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Why Is My Cat Squeaking & Not Meowing: 6 Possible Reasons


Mar 3, 2023
cat squeaking outdoor


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If you’ve ever heard your cat making a noise that sounds more like a high-pitched squeak than a meow, you may have wondered why. There are actually several potential explanations for why cats sometimes squeak instead of meowing. Some of these reasons can be associated with simple communication, while others might indicate medical issues. Let’s learn more about why your cat may be squeaking instead of meowing.


The 6 Reasons a Cat is Squeaking & Not Meowing

1. Communication

Cats often communicate with people and other cats using a variety of vocalizations. In the same way that humans use different tones, inflections, and words to express themselves, cats do the same with their meows, purrs, trills, yowls and more. A squeak is one of these types of vocalizations that your cat may use. It could be a friendly greeting or an expression of annoyance if they’re not getting what they want.

woman resting with cat in sofa at home
Image Credit: Yuriy Seleznev, Shutterstock

2. Stress/Anxiety

Cats can also become stressed or anxious for various reasons such as changes in their environment or interactions with other animals in the house. When this happens, cats may express themselves through sounds like squeaking instead of meowing as a way to express their unease but still stay low-key.

3. Hunting / Tracking Animals

Another reason cats may squeak is while they are hunting or tracking their prey. This sound could be used to help them to focus on the animal they’re chasing and can also serve as a warning of sorts to other animals nearby.

4. Mating Behavior

Cats may also squeak as a mating call. Male cats usually make the sound when trying to attract female cats, while female cats may squeak more frequently when in heat.

It’s important to observe your cat’s behavior and look out for any other signs that something might be wrong if they’re exhibiting prolonged or frequent squeaking behavior. It could point to something serious.

two cats touch each other's noses
Image Credit: Sandeep Gore, Shutterstock

5. Medical Conditions

Squeaking might also be a sign of medical issues such as an upper respiratory infection, which can cause cats to make strange noises as they try to breathe. It could also indicate something more serious like inflammation in the throat or mouth or other forms of pain that affect the cat’s ability to meow normally. If you suspect your cat is having any kind of medical problem, it’s important to take them to the vet for an examination and treatment if necessary.

6. Attention Seeking

Finally, cats may use squeaking as a way to get attention from their humans. If you’ve ever noticed your cat meowing more loudly when you’re not paying them much attention, they could be trying to tell you something by squeaking instead.


Is It Normal for a Cat to Squeak?

Yes, it is completely normal for cats to make squeaky noises from time to time. It could be part of their communication or indicate something more serious such as a medical issue. If you’re concerned about your cat’s behavior, then it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for advice.

How Do Cats Make Different Vocalizations?

Cats are able to make different vocalizations due to the size and shape of their larynx, which is located near the top of their throat. The larynx produces sound waves that vary in pitch and volume depending on how much air is pushed through it when your cat meows or squeaks. This flexibility allows cats to produce a variety of sounds for communication purposes.

When to Take Your Cat to the Vet for Squeaking

If your cat is exhibiting prolonged or frequent squeaking behavior, it’s important to observe their other behaviors and look out for any signs that something might be wrong. If you suspect there is an underlying medical cause, take your cat to the vet for an examination and treatment if necessary.

Additionally, if the squeaking is accompanied by other signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, these could be indicators that your cat is feeling unwell and should be seen by a doctor. If ignored, these signs could lead to more serious health issues if left untreated.


FAQs About Cat Sounds & Vocalizations

Q: What other sounds do cats make?

A: Cats are also known to make sounds like hissing, chirping and yowling. Each of these noises can indicate different things such as surprise, aggression, or distress. It’s important to observe your cat’s behavior and look out for any other signs that something might be wrong if they’re exhibiting prolonged or frequent vocalizations.

Q: Are cats able to understand each other’s vocalizations?

A: Yes, cats are able to recognize and respond to different sounds like meowing, purring, and trilling. This is how they communicate with one another in the wild as well as at home.

Q: How can I tell if my cat is happy or unhappy?

A: If your cat is content, you should notice signs such as purring, relaxed body posture, grooming themselves or playing with toys. On the other hand, if your cat appears agitated or scared then it could be an indication that something is wrong and it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for advice. In general, pay close attention to how your cat behaves and make sure they have a safe and comfortable place to call home.

Q: Do cats meow to humans?

A: Yes, cats will often meow in order to communicate with their humans. They may do this as a way of greeting you or asking for something such as food or attention. It’s important to pay close attention to your cat’s behavior and body language when they’re meowing as it can help you better understand what they’re trying to tell you.

white fluffy cat with multicolored eyes sitting and meows
Image Credit: Helen Bloom, Shutterstock

Q: Why does my cat chatter when she sees a bird?

A: Your cat may be chattering when she sees a bird as a way to express her excitement and anticipation. This behavior is similar to that of a predator in the wild, so it’s important to keep your cat safe by making sure they’re indoors when you’re not around or supervising them when they’re outdoors.

Q: Why do cats squeal?

A: Cats may squeal if they are in pain, scared, or being overstimulated. This is usually accompanied by signs of distress such as a hunched posture and wide eyes. If your cat is exhibiting this behavior, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for advice.

Q: Is it normal for cats to make chirping noises?

A: Yes, it is completely normal for cats to make chirping noises. This type of vocalization is usually a way of communicating with each other or expressing pleasure. However, if your cat is exhibiting prolonged or frequent chirping behaviors then it could indicate something more serious and it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for advice.

Q: Do cats understand what humans say?

A: Although cats don’t have the same level of understanding as humans, they are capable of making connections between words and actions. They may also pick up on vocal cues such as tone and intonation to interpret different messages. It’s best to talk to your cat in a calm and gentle manner so that they can better understand you.

Q: Are cats able to recognize their name?

A: Yes, cats are capable of recognizing their own names when spoken as well as other cues like facial expressions and body language. However, they may not always come when their name is called.

two cats touch each other's noses


Squeaking is just one of the many ways that cats can communicate with us and other animals in their environment. While it can sometimes indicate medical issues or anxiety, it’s usually nothing to worry about. If your cat frequently squeaks instead of meowing, it’s probably just another form of communication or attention-seeking behavior. Understanding why cats sometimes choose to squeak instead of meow can help us appreciate our furry friends even more!

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