Why Are Some Cats More Talkative Than Others?
I was absolutely spoiled with my first cat. She had an upper respiratory infection when I got her that affected her meow. Which meant, for the most part, she really didn’t meow much.
With the other three, each one definitely meowed. And each one had their own reasons for meowing.
Between the meows, chirps, and chatter, it can be tough to hold up your end of the conversation. Talkative cats love to communicate with their humans.
While some of your co-workers may look at you funny for having full conversations with your cat, you’re not alone. A talkative cat isn’t abnormal, but it does say a lot about your cat’s personality, behavior, and potentially even their health.
If you really start to pay attention, you can even start to figure out why they are meowing! But why do some cats meow and some cats not? Let’s deep dive into that.
They’re Asking for Attention
One of the most common reasons why some cats are more talkative than others is because they want attention.
In fact, the ONLY reason Phoebe will meow is if she is trying to get my attention and rubbing up against me and batting at me isn’t working. It’s actually adorable.
Cats can meow for attention in all sorts of ways. It could come in the form of a nice head scratch, a notification that their food bowl requires attention, or even that they want to be around you.
Cats learn quickly that we humans can be easily manipulated. If their meowing resulted in a full food bowl one time in the past, they’ll know to repeat that trick again and again.
The same goes for when they want head rubs and butt scratches. (Or in my case, when they want to go outside and explore in their harnesses).
Now some cats are more talkative than others because some cats have the personality where they WANT to meow to get your immediate attention. Others may not meow as often because they know rubbing up against you will do the trick, or banging their food bowls is sufficient.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Meowing For Attention
By responding to our talkative cats, we inadvertently reinforce their behavior. Which honestly, it is a personal preference.
The more we respond, the more they talk to get what they want. If you are like me, then you love that your cat knows how to communicate with you in their own way, and maybe you even have ways of communicating back to them.
If you’re not a fan of your cat’s attention-seeking meows, you can try to reverse the behavior by ignoring their chatter. Only give them food and affection when they’re being quiet.
I wouldn’t start “punishing” them until their meowing gets out of control. They are trying to communicate with you, and if they feel like you aren’t listening, it will show in their behaviors.
Lastly, if you are going to ignore their meowing for attention, make sure you replace that habit. You could always pet them when they are rubbing up against you, or when they are nearby so they know that meowing is not the ONLY way to get your attention.
Your Cat Could Be Bored Or Sad
Even if your talkative cat isn’t explicitly meowing for attention, their increased vocalizations could be a sign they’re bored, lonely, or depressed.
Some cats express those feelings with low and plaintive meows, yowls, and sometimes growls.
The best example that I always use when I’m explaining it to cat parents is the kittens. They absolutely love to play with earplugs. When they are content, we really don’t hear them except darting across the floor.
But when they are bored, they start meowing with an earplug in their mouths. I like to joke that is it their way of saying ‘PLAY WITH ME! I’M BORED!’
And in some more serious cases, they may not be trying to get your attention at all. It may be more out of anxiety and stress that they are trying to let their pack know about.
My best recommendation is to give your cats time to play. If you notice they are starting to get bored of the toy they have, introduce a new toy. Or a toy that you only bring out on special occasions.
As they become more content, you might notice them become less talkative.
It Could Be an Illness or Injury
Cats are so special because they actually have unique meows to their situations.
Pay close attention to the tone of your cat’s vocalizations. If they sound distressed in any way, their talkative behavior could be their cry for help.
If we’re lucky, our cats use their voices to tell us when something isn’t right. The hard part is knowing what they’re saying.
If your cat suddenly starts meowing or yowling more often, there’s a chance they’re in physical pain or mental distress. It could be an illness, injury, or declining cognitive function due to age.
When we had one cat hurt her paw, she would whine and lift her leg up. It was hurt way of telling us that it didn’t feel right.
As your cats get older, they may become more talkative as medical issues set in. Some cats become extra loud if they’re losing their hearing or eyesight. They are scared of their lack of ability to hear or see and are calling for you to help. It could also be joint pain or mental confusion.
The best thing you can do is use your knowledge of your pet to help piece together the puzzle of what they are trying to say. And if it is their eyesight or hearing, just be there for them so they know they aren’t alone.
Talking is Part of Their Personality
Listen, sometimes you can do everything right, give your cat all the attention in the world, perfectly healthy with a full food bowl and they will start meowing at you.
All of our feline friends have unique personalities. Being especially chatty could be one of your cat’s cute little quirks. I like to joke that it is literally their way of talking to us. So they are trying to join in on the conversation that the humans are having.
Chloe will literally start meowing at my husband if he raises his voice in the least bit. Really hard to have an argument when your cat is fighting your battles for you and causing you both to start laughing.
The talkative trait is more common in some cat breeds than others. Siamese, Bengals, and Maine Coons, for example, love to talk.
They meow when they want stuff, but they also make noise for no reason at all. They feel like talking, so they do!
Meowing is your cat’s way of communicating with you and the rest of the humans in the house. They don’t meow to their fellow felines once they’re past their kittenhood, so you’re free to feel extra special when you cat starts up a conversation.
Especially if you think you know what they are saying. Have some fun with it.
Do you want this for dinner? Meow. Well what about this one. Meeeow. Okayy! Now we are cooking.
The fact that your cat is talking to you isn’t a bad thing, but it’s understandably frustrating when they decide to have an in-depth chat at 3 AM. Reinforcing a different behavior, giving plenty of attention (during normal waking hours), and regular vet visits will help. Otherwise, enjoy the fact that your cat deems you worthy of conversation.
The best thing you can do is start to notice signs for the reason your cat is talking. Just like with humans, there’s always a reason we open our mouths…and yes sometimes it is just out of boredom.
Lastly, remember your cats watch you too. So if you are a talkative person, don’t be surprised if you end up having a talkative cat. Monkey see, monkey do!