Why does my cat's meow have no sound?

  • I've looked all over for an explanation. Surprisingly, there's not much information about this (most being theories).

    Are there any cat experts that can explain this? I've heard "the sound is too high pitched for humans to hear", which would be neat, but seems as if it would be testable and confirmed by now.

    My Question

    Only one of my cats silently meow, most of the time giving no sound at all. Why does her meows give no sound?

    Extra Details

    She is around (estimated) 10 years old. In her early years, she wasn't very talkative. She was an outside cat until she got injured, which we had to amputate her tail. She has been an inside cat ever since. She has become very affectionate since then, which has brought on the meowing, which most of the time give no sound.

  • Kate Paulk

    Kate Paulk Correct answer

    6 years ago

    From what my vet said when discussing my silent meower (who was perfectly healthy and lived to 21), there are several reasons a cat would meow but not make any noticeable sound.

    • The most common according to my vet is that the cat's vocal cords are deformed so it has no "voice". My old cat usually made no noise beyond something a bit like heavy breathing, but when she was stressed or in pain there'd be voice. Her purring was also almost silent. If your cat rarely/never had voice as a kitten, this is probably the cause.
    • Illness or accident can also cause problems, particularly if there's nerve damage. This is more likely if a vocal cat stops making noise when meowing.

    If your vet says your cat is healthy, there's nothing to worry about (except possibly the cat getting trapped somewhere and you not being able to hear it - although my experience says the cat will develop other ways to let you know there's a problem).

    To add another possibility: my girl's volume ranges from silent (when I "meow" silently at her she sometimes replies in kind) to quiet mews to conversational meows to rattle-the-dishes arias when she thinks I' unfairly ignoring her. It may just be that this is what that cat wants to say at this time. Since I talk to them, and to myself, frequently, and since I find conversations with them amusding, I really can't complain about their having learned that this attracts attention.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM