

The usual duration for a female cat to be in the heat is four to seven days. An elderly cat yowling most definitely means that it is in heat. One thing to keep in mind is that all cats, irrespective of sex, yowls. Female cats yowl to show that they are ready to receive a male company, and male cats yowl so that female cats will accept them.

Cat crying at night meaning

As mentioned earlier, cats are naturally nocturnal creatures and become more active at night unless they have gotten used to their owner’s routine. Some reasons why a cat may be crying at night are as follows:


Cats are animals which like to have playmates and company at all times. At night, it might not have its owners to play or spend time with, and this may cause cat crying or meowing at night.


Kittens or an adopted cat crying and meowing at night maybe because it is not familiar with being alone. From birth, kittens are always in the company of their mother or litter siblings. During the first few days of adoption, the cat meowing for attention will be a problem for the cat owners.

Inability to hear themselves

Old cats may vocalize at lot at night because they cannot hear how loud they are meowing in real life. With old age, a cat’s hearing and eyesight decline. Movements may scare them or alert them even if they are harmless.

Meowing at nocturnal creatures

Cats have excellent eyesight, even in the dark. They can see small insects or creatures very clearly. Cats crying at night meaning may be that they see something and are trying to communicate with it.

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome

A cat suffering from the disease called feline cognitive dysfunction syndrome is unable to see well in the dark and get disoriented without light. This disorientation may cause the cat to cry or meow at night. You can help a cat suffering from this syndrome by putting up some night lights here and there.

Midnight snack

Your cat crying or meowing at night may mean that it is feeling hungry or thirsty and wants a snack and drink. Usually, this behavior is widespread amongst newly adopted cats and kittens who are not familiar with the current cat owner’s routine.

Hunting time

The instincts of a cat will tell it that once the sun goes down, it is time to hunt. Your cat crying or meowing at night for no reason might be because it thinks it is time to hunt for food.

Answer to, “Why is my cat meowing at night in a new house?”

The reason for a cat meowing at night in the new house is because of unfamiliarity. The cat is in a completely new environment and might feel a little puzzled and confused at the change. Newly adopted kittens or adult cats may also meow after going to a new home because everything might seem new to them. The cat may get overwhelmed at the sudden changes.

To stop the cat from meowing at night, a cat owner can try the following measures.

  • Allow your cat to roam around and get familiar with its new surroundings.
  • Give it enough attention so that even though the house and environment is new, you are still the same loving owner.
  • You can use safe and non-toxic pheromone sprays to calm your cat down.

Different kinds of cats sounds and what they may mean

Cats make different kinds of sounds to communicate with us and each other. Some of the most common sounds which cats make and what they mean are:


Meowing is the most common sound that a cat makes. If a cat is meowing, it usually means that the cat wants something like food, attention, or entry to another room. If the meow is longer than usual, it may be a sound of worry. In some cases, your cat may meow to tell you that it is feeling lonely.


A cat’s purr is probably one of the most adorable sounds that a cat or kitten can make. A purring cat means it is happy and likes the company of whoever is with it. In some anxiety rising situations, a cat may start to purr. You can differentiate between a contented purr and a concerned purr by the body language of the cat. If the cat’s body seems to be stiff and it pulls its ears back, it might be a worry purr.


A hiss is the only sound that has only negative meanings. A hissing cat could be alarmed, scared, or ready to fight. Cats accompany the hiss with an arched back and spiked hair with the tail shooting straight up. This posture gives off the image that what is happening does not amuse the cat in the least, and it would like to get out of the situation.


Both female and male adult cats yowl during mating season to receive and attract each other. You can consider yowling as the mating call of cats. This sound is loud and unlike the usual meows that we often hear.


We usually associate the caterwaul with males calling out each other for duels during the mating season. However, even females caterwaul to find prospective mating partners.


A cat growls when it is angry or agitated. Cats may also growl to indicate fear and territorial threat. Cats accompany growls and snarls with puffed fur, twitching tail, and alarmed ears.