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Why Does My Cat Meow When I Leave the Room?

Although cats have a reputation for being independent, anti-social animals, they can form strong bonds with their humans too. 

If your cat is meowing when you leave the room, your cat is most likely very attached to you, and your leaving makes them upset.

Read more to learn why your cat meows when you leave the room, and the best ways to keep your cat happy and calm, even when you’re gone.

Why your cat meows when you leave the room

If your cat meows when you leave the room, it could be a simple sign that your cat loves you, or it could be a sign of an underlying health condition. 

To help you determine the actual cause, here are seven reasons your cat meows at you when you leave the room.   

#1 Your cat loves you

Just like dogs, many cats crave social interaction with their humans. 

Cats form strong bonds with their favorite people; the stronger the connection, the more your cat wants to be around you.

If your cat meows when you leave the room, there’s a great chance it’s because they have already imprinted on you as their parent. Your cat loves your company, and they’re sad to see you leave. 

#2 Your cat is trying to communicate with you

Meowing is a synonymous sound with cats, but they actually only meow when they’re very young or when humans are around. 

Meowing is predominately how cats communicate with humans, so your cat is trying to communicate their needs with you in the only way they know. 

From there, you have to figure out which one of their needs they’re trying to communicate. 

They might want food, water, playtime, or even just attention (yes, cats sometimes want attention!).

#3 Your cat is bored

Without proper playtime and enrichment, your cat can get very bored throughout the day. 

If your cat is bored, they have pent-up energy that they need to work off and release somehow. Without intervention from you, meowing is one way they will release some of that energy.

Plus, if your cat spends the majority of their day home alone, your presence is one of the only mentally enriching activities they get during the day. 

They meow because they want more time to socialize with you. 

#4 Your cat’s routine has changed

Cats are creatures of habit, and they love sticking to a specific routine. 

They want to be fed at the same time of the day, played with at the same place, and sleep at the same hour every day. This set schedule helps your cat feel safe and confident in their homes.

With that said, any change in this set schedule can lead to distress in your cat. 

A study at Ohio State University found that when a cat’s environment changed, the cat became stressed and was more likely to get sick. 

If you’ve recently changed something about your cat’s environment, they may be overly stressed and meowing to let you know. 

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#5 Your cat has separation anxiety

Cats can develop separation anxiety for many reasons. 

It could be a lack of socialization as kittens, health issues, under-stimulation, or a traumatic event from your cat’s past.  

Regardless, separation anxiety can be serious without properly handled with your cat.

A key sign that your cat has anxiety is if there are other symptoms paired with your cat’s meowing. 

These symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive grooming
  • Destructive behavior
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
  • Not eating or changes in their eating habits
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Over-excited greeting when you get home

#6 Your cat has an underlying illness or injury

Excessive meowing is a symptom of many underlying health conditions, and separation anxiety can be a symptom of a larger illness. These illnesses include:

  • Overactive thyroid
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Urinary tract blockage
  • Cognitive dysfunction

It’s always best to check with your vet if you’ve noticed a change in your cat’s behavior, just to be safe. 

#7 Your cat wants to breed

If your cat has not been spayed or neutered, excessive meowing is a common sign that your cat is ready to mate. 

Female cats, when in heat, will let out deep, loud meows to try and get the attention of male cats in the area. Similarly, male cats will meow if they sense a female cat nearby.

In addition to the excessive meowing, you can tell if your female cat is in heat because of its increased desire for attention. 

During this time, female cats will be extra affectionate and seek your attention whenever possible.

They might rub against you, paw at your face, or even roll on the floor to expose their belly. 

You’ll also want to watch for any signs of marking or spraying urine on furniture or walls around your house. 

This is how female cats spread their scent and let other cats in the area know they’re in heat. 

How to stop your cat from meowing and keep them calm

While we love our cats, excessive meowing when we leave the room can disrupt our lives, and it’s a stressful experience for your cat. 

If your cat is meowing, here are a few ways to keep them quiet and calm. 

More playtime

Many negative cat behaviors are caused by pent-up energy and a lack of exercise. Like dogs, cats need exercise daily to stay calm and healthy.

If your cat seems bored or isn’t getting much interaction throughout the day, establish a playtime routine every day. Designate 15-30 minutes every day to play and exercise your cat. 

Engage your cat’s natural predatory instincts to get the most out of the play session. Simulate a prey with a toy, and allow your cat to chase, hunt, and pounce to burn off excess energy. 

More socialization

Many cats develop separation anxiety because they haven’t been properly socialized with humans. 

If you adopted your cat from a rescue or found it later in life, it’s hard to know what the cat’s kittenhood was like. 

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Socialization can be tricky with older cats, but it is possible. Take socialization slow, but gradually introduce your cat to more people. 

Get them used to the sounds and smells of strangers until they start to open up. This helps build their confidence.

During this time, gradually give them more affection. Not every cat loves to be touched and handled, so you might not get very far with this, but any amount of progress is great. 

More enrichment activities

Just like exercise, your cat needs brain games to keep themselves busy and burn off excess energy. They don’t just want to run around – they want to focus and solve a problem. 

There are many great enrichment activities that you can do with your cat. 

Incorporating more prey-like behaviors and toys will help engage their brains and tap into their stalking instincts during playtime. 

Puzzle toys are also a great option. These have your cat problem-solve and work for treats, which is a great mental exercise. 

If you can’t be home but still want to give your cat some mental enrichment, provide them with many places to look out the window. 

Watching the birds and squirrels run past is very mentally stimulating too. 

Another option is to find Youtube videos of birds, squirrels, and other critters made for cats. 

Anti-anxiety medication

For some cats, separation anxiety can be too much for them, and can take a toll on their mental and physical health. 

While desensitizing your cat to the stress of you leaving is the ultimate goal, medication can help ease this transition and make your cat overall happier.

Another anti-anxiety option is to use calming supplements or pheromone diffusers. These use natural ingredients to mimic the pheromones that mother cats release to calm their kittens. 

Consult with your vet to see if anti-anxiety medication is right for your cat, or if other anti-anxiety over-the-counter methods may be better suited. 

A visit to the vet

Sometimes, the meowing isn’t behavior-related at all. 

If there is an underlying health concern causing your cat to meow in pain or discomfort, a vet will be able to diagnose the problem and work with you on treatment options. 

Once your cat’s illness or injury has been treated, your cat’s meowing should stop.

Should I be worried about the behavior? 

While it’s likely that your cat just enjoys your company, there are a few reasons your cat’s meowing could be detrimental to your cat’s health and wellbeing.

Consult your vet to first rule out any health issues, injuries, or anxiety.

If you’ve ruled out any negative health conditions, then your cat is simply trying to communicate with you, and there’s nothing to be worried about.

In fact, it’s a sign of the strong bond you’ve built with them, and you should feel happy to know that your cat loves you.