A kitten won’t meow if they are:
- From a quiet breed
- Less than three months
- Afraid of a new environment
- Lost their voice from meowing a lot
It might be the meow is too low for humans to hear, but other cats can hear.
Talk to your kitten to encourage them to meow. Consult a vet to rule out a health problem.
Kittens communicate to us mainly through vocalization. It’s how a kitten talks to their mom, greet human parents, and ask for food.
So, when your kitten seems quiet all the time, you may be worried. After all, meowing is an important form of cat communication.
In this article, I will explain the reasons why a kitten might not meow.
Keep reading to know if there is such a thing as a silent meow and learn how to encourage your kitten to meow.
The Silent Meow Is Normal
The silent meow is when your kitten opens their mouth and no sound comes out of it. The occasional silent meow is normal among felines and nothing to worry about.
Some cats do this more often than others. The quiet meow is simply a substitute for the classic meow.
There is even a book about cats called “The Silent Meow.”
If you can’t get your kitten to meow out loud, don’t feel too bad about it. Cats are naturally quiet animals. Meowing might not be in its nature.
You might even count your blessings since other pet owners are troubled with excessive vocalization in cats.
Some Cats Are Quiet
Just as humans have introverted and extroverted personalities, the same thing happens in cats.
While some cats like to vocalize, others are quiet and don’t vocalize much at all.
The following cat breeds are particularly known for being quiet:
- Exotic Shorthair
- British Shorthair
- La Perm
- Havana Brown
These cat breeds may have a low meow and prefer to be quiet most of the time. They may be shy when it comes to expressing their opinion.
They won’t meow or even purr unless it’s a special occasion, or they are craving your attention.
Kittens Learn to Meow at Three Months
Very young kittens, under the age of three months, make a faint squeaking noise instead of meowing.
Kittens develop their full vocal range at three or four months. As they grow up, they have a pretty extensive vocabulary.
Your kitten develops a cry that means “feed me.” This will be different from the meow that says “hello,” or “pet me.”
They observe how you react to different calls. This helps them know which vocalization to use to get what they want.
Your kitten will rarely grow up without meowing. If it does, it means there is something wrong with their voice box.
The Meow Might Be Too Low to Hear
It could be that your kitten’s meow is not that silent. Rather, it is just too quiet for you to hear.
Cats have an astounding sense of hearing. They can hear sounds at great distances—four or five times farther away than humans.
With such an impressive hearing ability, a cat instinctively incorporates those extra sounds into their own communicative signal.
So, your kitten may be meowing, but they don’t know you can’t hear it as clear as they do. Other cats or even dogs can hear the meow.
That’s why it seems that your kitten won’t meow, but, in reality, it is not that silent. These meows are audible to other cats and animals.
Reasons Why a Kitten Won’t Meow
A silent meow happens when your kitten opens their mouth, and no voice comes out. As we have seen, the meow is audible to other cats but not to humans.
However, sometimes your kitten stops meowing completely. Here is why that happens:
1. Temporary Loss of Voice
A reason your kitten won’t meow could be a temporary loss of voice. Similar to how you lose your voice when shouting at a concert, your little furry friend could also go through such a situation.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that your pet snuck out at night to go to a concert. But if they were constantly meowing for a long time, your kitten may be suffering from a sore throat.
Cats can briefly lose their voice from excessive meowing. However, this temporary loss of voice should not be alarming.
Your cat should get back to its normal vocalization in a couple of days.
2. Upper Respiratory Infections
Overall healthy feline breeds can develop respiratory problems regardless of their age. Among the most common is feline herpes.
Other respiratory issues such as colds, allergies, and Calicivirus can easily cause a sudden loss of meowing.
These ailments are often accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Runny eyes
If you suspect your kitten’s loss of voice is due to an upper respiratory problem, call a vet immediately.
A kitten allowed to roam outdoors can easily catch rabies from another infected animal. Rabies often causes a hoarse voice in cats, to such an extent that it may seem they are opening their mouth but without producing any meow-like sounds.
If you allow your kitten to spend most of the time outdoors, and they can’t meow completely, call a vet.
The Meaning of Silent Meows
Your kitten might be trying to tell you a lot of things with the silent meow.
1. Your Kitten Is Hungry or Thirsty
A kitten’s life stage requires more energy. That’s why you need to feed them often. When your kitten is hungry, they can use silent meows to indicate that to you.
After all, your little one doesn’t use human language. They rely on these verbal cues to tell you what they need.
Your kitten needs to eat a lot to meet their nutritional requirements. Perhaps, they crave a few tasty tuna treats and use a silent meow to let you know.
2. A Sleepy Kitten Meows Silently
If your kitten spent a considerable amount of time playing, they are probably tired, and this makes them sleepy.
Your kitten can also meow silently because they feel the environment is not friendly for a snooze.
If there is too much noise in the house, your kitten can give an inaudible meow to tell you to lower your voice so they can have a peaceful nap.
Remember, cats tend to be lazy, especially during the day. They prefer to sleep more than humans.
They are wired for more frequent short naps.
3. Your Kitten Is Not Feeling Well
A kitten might meow silently when there is something wrong, and they want you to know.
Maybe it’s a bad stomach that bothers them.
The silent meow could be a plea for help.
4. Your Kitten Wants Your Attention
Cats often meow when they want attention from you. The same goes for these silent meows.
Maybe your little one wants you to hand them their favorite catnip mouse.
Or perhaps they need a few cuddly and cozy pets on the back.
5. A New Kitten Is Afraid to Meow
If you have just adopted your kitten, they can feel confused and unsettled. This is understandable because a new environment can be overwhelming for a kitten.
It can take weeks or even months for them to be settled, depending on their background and personality. A cat only feels comfortable meowing at someone they trust.
So, your new kitten might hesitate to meow until they feel comfortable around you.
Also, if you have just moved to a new home, your kitten may still be getting accustomed to it.
Sometimes having visitors spend the night or getting a new piece of furniture can result in silent meows.
How to Encourage Your Kitten to Meow
A kitten that doesn’t meow might not be what you bargained for. After all, this is the main way our feline friends communicate with us.
Without such an interaction, you might feel left out in the bonding process. Here is how to encourage your kitten to meow:
1. Talk Often to Your Kitten
Try talking to your little one the way you would a friend. For example, you can call out their name and ask, “Did you miss me?” after coming home from work.
Pause in your conversation the way you would in a human-to-human conversation to see if you get a response.
2. Look In Their Direction
As you talk to your kitten, look in their direction to encourage meowing. This tells your cat that you are trying to interact with them.
However, do not stare. Cats interpret staring as a sign of hostility and aggression. It can make them feel scared, furious, and distrustful.
3. Use Visual Aids
Some cat owners have found it helpful to play a video of cats meowing. You can also play an audio recording of cats meowing.