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We’re all pretty familiar with our cats’ everyday meows and other cat sounds, but when the pitch gets higher, drawn-out, melodic and “yowly,” it’s time to really pay attention. This type of sound is called caterwauling, and there’s nearly always a reason behind caterwauling — we humans just have to pause for further examination. Here are some reasons why you might hear caterwauling, and what you can do to help remedy the situation.

1. Cats caterwaul because they’re in pain

An orange cat with his mouth open — sneezing or hiccuping.

What does caterwauling mean? Photography by Valery Kudryavtsev/Thinkstock.

Cats are known for hiding their pain, so if your cat starts caterwauling, and there’s not an immediate reason why this would be happening, start with a veterinary visit to rule out anything health related. In addition to several medical causes that could result in caterwauling, cats of all ages can develop overactive thyroid and kidney disease, both of which can result in excessive vocalizations, including caterwauling.

2. Caterwauling might signal the need to breed

Cats who are not spayed or neutered can produce plenty of noise. Female cats in heat caterwaul to attract a male, and males who aren’t neutered caterwaul when they know a female is in heat. The best way to remedy this situation as well as help control cat overpopulation: Spay and neuter your cats.

3. Cats caterwaul to alert us to outside activity

Most of us have heard our cats making caterwauling sounds and rushed to see what’s up, only to find kitty looking out a window with great concern. Upon further investigation, we’ll typically see another cat who’s planted him or herself on our cat’s “turf,” which doesn’t sit well with the territorial feline master or mistress of the house. Remove the source of the agitation by closing windows and blinds to restrict your cat’s view of the “intruder.”

Thumbnail: Photography ©s_derevianko | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

This piece was originally published on January 12, 2018.

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Mubashir Ali


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