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Why Does My Cat Squeak Instead Of Meow?

With cats being so popular in North America and Europe where the majority of our readers live and almost half of all homes having a cat in those regions, we commonly see people reaching out with questions about their cat’s behaviour.

Over the last couple of months, there has been a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking why their cat squeaks instead of meows and it seems that the number of people asking about a squeaking cat is only increasing with each month that goes by.

Unlike some other conditions that can be common in cats, there are a number of different causes and reasons that your cat may squeak instead of meowing.

On top of that, your cat may intentionally be trying to squeak instead of meow as a way to try and communicate with you with actual squeaks.

No matter the cause of the squeaking, we commonly see cat owners reaching out and asking different questions about cats making squeaking sounds so we wanted to answer them all in this single article.

Having as much information about cats squeaking all in one place should make it as quick and easy as possible for you to find the potential cause of the squeaking in your own cat.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Squeak?

Although it is rare that cats will squeak, cats are naturally able to make a range of different squeaking sounds, especially young cats or kittens.

With younger cats, the squeaking sound is considered normal and does not indicate any potential health problems with the cat and it is often due to its vocal cords not having fully developed yet.

In some situations, it can still be considered for a normal cat to squeak as a way to communicate with you though.

The majority of people are familiar with a cats meows and purs but adult cats are able to produce over one hundred sounds and vocalizations that all mean different things.

From their range of vocalizations, around five of them can be interpreted as a squeak to a human.

It is just much rarer for an adult cat to make the squeak vocalizations on a regular basis and they will often use other sounds within their range to communicate the older they get as the range of sounds a kitten can make is rather limited to an adult cat.

Why Does My Cat Squeak Instead Of Meow?

Your cat may just be squeaking as a way to try and communicate with you rather than there being a problem with your cat.

Although rare, most adult cats are naturally able to produce a number of squeaking sounds if they choose but sometimes, disorders, injury, infection, and disease can force most of a cat’s vocalizations to be squeaks.

If your cat squeaks instead of meows due to a disorder from birth then you will probably already be aware of it being the cause.

If you suspect that your cat is squeaking rather than meowing due to injury, infection or disease then we would recommend that you book a video call with a veterinarian to have them assess your cat.

Video calls with veterinarians tend to be considerably cheaper than a trip to your local vet while also often letting you speak to a vet within minutes if needed.

As we mentioned in the previous section though, out of over one hundred vocalizations your cat is able to naturally make, about five of them do sound like different types of squeaks.

There is often nothing wrong with your cat, it is just trying to convey a message to you that is new and it is using a different vocalization for the message from its natural range.

What Does A Cat Squeak Mean?

It is believed that the majority of vocalizations that a cat can make that sound like a squeak are used for a mother cat to communicate with her kittens.

There are some less common uses of squeaks from cats to show excitement and joy or to try and get you to focus your attention on them.

Some cats can form a link between them squeaking and getting a certain reaction from you and this can warp the times when your cat may squeak.

For example, say your cat randomly squeaks, you think that your cat may be injured so you give it lots of attention and check it over to make sure that the cat is fine.

This can cause the link of the cat squeaking = lots of attention and hugs from you so instead of meowing to try and get this attention, your cat may start to squeak.

Although this is not a natural use case for squeaking in cats, it is normal for animals to adapt their vocalizations and still does not mean that your cat is squeaking due to injury or disease.

Is A Cat That Squeaks Instead Of Meows Sick Or Injured?

It is usually more common for a cat to intentionally squeak as a way to try and communicate with you or other pets in the home.

Some cats can end up making squeaking sounds due to being sick or injured but there will often be other symptoms such as your cat not eating or drinking due to issues with its throat.

Some of these additional symptoms can be surprisingly difficult to spot yourself so this is why we recommend you arrange video call with a veterinarian to have them give your cat the once over.

This will increase the chances of any potentially serious problems with your cat being identifies with the vet then being able to offer you advice on how to move forward and treat the issue.

In some very rare situations, surgery may be require to correct some issues but the majority of the time, some anti-biotics will get the job done if your cat has one of the common bacterial infections.

As we mentioned earlier though, it is very common for a kitten to make the squeaking sounds as they are still developing and may not possess the ability to make the other vocalizations that cats use yet depending on how old they are.


That brings our article going over why your cat squeaks instead of meows to an end. It really can be difficult to identity the specific reason your cat is squeaking but it can be totally normal for a cat to squeak rather than meow in some situations. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand why their cats may be squeaking but if you do suspect that the squeaks are due to any serious issues then you really do need to get a vet involved as soon as possible.