why do cats make silent meow

Why Do Cats “Silent Meow”? What’s the Meaning?

Cat owners love their felines for many reasons, and the most common of them all is the cat’s meowing. But when the meowing is silent, it makes the cat all the more endearing and cute.

So, why do cats do a silent meow? Let’s find out.

Is it Really Silent?

When your cat meows, you may not be able to hear it, but that doesn’t mean it is silent. Other felines and maybe even animals like dogs can hear it well. In fact, cats have a highly developed sense of hearing. They can hear between 50 to 60 kilohertz, in comparison to humans who can hear only 18 to 20 kilohertz at the most. This explains why your cat’s meows seem silent to you, but in reality, it is not silent. These meows are audible to other cats and animals.

What’s the Meaning of Silent Meows?

Your cat may be trying to tell you a lot of things with its silent meows.

  • Wants your attention

Most of the times, it is your cat’s way of saying that it wants attention from you.

silent meow in cats

Maybe you’ve been ignoring her for some time or you were just caught up in your state of things. Either way, the cat wants you to look at her and pet her. And this is her way of demanding attention from you.

  • Hungry or thirsty

When your cat is hungry or thirsty, it can use silent meows to indicate that to you. After all, your cat doesn’t speak human language to tell you what it needs, so these verbal cues are its way of communicating with you.

Sometimes, cats are like us too. It may want to dip into its favorite bag of tuna, just like how we want to jump into the big bag of potato chips!

  • Wants to go out

If your cat wants to be let out, her silent meows are a request for that. This is especially true for cats that prefer to spend a good part of their day outdoors, may be in your yard or garden.

  • Excited to see you

Cats are not as expressive as dogs with their vocals. It’s a part of their personality too. So, when she gives one of her silent meows when you’re back after a vacation or from work, it is simply a way of greeting you and telling you that she’s excited you’re back. In this sense, a silent meow is nothing but a simple greeting!

  • Sleepy

After an “intense” day at work, your cat is tired and wants to have a quiet sleep. If there is too much noise around, she is trying to tell you to lower your voice, so she can have a peaceful nap!

If you thought your cat just woke up, remember cats tend to be lazy and prefer to sleep more than humans. So, never judge a cat by human standards, they are wired for more frequent though short naps. Nevertheless, lower your noise levels.

  • When there is something wrong with her

Cat meows silently when there is something wrong with her and she wants you to know that. Maybe it is a skin infection or a bad stomach that is bothering her, and she wants you to help her. This silent meow could be a plea for that help.

These reasons bring up an interesting question – how do you know what your cat is trying to tell you?

feline's silent meow

How to Identify the Exact Reason?

There is no specific way or steps to identify what your cat wants to tell you. It just depends on you, your cat, and the situation on hand.

For example, if your cat has a habit of spending time outdoors throughout the day and if it is home on that particular day, then the meow could be a request to let her out. On the other hand, if she has had a meal just a few hours before, maybe it is her way of trying to tell you that all is not well with her. Likewise, if it is time for her meal, then the meow could be for food or water.

Cats are like human babies. When your baby cries, you try different things to pacify it, right? The same approach should be used for the cat too.

Understand your cat, its personality and needs, and you’ll be able to better identify what it wants with that silent meow. Some cats will not even stop until they get what they want. So, if you have such a cat, it makes your job easy. All that you have to do is try one thing after another, until your cat stops meowing. It’s really that simple.

On the other hand, if you have a cat that prefers to be rather silent and accommodative, then you can try a few things and hope that these have satisfied her needs.

But don’t worry, as you and cat bond deeper, you’ll know what she wants even before she finished meowing. Most cat owners will affirm to this. After they are like human babies, and the bonding process is similar too.

One word of caution here. If your cat is persistently meowing, then it definitely means something is not alright with her. Go with your gut instinct here and take her to the vet if you think she needs help.

cat silently meows

The vet will examine her physically and figure out if her meowing is due to some problem in her body, like maybe a bad stomach or an infection or a bruise or just about anything else.

In short, a silent meowing from your cat is one of the most adorable sounds. At the same time, she is using it to communicate something to you. Though this could range anything between food to health problems and everything in between, you will be able to understand her needs when you start tuning into her routing and when you start bonding with her at a deeper emotional level.


  1. Naomi Millburn, Reasons Why Cats Make Silent Meows, Pets The Nest

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