Why Is My Cat Meowing Like That? A Guide to Your Cat’s Language

Cats have their own fun and funky language that is adorable to listen to, and it takes time and patience to understand. There are only a few sounds that cats make, including meowing, but what does each distinct call mean?

Technically, there is no foolproof guide that is 100% accurate, as all kittens have their personalities and ways of communicating. Read our Moline, IL, animal hospital‘s blog post to find out about the most comment types of meowing and the common reason behind the meows.

cat meowing moline, il

Why Do Cats Meow?

Cats are intelligent creatures, and they constantly change their mind and their habits to fit their needs. For example, a kitten may start quietly with their family members. However, as time goes on, this kitten may find that meowing or mewing gets a reaction from his humans/owners that get him the result he wants.

The sounds and the pitches are different as well. A higher pitch usually means a cat wants something urgently, like food or water. However, when the pitch or tone of voice is smooth and low, this usually means your cat is tired from communicating but still wants something. It is not an emergency, though, or a reason to panic.

Common Types of Meowing and What They Mean

Listed below are the common types of meowing and their distinct definitions.

Loud Meowing

It’s the cry most of us have heard before. Cats will loudly meow or cry out to their owners and other pets if they want something they cannot get themselves. For example, your cat may loudly cry out to get your attention if there is not enough food in its bowl. They cry and sound. They make sounds desperate and almost echo through homes!


Although a purring sound is technically not a meow, this is still a common sound that pet owners will experience. Cat owners should be familiar with their cat’s purring; this signifies that a cat is satisfied and happy.

Cats will make a rumbling sound in their stomachs that creep up to the back of their throats when they are satisfied and happy. This is also a common sound when these same kittens want attention, or more specifically, affection.

Distressed Cry

A distressed cry is a somber cry or meow to hear. It tends to be longer and more profound than a meow for food or attention. Instead, if your pet is hurt, they will yowl or cry out loud in desperation. If your cat is suddenly meowing profoundly and in a distressed tone, it does not hurt to check on them to ensure they are okay.


Just like dogs, cats also create whining sounds when they are tired from trying to get your attention. This adorable form of communication is rare and usually left to when the cat is desperate and no longer wants to vocally share their feelings.

If you have let your cat cry out without bringing them attention and they start to lightly whine or whimper, it is likely because they are bored and tired. This saddening whine is sweet and nothing to worry about!

Hyper Yowl

Have you ever heard a cat make a yowling sound? This is a hard chattering sound that is difficult to explain. However, a yowl sounds a lot like a howl, but with a tight lip and a high-pitched tone. Your cat may do this for attention or because of excitement.

Usually, cats will hyper or loudly yowl or chatter their teeth and throat when they are in hunting mode and something, like a bird or a bug, has caught their attention.

How to Distinguish Between the Different Meows

The hardest part about confidentially communicating with a cat, though, is trying to understand the different meows and their meanings.

First, you will need to precisely distinguish what the sound your cat made was. Then, look at your cat’s body language. Is something different? Are they reaching out to you or something in the room? Cats are curious and also athletic. They will move around and circle what they want. 

Have a Question About Your Cat’s Meowing? Reach Out to Our Moline, IL, Veterinarians

Overall, cats are adorable and sweet pets that are not easy to understand. While they have their own unique way of communicating, it is still fun to try and understand. Cats will meow at different pitches and for different variations of length to get their owner’s and loved ones’ attention. 

If you have any questions about your cat’s meowing, make sure to let our Moline, IL, veterinarians know during your cat’s next vet visit. To schedule your cat’s exam, give us a call at (309) 524-5696