Cats have different personalities. Some might be quiet, while others might verbalize all the time. But if you’ve noticed that your feline friend seems to be unusually quiet, here are some possible reasons.
Just remember, cats can be just as moody as people, and sometimes, even more. If your cat is quiet for one or two days and nothing else seems to be wrong, it might not be something to worry about.
Quiet and loud cat breeds
First of all, most cats don’t ‘talk’ to each other as much as they do with their human companions. So if you see both of your cats being quiet around the house, when you don’t interact with them, chances are that nothing is wrong.
Vocalization is a very specific feature of all cats, and while they can be pretty unique in this respect, some breeds are known to be more talkative than others. Siamese cats are known to meow almost all the time, and also make sounds when they play. The same applies to breeds such as the following:
- Maine coon
By contrast, other types of cats can be quiet most of the time. Here are some examples:
- British Shorthair
- American Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
When it’s normal
Temporary loss of voice can happen in cats that have been meowing for a long time. This is especially true for cats that tend to suffer from separation anxiety. If, for example, you’ve been working at home for several years and all of a sudden, you start going to the office, you might notice that your feline friend is quiet when you get back home.
Many cats meow when they feel lonely or when they’re looking for you in the house. Temporary loss of voice is not something to be worried about, but your cat should get back to her old self in a matter of several days.
As previously mentioned, some cats can suffer from separation anxiety, but the truth is that cats tend to get stressed for many reasons.
A visit to the vet clinic can be downright traumatizing for a cat that isn’t used to it. Having strangers handle her and trying to examine her is not an experience to look forward to.
For example, while your pet might vocalize when you take her out of the house and all throughout the car drive, she might be unusually quiet when she gets to the clinic and even after – when she’s gotten back home.
Another typical reason for cats being more quiet than usual is when you move to a different place. Cats have to mark their territory, and they have to investigate as much as possible in their new living environment. When they’re particularly focused on something, they don’t meow a lot.
This type of behavior tends to be more common in cats that have lost their sight and whose living environment changes all of a sudden. They have to be careful and pay attention to everything, so meowing is a no-go in this situation.
Possible pathological reasons
If your cat stops meowing and there are other symptoms associated with this behavior, such as lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or anything else in this sense, it’s likely that she’s suffering from disease.
The most common conditions that are accompanied by loss of voice are the following:
Any problem that affects the larynx will be associated with loss of voice, whether that be laryngitis or, worse, laryngeal paralysis. While laryngitis is an inflammation, laryngeal paralysis can be a life-threatening condition, so immediate veterinary assistance is required.
Laryngitis has several symptoms such as coughing, open-mouthed breathing, loss of appetite (for food and water) due to difficult swallowing, wheezing, and gasping for air.
Most of these clinical signs show up if the cat has laryngeal paralysis, too.
- Viral and bacterial infections
Cats can be quieter than usual if they have an infection, particularly one that’s generalized or that affects an important organ such as the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, or the pancreas.
While bacterial infections can’t really be prevented, you can prevent viral infections by getting your cat vaccinated.
- Lesions inside the throat
If your cat has undergone trauma or has pain in her throat for any other reason, she’s not going to be in the mood to meow and indirectly irritate the lesion even more.
- Respiratory infections
All cats can develop respiratory infections, no matter their age, gender, or even health status. Most of the upper respiratory infections are caused by Feline Herpesvirus, but your cat can also get a regular cold.
If this happens, besides the lack of meowing, you’ll also notice other symptoms, such as lethargy, runny eyes, breathlessness, nasal discharge, sneezing, or coughing.
- Throat tumors
Throat cancer might be rare in cats compared to other types (such as tumors of the mammary gland, for example), but it can still happen. Chondrosarcoma is the most common type of throat cancer that cats can develop, and it usually occurs in geriatric pets.
If an animal has a throat tumor, she is not going to try to meow. You’ll also notice other clinical signs, such as the inability to purr, difficult breathing, lethargy, and a loss of appetite due to her inability to swallow.
While hyperthyroidism doesn’t typically lead to voice loss, it can happen. If the thyroid gland gets to an unusually large size, it will apply pressure on the larynx, making the cat less likely to meow.
If an operation was recently performed on your cat and she was intubated, the tools used for the procedure might have irritated the mucous membrane inside the upper respiratory system. Don’t worry; in most cases, your cat’s meow will come back in the course of several days.
When should you be worried?
If your cat doesn’t meow for a couple of days and you start noticing any other weird symptoms, you should take her to the vet. Cats don’t show signs of illness until the condition has progressed, so having your pet examined soon can be very important.