Playing with your cat is always a joy, but have you ever wondered why they meow while engaging in their favorite pastime? It turns out there are a few reasons behind this adorable behavior. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of cat vocalizations and explore why your feline friend expresses themselves in such a unique way. So, let’s get started!
Cat Vocal Stylings: What Do They Mean?
Before we uncover the mystery behind your cat’s meowing while playing, it’s helpful to understand the different vocal sounds your furry companion makes and their possible meanings.
Meowing is a versatile sound for cats. They use it to greet you, give commands, voice objections, or make announcements. Some cats even walk around the house meowing to themselves, adding a touch of mystery and charm.
When a cat purrs, it signals contentment. They purr when they’re happy, even while eating. It’s their way of comforting themselves when they’re anxious or feeling under the weather, much like a toddler sucking their thumb.
3. Trills or Chirps
Trills and chirps are reminiscent of a mother cat calling her kittens. When your cat directs these sounds at you, it could mean they want you to follow them, often to the food bowl to let you know it’s empty. If you have multiple cats, you might witness them communicating with each other using these charming vocalizations.
4. Hissing or Growling
Hissing or growling indicates anger, annoyance, or fear in cats. It’s best to give them space and wait until they calm down before approaching them.
5. Howling or Yowling
Howling or yowling sounds like prolonged, loud meows. Your cat might use this vocalization to convey distress, such as being stuck in a closet or experiencing pain. If your cat exhibits these behaviors, it’s important to search for them immediately to ensure their well-being. Unneutered and unspayed cats may also make these sounds as part of their mating behavior. Additionally, senior cats may yowl due to disorientation, especially if they suffer from cognitive disorders like dementia.
6. Chattering or Twittering
Ever caught your cat making a chattering or twittering sound while gazing at birds or squirrels through the window? It’s a sign of excitement, often associated with their hunting instincts or an anticipation of snack time.
Why Does My Cat Meow While Playing?
Now that we’ve covered the various vocalizations, let’s explore why your cat meows while playing.
Cats Treat Toys Like Prey
When your cat meows with a toy in their mouth, they’re likely treating it as prey. This behavior is rooted in their natural hunting instincts. In the wild, cats meow to let other cats, such as their kittens, know that they’ve caught food. In your home, your cat may be signaling their success to you or other cats in the family. They’re essentially inviting you to share in their “catch of the day” or seeking praise for their hunting prowess.
Your Cat Might Need Attention
If you’ve noticed your cat meowing more often during playtime, it could be a sign that they’re craving attention. Cats are instinctively driven to hunt, and as kittens, they received praise for exhibiting hunting behavior. Punishing your cat or ignoring them won’t resolve the issue. Instead, try spending more quality time with your feline friend during appropriate hours. This will provide them with the attention they crave, reducing the need for disruptive nighttime meowing sessions.
How Can I Teach My Cat to Be Quieter at Night?
If your cat’s meowing during playtime persists into the night, here are a few tips to help redirect their behavior and ensure a peaceful sleep for both of you.
1. Provide Daytime Play Sessions
Cats thrive on daily play sessions. Engaging them in active play helps keep their bodies and minds healthy. By expending their energy during the day, you can minimize the chances of your cat waking you up at night. Aim for two to three play sessions totaling 40 minutes each day, ideally right before mealtime. This mimics their natural hunting routine, as they get to “hunt” before enjoying their meal and winding down for the night.
2. Adjust Your Routine
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not strictly nocturnal creatures. They sleep for 15 to 20 hours a day and follow a pattern of hunting, eating, and sleeping. Capitalize on this by feeding your cat dinner just before bedtime. By associating feeding time with sleep, you can help establish a routine that encourages your cat to rest during the night.
3. Seek Veterinarian Consultation
If your cat’s meowing behavior suddenly intensifies or changes drastically, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian. While some cats naturally exhibit more vocalization, it’s essential to rule out any underlying health issues. Cats are masters at hiding their illnesses, and increased vocalization might be their way of signaling pain or discomfort.
In summary, your cat’s meowing during playtime stems from their instinctual behavior of treating toys as prey. By proudly presenting their “catch” to you or other cats, they seek to share the excitement or receive praise for their hunting skills. Additionally, increased meowing could indicate a need for attention. Spending quality time with your cat regularly can alleviate their desire for disruptive behavior during the night.
Remember, every cat is unique, and understanding their vocalizations can deepen your bond with them. So, next time you hear your feline friend meowing while playing, appreciate the opportunity to witness their innate hunting instincts in action.
Image: istockphoto.com / Elayne Massaini