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Why do kittens meow?

Black and grey cat meowing advice
© Shutterstock

When we hear kittens meow it’s possibly one of the cutest sounds cats will make. Their squeaky kitten voices as they call for their mother are quite endearing

By Dawn Parrish

Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:28

There is no doubt that when a kitten meows she is trying to communicate with you. It’s highly likely that she understands what you say to her too. Tiny kittens meow from birth as they “speak” to their mum or shout for food. Just like small babies, they have some extremely loud yells. There are many reasons why kittens meow – here are just a few explanations:

No 1. Kittens begin to meow from birth

First of all, a kitten’s early call is probably going to be for her mum. When she is looking for attention or is hungry, the high-pitched yell will certainly gain mum’s attention. No matter how quiet the kitten is, the mother cat has remarkable hearing that picks up high-pitched tones. Similarly, she can very easily differentiate between the kittens to know which one is screaming out for her.

Kitten meowing in owner's arms
A kitten meows to get your attention©Pixabay

No 2.Your kitten may be feeling lonely

A small kitten is usually an energetic, bundle of fluff. They certainly need an enormous amount of physical and mental stimulation, while they are awake. A crying kitten could just be searching for some attention. Likewise, if you have just adopted a tiny kitten. Of course, she will be missing her mum and siblings and will call out for them. Try to make time during the day for playtimes with kitty. Many feline experts believe that kittens are much happier in pairs. For this reason perhaps consider adopting another kitten too, so they can give each other companionship.

Ginger kitten sleeping
Kittens love companionship©Pixabay

No 3. A kitten that keeps meowing could be confused or lost

When kitten owners first bring their new pet to the home, it’s very tempting to allow her free reign at the house. Imagine how frightening or confusing it can be to have such a large space to explore. A small kitten that meows constantly is probably calling for help. She might be lost in her new surroundings. Perhaps she cannot find her way back to her cat bed or litter box. To help with this problem, restrain her to just a small area that she can call her home for the first week or so. Gradually introduce other rooms to her territory, as she gains confidence.

No 4.Of course, your kitten could be hungry

A kitten is just the same as a human baby when she is hungry. Her meow will be to let the mother cat know she’s ready for her next feed. When she has been weaned and onto more solid food, monitor to see when she does actually cry. You may need to change your feeding schedule to keep her satisfied and happy. Because a young kitten develops rapidly, she needs an adequate food supply at regular intervals.

No 5. Perhaps she needs to go to the toilet

When you first introduce a litter box to a new kitten, it can take some getting used to. Quite often they can be rather fussy when it comes to doing poops. A very young kitten will sometimes cry or meow just before elimination. Certainly, this is a normal action unless the kitten appears to be uncomfortable or straining. If you do notice her straining she could be constipated or have other medical issues. Don’t delay if you think there is another problem. Take medical advice as soon as possible.

Kitten meowing
A meowing kitten may need your help ©Pixabay

No 6. Kittens meowing when in pain or distress

If a kitten is hurt or is suffering, she will very soon let you know. A penetrating, high-pitched meow is a certain sign that something isn’t right in her world. Immediately locate the problem and assess the condition of the kitten. Perhaps she is stuck under the sofa or has someone stepped on her tail?

No 7. A sick kitten will meow

If a cat is feeling under the weather she will let you know with sorrowful cries. The situation is the same with a kitten. If your small pet is lethargic, looks vacant and is meowing pitifully, she is in distress. Illness isn’t always visible to a cat owner at first sight. Some poorly kittens don’t have the strength to cry at all. Keep a check on their behaviour if you suspect something might be wrong.

Often, pet owners ask “why does my kitten keep meowing?” There isn’t always a definite answer, unfortunately. Kittens meow often for no specific reason, it is their way of communicating with both the mother cat and their owners. It’s important that you realise that most kittens do meow for a reason and it’s up to you to discover why.

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