Cats usually yowl when they’re unhappy or dissatisfied, either with something related to their living conditions or their dissatisfaction with other cats. Unlike the more positive meow, a yowl is much deeper in tone and drawn out longer. Feeling worried, threatened, or uncomfortable, or seeking a mate can trigger a cat to yowl.
In this quick article, you’re going to learn all about how and why cats yowl. As you’ll discover, cats have very sophisticated ways of communicating. A yowl is just one of many methods cats use, and it’s very distinct from a regular meow.
Let’s find out why.
What’s The Difference Between A Yowl And A Meow?
Most people will easily confuse a yowl and a meow. To untrained ears, both types of cat noises sound very similar. But to those who own cats or have lived around them long enough, there are subtle differences.
Different Tones and Lengths
For starters, yowls and meows have different tones. Meow is a more positive-sounding higher tone that you can tell is somewhat optimistic. Meows are also relatively shorter in length compared to other cat noises.
On the other hand, yowls sound much deeper, and you can tell that something isn’t right with the cat. Plus, when a cat yowls, they do so for a few seconds longer than a regular meow.
The more time you spend around cats, the better you’ll become at differentiating between these two sounds that cats make.
Meowing To Humans, Yowling To Other Cats
Here’s another important difference between yowls and meows. Typically, cats meow as a way to communicate with human beings. Cats only meow to each other while they’re still kittens. When they enter adulthood, it becomes a cat-to-human mode of communication.
On the other hand, cats use yowling to communicate mostly with cats. Sure, there are some situations when a cat may yowl to a human, but that’s less common.
So, if you can hear a cat yowling somewhere, there’s a very high chance that they’re ‘talking’ to another feline in front of them. Or at least, they’re communicating with one that’s very close by.
Reasons Your Cat Is Yowling
If your cat is yowling, there’s usually a good reason behind it. If you want to understand what your cat is trying to tell you, you’ll have to narrow down the possible reasons behind the yowling.
Once you find the reason with the highest likelihood, you’ll be able to give the cat what it needs.
Here are a few possible reasons for you to consider.
The Cat Is Hungry
Let’s start with one of the most straightforward reasons to investigate. If your cat is yowling, there’s a chance that it’s feeling very hungry or thirsty.
It won’t take much effort or time to rule out this reason. Fill up the cat’s food and water bowls, and see if they’ll stop yowling.
The Cat Is Bored
While it’s true that cats love to sleep most of the day, they also need entertainment and physical activity. A cat needs plenty of playtime with toys, other cats, and even human beings.
So, when a cat is left all alone for too long with nothing to do, they might start yowling. Cats do this as a way of calling for attention and expressing how they feel.
The Cat Is Lonely
This point will sound a bit confusing. Cats are known to be solitary creatures that value their privacy, right? Well, yes and no. Cats are very protective of their personal space, but they still need to have people around.
That’s why you’ll often hear cats yowling when their owners are gone to work for the day. Just imagine if you were stuck in a home or apartment all by yourself throughout the day.
You’ll undoubtedly feel lonely as well. When cats feel this way, they’ll yowl as a way of calling out to see if there are any other cats or people nearby.
The Cat Wants Attention
Yes, cats indeed need lots of personal space. But once in a while, they’ll need personalised attention as well. If your cat is clingy, it might jump on your lap or follow you around the house. But if they’re a bit more reserved, they might just yowl from a distance.
Remember: yowling is also a cat-to-cat form of communication! Even if you’re not around, cats might yowl at each other for the same reasons. They seek affection from felines of the opposite sex by yowling and showing more affectionate body language.
If you think that your cat is yowling at you for attention, take some time and give it to them! Simple petting, playful kisses, and even talking to your cat will help it feel loved and cared for.
The Cat Is Trying To Mate
Cats also yowl at each other when they’re trying to mate. To find out if this is the case, pay attention to how the cat’s body language when it’s yowling at other cats.
Cats in heat will have very affectionate body language. Sometimes, they may roll around on the ground in front of their potential mates as well.
The Cat Is Feeling Threatened
Quite often, people hear a cat yowl in the middle of the night somewhere outside the home or around the neighborhood. That usually happens when a cat enters the territory of another feline.
When a cat crosses into its territory, it might feel threatened and try its best to chase the intruder away. That’s why cats will yowl, sometimes for hours at a time. It’s a desperate attempt at scaring off the unwelcome feline away from their territory.
The Cat Might Be Unwell
Sometimes, cats also yowl when they feel unwell. Yowling, in this case, might be a sign that they’re injured or are suffering from pain. If you think this is what’s causing your cat to yowl, you can try to check the cat for any cuts or broken bones. Do it gently, though!
Older cats also yowl for similar reasons. When cats start to age, their eyesight and ability to hear both start to get worse with time. As a result, they might begin yowling more often than before whenever they feel lost or confused.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Yowling?
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why cats might start yowling. If you’d like to stop or reduce your cat’s yowling, the first thing you must do is to find the cause that’s triggering them to do so.
You’ll need to tailor your approach depending on the reason the cat is yowling in the first place. Whatever it is, always remember that punishing your cat for yowling is never the answer. Doing that will only make your pet afraid of you, and that will only weaken the relationship that you have with your pet.
As you try to identify the reasons for the yowling, here are a few approaches you can take to reduce how often they do it.
If Your Cat Is Hungry, Bored, Or Needs Attention
If you think that your cat is yowling for one of these reasons, then the solutions are quite simple.
If you feed your cat on a schedule, you might want to consider giving them a slightly larger portion of food each time.
You can also invest in some newer toys for your cat to play with so that they have more ways of keeping themselves occupied throughout the day. Plus, the more they play, the healthier they’ll be!
Lastly, spend a bit more quality time with your beloved pet. Keeping your cat on you while you brush its fur will go a long way to making them feel loved.
If Your Cat Is Threatened Or Feeling Insecure
If you’re losing sleep because cats are yowling at each other in the middle of the night, then you need to try and break them apart. Be careful, though! Never try to separate two fighting cats with your own hands, as they might get aggressive and injure you instead.
Try making loud, clapping noises or spray them with water from a distance. You see, cats that are fighting for territory will continue yowling for hours if you leave them to it. If you want the yowling to stop, you’ll have to intervene somehow.
If Your Cat Is Unwell, Injured, Or Old
If you think that your cat is yowling because it’s sick, hurt, or getting old, the best thing for you to do is to take it for a medical checkup. Your trusted veterinarian will be able to figure out what’s wrong with the cat and diagnose them accurately.
If the vet tells you that the cat is unwell or injured, then you can help the cat on its journey to recovery. However, if the cat is getting much older, then you’ll be able to provide it with much better care and attention.
As you can see, cats yowl for a variety of reasons. If you’re asking yourself ‘Why is my cat yowling?” and would like to help them stop doing it, you have to narrow down the reasons that are making them yowl in the first place. Once you do that, you’ll be able to cater to the cat’s needs much more effectively.