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4 serious reasons why your cat doesn’t meow (and what to do)

Cats communicate with humans by meowing, and chances are you’ve already learned to recognize what each of your cat’s meows means. But if your cat stops meowing, it might indicate a problem. Some causes of this odd change are normal and harmless, and some will even resolve with a little time. But there are also potential causes that can be much more serious, and it’s important to get your vet involved early on to help get your cat healthy. If you’re wondering “why doesn’t my cat meow?” then you’ll want to get to the bottom of the issue to determine whether your cat needs some additional help.

Grey cat looking up and meowing

Emotional upset

If you’re thinking that “my cat doesn’t meow,” it might just be because he’s new to your home. Depending on what’s going on in your cat’s life, he might stop meowing because he’s stressed or upset. If your cat is experiencing significant change, like having just moved into a new home, he may be trying to stay quiet and fly under the radar because of fear. The same is true if you’ve recently brought a new pet into your home. Your cat may be trying to avoid the new pet and any resulting fights that could occur if he meows and makes noise.

If you suspect that your cat has stopped meowing because he’s upset, then it’s important to find ways to support him through this time. He’s letting you know that something’s wrong, and you may need to make some changes to help him. That might mean giving your cat his own secure space in the house where other pets can’t go or using pheromones to help promote a calm outlook during highly stressful times. Once your cat feels better and more confident, he’ll probably be back to his regular vocal self.

Recent stresses

If your cat has recently stressed his vocal cords, he might not meow for a few days. This might be the case if your cat was recently vocalizing at neighborhood cats through the window for a long period. He may have simply strained his vocal cords, but he should recover pretty quickly.

It’s also possible that your cat’s recent surgery could have aggravated his vocal cords. Vets insert a tube through a cat’s throat to ensure that it receives plenty of oxygen while it’s anesthetized. Sometimes this tube can irritate the throat and lead to inflammation, and your cat essentially loses his voice for a few days.


Some illnesses can also cause your cat to stop meowing. Upper respiratory infections could cause laryngitis in cats, though this is somewhat uncommon. In addition to the loss of his meow, you might notice that your cat is coughing and sneezing, or he might lose his appetite.

Allergies can also cause wheezing and sneezing and may reduce or stop your cat’s meowing.

If you suspect that your cat is sick, schedule an appointment with your vet right away. With treatment, your cat will usually start meowing again once he’s feeling better.

Bengal cat lying down, looking at the camera

Injuries and other physical issues

Sometimes your cat may injure his throat or voice box. If he got a stick or piece of a toy stuck in his throat, this could have caused nerve damage and other irritation.

Older cats sometimes experience a condition called laryngeal paralysis — their voice box stops working correctly. This issue can prevent your cat from being able to meow, but it’s not painful.

If your cat loses the ability to meow, a tumor or growth could also be to blame. If a tumor occurs near your cat’s voice box or in his throat, it may stop his meow altogether or change it significantly.

In some cases, your cat’s loss of his meow is completely harmless. It can occur as he ages, or he might have just temporarily irritated his vocal cords and that meow might return in a few days, good as new. But there can be other causes behind this issue that are much more serious and that require veterinary attention. If your cat suddenly loses the ability to meow, it’s always a good idea to schedule a vet appointment, just in case. Your vet can give your cat a thorough examination and verify that there isn’t anything more serious going on that needs additional attention.

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