The Cat’s Meow is an old saying. When someone tells you that something you just purchased is the Cat’s Meow, that person tells you that what you bought is unique, extraordinary, pretty, appealing, and a good buy.
However, when the cat’s meow is used in another way, it may not be a good thing. When your kitten or adult cat’s meow does not transpire, it could mean that your cat or kitten may have a problem. Your vet can help you figure this out. I find our cats only meow when they want something from us.
Why Doesn’t My Kitten Meow?
When you adopt a kitten or cat, you expect it to meow and purr. However, would you ever think that these little furball lips could be so zipped? Your kitten does not utter a word, not even an occasional purr? It is natural to worry that something serious could be wrong with your kitten.
As I look at the possibilities, my mind wanders back to our older cat, Wee Willy, who is 17 years of age in 2022. Wee Willy showed up at our front porch door one snowy night during Christmas week. I guessed Wee Willy to be about eight weeks old. When I heard this constant meow, I opened the door to this tiny snow-covered furball.
It was so odd that there were no paw prints in the snow anywhere except where he stood at our front door. There were no human footprints anywhere that would tell us that someone dropped him off at our door. Where Willy came from has always been a big mystery. It was as though he was beamed down to our house by a UFO.
As I opened the door, this baby looked at me and held his head up high. His fluffy black tail stood straight up as he marched through our living room to our kitchen. He went directly to the cat food and water bowls as though he lived in our house. He ate until his belly was full. He then went into the living room and hunkered down for his long winter nap. Wee Willy has been with us ever since. It was rare to hear Wee Willy meow or purr throughout the years. I guess he never felt a need to do so because all his needs were being met.
As Willy aged, he began to voice his opinion on everything! He meows constantly. While I never thought Willy had an underlying issue as a baby, I now wonder if Willy has a health issue and is trying to tell us through his meowing all the time. Willy gets vocal when I cook. Maybe he doesn’t think I am a good cook. Who knows? Perhaps he is waiting for me to drop a morsel of food? Willy has no signs or symptoms of any problems. He has a wellness visit soon, and we will address this with the doctor.
The Lack of Meows can be Wide and Varied
If your kitten suddenly falls silent, this could be concerning. Look for these signs and symptoms in your cat.
- Not eating or drinking
- Not playing
- Sleeping all the time
In most cases, a cat’s silence is simply a choice or an expression of its nature and isn’t anything to worry about, unless your cat has other troubling symptoms.
- Is your kitten happy, content, and playful?
- Is your kitten using the litter pan, eating, and drinking adequately?
If you or your vet can find nothing wrong, it could be your cat’s nature not to be so vocal as it was with our Wee Willy. Willy was very vocal that snowy night because he was hungry, cold, and looked like a snowball. He wanted relief.
The following are possible reasons why your kitten is not meowing or purring.
No cat is the same, and each is uniquely created. Some are vocal, and some are not so vocal. If you have a vocal kitten, but suddenly it becomes exceedingly quiet, it may cause some concern.
Cats talk to us and each other. You have to watch your cat and figure out what they are saying. Some cats speak with their actions and eyes. Cats are not social critters unless they bond with you, another cat, or siblings from the same litter.
A Form of Communication
The professionals believe that meowing is the cat’s form of communication with their human parents. As cats age, they may become quieter. However, this is not the case with our Willy.
Upper Respiratory Infections.
An upper respiratory infection may keep a cat from meowing. Symptoms may include,
- Runny nose and eyes
Hyperthyroidism (cats do not get hypothyroidism)
Hyperthyroidism can cause hoarseness, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea. A blood test will tell the vet if there is a health issue. Hypothyroidism is not likely to be found in kittens, only in older cats.
- Serious needing immediate medical attention
- Affects breathing
- Weight loss
- Difficulty eating
Tumors and Polyps
- Growths in the throat and on the vocal cords
- Can be minor or severe.
- Voice changes
- Noisy breathing
Whether your cat sits in silence or voices, their opinions through constant meows, enjoy your cat’s silence or voice and love them regardless. Accept your cat’s personality and quirks as you would a human loved one in your family. No person or cat is purfect.
It is a blessing if your cat has no underlying health issues and passes its physical exam with flying colors. When your cat meows at you, begin to talk to them. I speak to all six of my cats every day. It is a hoot when I think that others believe I have finally lost my mind. My cats listen to us and respond.
Is it Normal for a Kitten to Not Meow?
I look around at my six cats and consider their meowing habits. I have never given this a thought. However, this is what I noticed with my cats currently and in the past.
- Wee Willy (17 years)
You know Willy’s story. He is a question mark on my mind at this time.
- Mama Mia (thirteen years)
Mia never really meows. If I pass where Mia is lying, I will say, “How’s it going, Mia?” She looks up and opens her mouth with what I would call a silent grunt, or she opens her mouth but does not say anything. It is rare to hear Mia meow. She communicates with a pat and a paw. Mia enjoys watching cat videos at night and will stay tuned to the TV or Kindle for at least an hour in attention mode. However, this does not make her meow, but it does hold her interest. Am I not concerned.
- Sophia (thirteen years)
Sophia meows when hungry and lets out a bone-chilling scream when another cat picks at her. She is usually quiet.
- Isabella (thirteen years)
Only meows when going to the doctors, and like her sister Sophia, she screams if another cat picks on her. Sophia and Isabella’s prior owners had all of their toes declawed. Their only defense system is a blood-curdling scream.
- Willow (eight years)
She meows on rare occasions. When Willow sits in front of the treat box or sits in the kitchen, she tells me she is hungry. Sometimes a cat is simply curious as to what you are doing. They all know where the food supply is kept.
- Lil’ Luke (four years)
Luke meows in a high-pitched squeaky voice whenever he wants something.
My six certainly do communicate with us in various ways. I am not concerned that they lack meows because they are healthy, happy, and content.
- Your kitten’s lack of vocal communication or meows could signify a health problem. If this is troubling you, it is best to have your vet look at your cat to determine any health issues.
- Try putting on animal shows or cat videos. Our Lil’ Luke will sometimes jump on our television stand and sit there grossly interested in what is on the television. He reaches up with a paw, trying to touch whatever he sees.
- You can purchase squeaky toys to see if this entices your cat to meow.
I am always looking for active and noisy toys. Cracker Barrel sells a battery-operated raccoon with a long tail. Turn it on, and it flips and flops around. The cats look at this and walk away, leaving it to get stuck under the couch. Lil’ Luke looks at me as if to say, “Really? Don’t waste my time.”
- Keep talking to your cat because I believe that they do have a high element of understanding of their surroundings. If they are not happy, they will let you know in their own way.
- If you play with them often, keep their bellies filled with all the right foods and bodies hydrated; provide cushy blankets, cat beds, cat stands, noisy toys and throw a bit of catnip and a few treats their way; it keeps them content. You are supplying all their needs and as many desires as possible, including companionship. All of this gives them little to meow about.