Sometimes cats yowl instead of meow and it can sound concerning. Yowls are different from a normal kitty meow. They tend to be a longer, drawn out, almost moan-ish sound.
Most of the time when your cat is communicating with you it is a short and sweet meow. Once cats reach adulthood, its rare for them to meow at each other. Instead, kitties meow at their humans. Probably saying, thank you, feed me, or can we play now? It’s fun to consider the translation of your cat’s meow.
Yowling, however, sometimes happens outside of human communication and this type of sound should not be ignored. While there are reasons that cats yowl that aren’t concerning, if this starts suddenly you will want to check with your vet. It can be a sign of discomfort, distress or even cognitive decline.
Why Our Cats Yowl
Our Scotch Boy started yowling when he lost his female companion of 18 years. At first we thought this was just his way of grieving, but it turns out that he went deaf for a short time. We still have no idea how that happened, but that type of grief in his older years hit him hard. He was trying to hear himself by yowling in an open space.
Our 3 year old, Zorro, on the other hand, yowls when he’s bored and wants to play. He’s in perfect health (yes, we had him checked by the vet) but loves to be active with his humans. During the day when we’re tied to our computers he will yowl the most mourning cry to tell us he’s bored. He gets our attention every time and he actually learned this from his older brother, Oliver Twist. He’s been yowling for our attention for years. Recently, however, his yowls sounded a bit different and were at different times. After getting his health cleared by the vet, we figured out that his cognitive health was beginning to decline. Now we give him B12 in his morning meals and it’s stopped!
Older cats, especially, need to be checked by a vet if they start yowling. Cats with cognitive decline, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and many other common ailments will yowl from the discomfort.