If you’ve ever been around cats, you probably know that they have a wide range of vocalizations.

However, some cat owners may notice that their feline friend doesn’t produce a typical “meow” but instead emits a squeaky sound.

This article will explore why some cats can’t meow properly, what a squeaky meow might mean, when to be concerned about your cat’s squeaking, and how to help it regain its meow.

Why Some Cats Can’t Meow Properly

Various factors can affect a cat’s ability to meow. Let’s explore some of the most common causes.


Some cat breeds, such as Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs, are known for their unique vocalizations.

Due to their genetic makeup, these breeds may naturally produce a squeaky sound instead of a traditional meow.

Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal cord dysfunction can lead to a cat’s inability to meow. This could be caused by paralysis, weakness, or damage to the vocal cords. In some cases, this can be a congenital issue the cat is born with.

Illness or Infection

Upper respiratory infections or other illnesses can cause inflammation or damage a cat’s vocal cords, changing its meow.

Additionally, some viral infections, such as feline herpesvirus, can result in a cat losing its voice temporarily.


Physical trauma to a cat’s throat or neck can lead to changes in its vocalizations, including the inability to meow properly. This could be the result of an injury or surgery.


Dehydration can also impact a cat’s ability to meow. When a cat is dehydrated, its vocal cords may not function properly, leading to a squeaky sound instead of a normal meow.

The Squeaky Meow: What It Means

While some cats may naturally have a squeaky meow, it can also be a form of communication.

different cat sounds and what they really mean
How to Speak Cat? Source: https://kittycounty.com/the-sound-of-cat/

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Cats may use a squeaky meow to grab their owner’s attention. They could tell you they want to play, be petted, or receive a treat.

Expressing Discomfort

A squeaky meow might indicate that your cat is experiencing discomfort or pain. They could be trying to communicate that something is wrong and needs your attention.

Communicating Needs

Cats may also use a squeaky meow to communicate their needs, such as being hungry, thirsty, or wanting to go outside.

By observing your cat’s behavior and environment, you can better understand the message they are trying to convey with their squeak.

When to Be Concerned About Your Cat’s Squeak

While a squeaky meow may be expected for some cats, it’s essential to be aware of any sudden changes in their vocalizations or accompanying symptoms.

Sudden Change in Vocalization

If your cat’s meow has suddenly become squeaky, and it’s not their typical sound, paying attention to this change is essential.

It could indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

Accompanying Symptoms

Suppose your cat’s squeaky meow is accompanied by other symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty breathing.

In that case, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian. These could be signs of a more serious health problem that needs immediate attention.

Helping Your Cat Regain Its Meow

If you’re concerned about your cat’s squeaky meow, there are a few steps you can take to help them regain their normal vocalizations.

Visit the Vet

The first and most crucial step is to consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing your cat’s squeaky meow.

Your vet can perform a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatment if necessary.

Provide Proper Hydration

Ensuring your cat has access to fresh water is essential for proper hydration. If your cat is dehydrated, it could affect its vocal cords and cause a squeaky meow.

Create a Stress-Free Environment

Stress can also affect a cat’s vocalizations. Create a calm and quiet environment for your cat by providing a comfortable space to retreat to, minimizing loud noises, and engaging in regular playtime to help reduce stress.


A squeaky meow may be natural for some cats. Still, paying attention to any sudden changes or accompanying symptoms that could indicate a more severe issue is essential.

Understanding the potential causes of your cat’s squeaky meow and taking appropriate action can ensure your feline friend remains happy, healthy, and communicative.


1. Why does my cat only squeak instead of meowing?

Cats may squeak instead of meowing due to genetics, vocal cord dysfunction, illness, trauma, or dehydration. It could also be their unique way of communicating their needs and emotions.

2. Is a squeaky meow a cause for concern?

A squeaky meow isn’t always a cause for concern, especially if it’s normal for your cat. However, if there is a sudden change in their vocalizations or if they exhibit other concerning symptoms, consult a veterinarian.

3. Can I help my cat regain its normal meow?

You can help your cat regain its normal meow by addressing any underlying health issues, ensuring proper hydration, and creating a stress-free environment. Consult your veterinarian for further guidance.

4. Are certain cat breeds more prone to squeaky meows?

Yes, some cat breeds, such as Siamese and Oriental Shorthairs, are known for their unique vocalizations and may naturally produce a squeaky sound instead of a traditional meow.

5. How can I tell if my cat’s squeaky meow is an attention-seeking behavior or a sign of discomfort?

Observe their body language and behavior to determine if your cat’s squeaky meow is attention-seeking or a sign of discomfort.

If they are actively engaging with you, seeking playtime, or looking for food, it’s likely an attention-seeking behavior.

However, if they exhibit signs of distress, such as hiding, excessive grooming, or showing other symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite, their squeak could be a sign of discomfort. In the latter case, consult your veterinarian for a proper evaluation.


  1. Animals | Free Full-Text | What’s in a Meow? A Study on Human Classification and Interpretation of Domestic Cat Vocalizations (mdpi.com)
  2. Feline vocal communication – PMC (nih.gov)
  3. Vocal cord dysfunction: A case report (aana.com)
  4. Feline Upper Respiratory Infection | VCA Animal Hospitals (vcahospitals.com)
  5. Herpesvirus Infection in Cats (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis) | VCA Animal Hospitals (vcahospitals.com)

Fauzan Suryo Wibowo, experienced online publisher and founder of Meongnium.com, combines his love for cats with deep knowledge to provide reliable, engaging content. With a history in pet-focused platforms, he offers a trusted resource for cat enthusiasts, promoting appreciation for felines worldwide.

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