What Is Caterwauling? 5 Most Common Reasons Cats Do It

What Is Caterwauling? 5 Most Common Reasons Cats Do It

Author WCF Staff


Cat owners know their cats make a lot of weird sounds and noises. One of the odd sounds is called caterwauling. If you’re not familiar with the term, we suggest you learn a bit more about it because it can be pretty important. Caterwauling can be significant, and as a responsible cat owner, you should know how to spot caterwauling and learn what it might represent.

What is caterwauling?

The simplest way to describe caterwauling is - sound cats make that is drawn-out moan. It is somewhat melodramatic and very cat-like. It is often described as a mixture of yawning and whining. Caterwauling can mean different things, and if you notice it, here are the most common reasons cats do it.

1. Attention

One of the most common reasons cats caterwaul is because they want attention. This sound can seem melodramatic because it actually is. Your cat will feel ignored or that you’re not providing the amount of attention they think they deserve at that moment. Cats being cats, they will most likely tell you they’re not happy with you. They will caterwaul and demand you give them attention. This is not as dangerous as some other reasons, but you should know how to spot it and react to it.

cat looking up

2. Mating call

Cats in heat will want to attract potential suitors. They will mark their territory and caterwaul to let potential suitors know they’re ready to breed. In this case, your cat’s caterwaul is literally its mating call. If you’re not a cat breeder, this type of behavior is not something you should take lightly. The only way you can curb that behavior is to spay your cat. Plus, you will help with cat overpopulation and abandoned cats.

3. Pain

One of the most sinister reasons cats can caterwaul is because they’re in pain. Unfortunately, cats can’t tell us what’s wrong. Until that becomes a reality, responsible cat owners should know how to spot if their cats are in pain. If your cat isn’t in heat and you’re giving them plenty of attention, it is entirely possible they are in pain and are trying to communicate their problem with you. Your cat might have suffered an injury, in which case you can palpate and locate the problem. However, chances are they’re having internal pain from kidney or digestive tract issues. Those might be severe issues that will require your vet’s attention.

domestic cat face

4. Stress or anxiety

Another possible reason cats caterwaul is stress. If you have a sensitive cat that might be under a lot of stress, one of the symptoms will be caterwauling. Things like unwanted guests, moving, traveling, or other major life events can affect your cat and cause them stress. If that is the case, the most likely reason your cat caterwauls is stress.

The second possible reason is anxiety, more precisely, separation anxiety. Cats can become anxious for many different reasons, and the most common one is separation from their owner. After spending most of their time with their cats, cat owners who have a busy schedule can cause sudden separation anxiety. If that is the case with your cat, you should talk to your vet or cat behaviorist to see your best options.

5. Disorientation

When cats age, their cognitive functions decline. This is something they share with us. If you have a senior cat at home, a possible reason it caterwauls is disorientation. As you can probably imagine, suddenly finding yourself in unfamiliar territory can be very stressful. That is how senior cats might feel, so don’t be surprised if your cat starts producing this unusual noise. If you notice something like that happens and you have an older cat, you should call your vet and see what you can do to help restore your cat’s cognitive functions.

cat yawning

In conclusion

Cats produce a wide range of sounds. Don’t get discouraged if you are not immediately familiar with what they all mean. No one was born experienced. You will learn what your cat wants to communicate to you, and we have no doubt you will become a model cat owner pretty soon. Caterwauling can sound pretty scary, and your cat can do it for many different reasons. Keep in mind that if you’re unsure about anything, you should call your vet and ask for advice.

World Cat Finder Team

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