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Why Does My Cat’s Meow Have No Sound? (Serious?)

Have you ever noticed your cat’s face doing the motion of a meow, but no sound comes out? You may have wondered why they aren’t making any sound when they are clearly trying to say something.

Why does my cat’s meow have no sound?

Our ears work much differently than a cat’s ears. You may not hear the meow coming out of the cat but that doesn’t mean there isn’t actually a sound coming out. Cats are capable of picking up sounds with their ears that humans can’t, especially really high sounds.

So, now you know why this may happen. But, why do cats meow in the first place? When could this become a cause for concern? Why do some older cats act like this? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…


Should you be worried about the lack of sound?

Why does my cat's meow have no sound?

A kitten meowing.

In most cases, a silent meow usually isn’t anything to worry about, it’s actually a trick your cat has at their disposal.  Other cats, however, can hear that meow that you think is silent.

The thing is, we can’t say for sure what your cat actually wants from you when they bellow out a silent meow. As a pet owner, you can take a sigh of relief if you were worried about your cat’s silent meow.

A silent meow in most cases isn’t a cause for concern. It is their own unique feline way of communicating and just makes them even cuter.

Are cats aware you can’t hear this Meow?

Did the cat direct that meow at you? They probably aren’t aware that your ears aren’t capable of hearing their command. The reason behind their meow probably isn’t much different than their other commands, so it could be anything from wanting food to affection.

Why do cats meow?

When cats communicate with one another they don’t actually make the meow sound that we’re used to. They use scents, body language, expressions, and touch to communicate with other cats.

Mother cats usually make chirping sounds to get the attention of their babies, but that doesn’t work for humans. Since cats and humans have good relationships with each other, cats have learned to meow as a way to communicate with humans (click here to see if they ever stop crying).

Vary depending on what they want

Top 10 Cat Breeds

Their meows will vary depending on what they want from you. The meow could be a friendly greeting when you get home to say how much they’ve missed you, or it could be their way of letting you know that they can see the bottom of their food bowl and that is just unacceptable.

Once you get used to your cat you may have an easier time figuring out what their meows really mean.

Is a silent meow really silent?

As mentioned above, the silent meow isn’t actually silent. Humans don’t have the ability to hear the vocal range that the cat is using for these meows.

You see, the average human can hear a range between 64 to 23,000 Hertz. A cat on the other hand has a much greater hearing capacity and can hear a range between 45 to 64,000 Hertz.

This meow that you believe is silent is actually just being pitched at a tone of either under 64 Hertz or over 23,000 Hertz which is why your ears aren’t catching it.

When might your cat meow with no sound?

Although we don’t know the real reason behind the silent meow, many cat owners have taken note of when their cat does it most frequently and have put some theories as to when and why your cat may be meowing with no sound.

The most common reason

One of the most common times a cat will meow without sound is when you’ve been away for a while and come home. This simple “Hello!” often comes out silent.

Cats love attention from their owners, so if they noticed the silent meow got your attention before then they will do it again. This could signal that they want to cuddle or play.

Remover its treats?

Did you move your cat’s treat (Click here to see another great one, on Amazon #Ad) bag in the cupboard only to find them by your side doing a silent meow? Cats are smart and they know what’s in the bag. That silent meow is your kitty’s way of trying to beg for some treats.

Another reason your cat might be meowing without sound is that they want to go outside. This is their way of trying to tell you they want to be let out.

What about a raspy or hoarse sounding meow?

If your cat has a raspy or hoarse sounding meow there are a few things that could be causing this. Is your cat normally vocal? If so, they may be suffering from a sore throat due to temporary voice loss. This can happen to cats that meow excessively.

Rabies can cause a hoarse voice

Outdoor cats run the risk of coming in contact with another animal who has rabies. Rabies can cause a cat’s voice to become so hoarse that it may sound like there is no meow at all. If you believe this may be the case contact your vet immediately.

Respiratory infection

Another reason that could be causing your cat to have a raspy sounding meow is an upper respiratory infection. This can happen to cats of any age and is usually brought on by colds, viruses, or allergies.

If you notice that your cat has runny eyes, breathlessness, loss of appetite, or discharge coming from eyes, ears, nose, then they may have an infection. Always contact your vet if this is the case.

How can you work out which issue is affecting your cat?

Although most pet owners would love to know what every specific meow means, there isn’t a set of steps to follow to translate what they mean. To work out what issue is affecting your cat, you need to spend time getting to know them and observe the situation ahead of you.

Think of figuring out what your cat wants as similar to a mother figuring out what her baby’s cries mean. You may have to do a few trial and error runs until you get it right, but once you get to know your cat things will be easier for you.

When you have a better understanding of your cat’s personality you should have a better understanding of what their meows could mean.

What potential medical issues could cause this?

If your cat only silent meows occasionally then you probably have nothing to worry about. However, if your cats usually make no sound when they meow then it could be a medical issue.

The most common issues that vets have come across that lead cats to meow without sound has been a birth defect that causes their vocal cords to become deformed.

Some other medical issues that could be affecting your cat’s meow are:

  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Nerve damage or trauma
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Rabies
  • Tumor or growth
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Autoimmune conditions

Always consult your vet if you think that your cat may have any of the above conditions.

When should I start to get concerned?

In most situations, a silent meow doesn’t have to cause any worry, but if you notice an irregular pattern to your cat’s meow then you should consult your vet. A raspy sounding meow is usually more of a concern than one that is completely silent.

Why do some older cats get more vocal as they age?

Older cats tend to be more vocal than younger cats. One of the main reasons why is because they start to suffer from dementia, sometimes they might feel confused and need reassurance from their owners.

Another reason they are more vocal is that their hearing is starting to fade and they don’t actually realize how loudly they are meowing. Always check with your vet though, because sometimes excessive meowing is a sign of pain.

Lindsey Browlingdon