Have you ever been woken up by a cry, thinking the hounds of hell are coming to get you, only to realize that it’s your furry companion howling their heart out?
You might’ve also noticed your cat yowling as you’re about to leave the house, or simply find your cat meowing at their half-empty bowl.
Have you noticed the pattern?
If you did then you’re all thinking what I’m thinking.
Why do cats meow in another room? For most cats, it’s an emotional response. Whether your cat is hungry, lonely, or in need of attention, meowing in another room is their way to communicate their needs. Mewing or yowling could also be a sign of underlying illness, injury, or stress.
If you’re ready to uncover the mysteries of your cat’s meowing coming from another room, we’ve got all the information you’ll need.
The Origin Of Your Cat’s Meow
Throughout human history, the domestication of many animals has resulted in the development of different forms of communication and understanding of each other. For a long time, domesticated cats were ignored by scientists, despite cat owners claiming the brilliance of their furry familiars.
According to statistics cats are the number one pet in the US, as they exceed dogs by 4.5 million. Europe and Russia seem to also be in favor of cats and the difference seems to be even bigger. This favoritism helped scientists study the domesticated feline and explore their mysterious world.
What was uncovered regarding feline vocalization was the fact that “the domestic cat is the only member of the Felidae (meaning all feline species), to form social relationships with humans,” according to Anthrozoologist John W.S. Bradshaw. It’s truly amazing that the pet, which was considered the most indifferent, evolved their communication skills to interact with us.
This becomes even more clear if you observe how cats interact with each other. Vocalization isn’t part of their vocabulary when it comes to their peers, instead, they use body language and scent to express their feelings and needs. Bradshaw supports this by claiming that “cohesion in colonies of cats is expressed as, and probably maintained, by allorubbing and allogrooming.”
It seems that cats have adapted to survive along with humans and their usage of meows has played a crucial role in it. Cornell University evolutionary psychology study, conducted by Nicholas Nicastro states that, “Though they lack language, cats have become very skilled at managing humans to get that they want – basically food, shelter, and a little human affection,” he also adds that, “cats are domesticated animals that have learned what levers to push, what sounds to make to manage our emotions, and when we respond, we too are domesticated animals.”
So, perhaps the origin of the meow lays in the domestication of humans by cats, but we still have to discover why do cats meow in another room? Since all their meows have a certain meaning depending on the urgency in their tone, this yowling certainly happens for a reason!
Why Do Cats Meow In Another Room?
It’s important and helpful to understand what kind of sound your little furry friend is producing. Of course, no one expects cat parents to be fluent in “cat” but understanding basic tones could be helpful.
According to a recent journal, while feline vocal repertoire is wide, reaching up to 21 different vocalizations, it should also be judged along with other factors. The environment, their needs, their body language, and their relationship to us determine the meaning behind their meows. So, what defines the meow we hear coming from another room?
1. Your Cat Is In Heat
First of all, it’s important to single out the possibility of your cat being in heat. While cats don’t usually communicate vocally with each other the drawn-out cry also known as yowling is a sound, they produce to get the attention of other cats and to let them know they’re in heat.
According to the ASPCA, “Females yowl to advertise their receptivity to males, and males yowl to gain access to females.” Other signs of a cat in heat are their general behavior as stated by the Veterinary Centers of America. Cats can become more affectionate and demanding. They’ll seek more attention; they’ll arch their back and most importantly they’ll become very vocal.
Listen to the sound this calico cat in heat makes!
As we talked about it before, spaying a housecat is important for their own health. It has been proven that spayed cats have a longer life span and the risk of certain types of cancers is reduced. If you’re uncertain there are many official studies supporting this idea.
These studies discuss the risks of intact female cats developing pyometra (a potentially fatal uterine infection) and other cancers of the reproductive system. Neutered male cats similarly have a significantly smaller risk of getting testicular cancer and prostate cancer.
It’s also important to remember for owners who don’t have strictly housebound cats, that not spaying and neutering their feline companions will result in stray kittens being born on the streets. If you’ve got a cat in heat you can find a list of low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the globe thanks to PetSmart by clicking here.
2. So You Satisfy Their Basic Needs
Hunger: Yowling or excessive meowing can be a sign of hunger. Your cat is asking you to feed them or in some cases cats want their owners to watch them while they eat. This can oftentimes occur during your sleeping time. I personally had a struggle with my cat who’d cry for food in the middle of the night. My automatic wet food feeder really helped me solve my cat’s nighttime cravings!
Water: You should also be on the lookout for an empty water bowl. Even if it was full before you went to bed, your kitty might’ve accidentally turned it over during play.
If you notice your kitty’s water untouched then perhaps your cat doesn’t like the bowl itself. Consider a waterfall bowl that will give your kitty the illusion that they’re out in the wild and it might also be sturdy enough not to tip over.
Toilet: There are cats that can’t stand the sight of a dirty litterbox and it’s completely understandable. It’s also understandable for a working and often times tired cat parent to forget this little nuisance, only to hear his clean-obsessed friend meowing about it1
Of course, if you know that your kitty has been fed and that their litterbox is sparkling then there might be a different problem to be solved.
3. Your Cat Wants Attention
For some, this could be the most obvious sign. While most of the world tries to convince us that cats are low maintenance and they couldn’t care less about their owners, cat parents know this to be false. Not only do we know it, but scientists also support this idea!
Kristyn Vitale, an animal behavior scientist at Oregon State University, supports the existence of a human-cat bond and says that, “This idea that cats don’t really care about people or respond to them isn’t holding up. Dr. Vitale and her colleagues conducted a study in 2017 and found that, “the majority of cats prefer interacting with a person overeating or playing with a toy.”
A 2019 study, showed that our feline companions adjust their behavior according to how much attention a person gives them. What you give is what you get am I right?
If a cat is confined or restricted to another room, they’ll cry to call for their favorite human, either to cuddle or play. You might find your cat meowing even louder at you once you enter the room. Some face and body rubbing against you might follow or they’ll flop down in front of you so you can pet their belly.
It’s important to give your kitty the attention they need, but it’s also important to have certain boundaries. If you constantly go to your cat when they’re crying, specifically after all their needs were met, then your cat might be taking advantage of you. Perhaps try teaching them that you’ll pet them when they’re quiet and at certain times. In other words, you could create a routine that suits both of you.
4. Your Cat Is Lonely
Your cat might be crying because they have the blues of being away from you or they might be bored and want to play. Loneliness in cats can be caused by our constant absence due to work, school, and life itself. Obviously, we don’t have to be with our cats every minute of the day, (I doubt this would sound ideal to them), but we should be able to dedicate some of our time to our fur babies.
According to this study published in 2020, destructive behavior followed by excessive vocalization are signs of separation anxiety. In extreme cases, domestic cats can urinate in inappropriate places, show signs of depression and apathy or even aggressive tendencies.
Separation related problems are determined by the quality of cat-human interaction. It could also be the result of the loss or separation from another cat. Since cats can become bonded there’s a great possibility that in losing their cat-friend they’ll use meowing as a reaction. Perhaps the other room has still the other cat’s scent and they’re calling out to them.
5.Your Cat Is Stressed
This could also fall into the “I’m lonely” category since it’s something that could easily cause stress to your kitty, or again the loss of a friend. But stressful situations can be caused by hundreds of factors. Most of these factors could be connected to some change in your cat’s routine or environment, even one that we would consider minor.
There is research supporting the idea that even healthy cats could act sick or develop behavioral problems because of stress. Perhaps you should look for more signs of distress apart from meowing in another room. Your kitty might be eating less or even refusing to eat. Vomiting, and not going to the toilet, or not using it the right way, could also be signs of stress.
Some cats use their baby behaviors like kneading and biting blankets excessively to relieve the stress. Grooming could also become a soothing technique that could lead to hair loss. In this case, make sure your kitty gets your love and attention, help them cope with the changes that might be occurring.
As always when you find anything disturbing in your cat’s behavior, a visit to the vet could shed some light on your cat’s condition.
6.Your Cat Needs Your Help
Cats can be very mischievous as they run around the house, climbing on top of places we’ve no idea they could reach. If you hear a loud yowling at any time of the day you might find your cat stuck.
I’ve found my older cat looking down at me from my closet, too afraid to come down. It took me a moment to find him among the boxes stuffed up there and when I did, I could only laugh at his sad cry and googly eyes. Of course, I helped him down, but ever since that happened, I can hear him at least once a month crying from up there, begging me to get him down.
7.Your Cat Wants To Go Outside
This could be relatable to both strictly indoor cats and outdoor cats. Cats in heat can be oftentimes found crying in a room with a balcony or a window to attract another cat.
Sometimes they may simply cry when they see a passing stray cat, whether they’re neutered or not. Males tend to be feistier, so if they see another male cat, they might end up yowling their masculine energy at them.
8.Your Cat Is Aging
This is one is for the fellow cat parents whose babies are in the elderly season. Getting older means that our bodies become more fragile, as well as the mind and it’s not so different when it comes to our kitties.
Your cat’s yowling could be caused by a condition called, cognitive dysfunction, also known as dementia. According to ASPCA, “cognitive decline – referred to as feline cognitive dysfunction, or FCD – affects more than 55% of cats aged 11 to 15 years and more than 80% of cats aged 16 to 20 years.
Your cat might be meowing in another room because they’re disoriented or because they need constant contact. Cats suffering from this dysfunction can become clingy. Their tone is usually more urgent, and it occurs more during the nighttime.
Your local veterinary could help you understand this condition and the changes it can bring to your feline companion. Understanding brings compassion, but it can also give you the right tools to deal with your kitty in a helpful and loving way.
9.Your Cat Might Be Sick
Of course, even young cats can develop health problems and yowling could be a sign of some sickness or pain that your kitty is enduring. Cats can be very good at hiding their pain so it might go unnoticed.
If you notice your cat mewing in another room and you can’t figure out why then make a full check-up at the vet. Yowling could be caused by conditions like arthritis, bladder infections, hyperthyroidism, hypertension, etc. which your vet should be able to look into. The sooner you find out the source of your cat’s pain, you’ll have more possibilities of treating it.
10.It Runs In The Family
The fact that your kitty is chatty, whether they talk with you in another room or at you as soon as you wake up, could have something to do with their breed. It’s been discussed for some time now that Siamese cats considered to be very chatty and they have a range of different sounds they produce.
The Maine coon breed is also considered to be chatty, known for the chittering sounds they make. There could be more cat breeds out there that are known to be quite talkative, so perhaps you should look up your kitty’s breed and find out if it’s just how they were built.
Why Do Cats Meow In Another Room At Night?
Our cat’s desperate cries in the middle of the night could be an invitation or a plea. They might seek our attention in the form of play and petting and as mentioned earlier, an empty bowl of food or water could also be a reason enough to call for us.
Cats are creatures of the night and that’s when they come out to hunt. Even in the comfort of our homes, cats still need to satisfy their natural instinct for hunting during nighttime. Because most cats spend their days sleeping and gathering their energy the only time, they can howl into the moon is the moment we decide to close our eyes.
Some cats can become quite vocal when they’re looking for their prey, in our case looking for their stuffed mice. They seem to produce this vocalization as they try to reach their “snack”. Like when a cat chirps when they see birds, imitating in a sense their sounds.
They Don’t Have Access To Your Bedroom
Some cat parents prefer to keep their bedroom private, while others keep the doors closed to keep out the hunting cries from waking them up. But one of the reasons your kitty might be crying specifically in the middle of the night is because the door is closed and you’re on the other side of it.
I’ve spent years sleeping in the same bed with my kitties, but as I’m growing older, I’ve noticed that my sleep has gotten worse. Of course, I don’t blame my cats entirely for it, but it can be difficult to have a good and restful sleep when you’re left with one-third of the bed, usually in an awkward position.
I’ve decided to keep my bedroom door closed for my back’s sake and I do hear the occasional cry now and again as they play or complain. But with time I’ve noticed that they’ve learned that my room is off-limits during the late hours, and surprisingly they seem to respect that.
Should you answer your cat’s call?
Loud excessive meowing, especially in late hours can become tiresome, but ignoring your kitty shouldn’t be the answer. Unless of course, you’re completely sure that your cat is healthy and well looked after, and the only reason they’re meowing is to get what they want.
By creating a routine and sticking to your rules you could teach your kitty not to cry in another room. If it’s a nighttime habit, you could use an automatic food feeder to give them nighttime snacks. Make their sleeping space comfortable with a good bed and loads of toys hidden around their space to keep them occupied. Even in keeping your cat away from your bedroom, love is the correct tactic!
Remember, try not to answer their call immediately, but when they’ve become quiet instead. Give them a treat and congratulate them on being quiet. Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis states that any attention could be viewed as rewarding.
Don’t shout at them and as we always advise, positive reinforcement is the only way to instill into your cat the idea that they shouldn’t cry when you’re sleeping. But if you simply have a chatty cat that loves to meow when they’re playing then perhaps it’s you who should accept their quirky little habits and meow back at them.
Who could expect that cats can be so chatty and demanding? Well if you’re a cat parent for long enough, then you’re probably aware of it. Does it make us love them any less? I don’t think so!
Hearing a cat meowing and yowling in another room can be scary and alarming, and in a sense, that’s what that sound is supposed to do. For one reason or another our kitties ask for our attention and it’s our responsibility to see to their needs.
We’ll do anything to keep them happy right?
Did you find this information relatable? Or have you got a better answer for, why do cats meow in another room? In any case, let us know the reason behind your cat’s meowing!