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Excessive Meowing

Why is your cat meowing more than usual?

The cat’s meow: A brief history lesson

The goal of a cat’s meow changes as cats move from infancy to adulthood. In fact, a cat can be extremely noisy after birth. Indicating to the mother that they are cold, hungry or scared, kittens use their newfound voice to bring attention to their needs.

As a cat progresses into adulthood, however, the intentions of their excessive
meowing begin to change from an indication of hunger to a more distressed, or
bored nature. As the ASPCA notes, adult cats don’t meow to communicate with
other cats. Instead, they meow to communicate with people. These vocalizations
include hissing, yowling, chirring, and shrieking, each of which is designated for a
specific time of need. Meowing is generally reserved for their youthful kitten days —
and for people.

As touching as it is to be the reason a cat meows, there might be more concerning
reasons why your cat is meowing all the time, one that can’t be explained by yowls
or hissing.

Is too much meowing a bad thing?

It depends. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Here are some of the reasons
your cat may be more vocal:

Sickness– If you are concerned that your cat may be warning you they don’t feel
well, take your cat in to see the vet as soon as possible. Many illnesses that affect cats have discomforting side effects, including hunger, excessive thirst, and even pain.
Medical conditions, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, hearing loss, and even old age
can cause meowing to increase.

Stress– Although sun-bathing and napping all day might not sound too high
pressure, cats have a way of taking in the energy of the household. Sudden
environmental shifts like moving, the addition of a new family member or the loss of
a relative can all trigger a cat’s anxiety. Left with no other way to express themselves,
cats resort to excessive meowing. Spending time with your pet during these
transitional periods to reduce their anxiety is a great way to minimize the noise.

Breeding– Cats looking to attract mates may turn to their animal instincts to attract
a potential partner. An attempt to lure a lover with a melodic meow may be the
reason your cat has been acting up. Spaying or neutering your cat can dampen their
need to mate.

Accentuate the Positive

Once you’ve ruled out any of these possible reasons your cat may be extra vocal, you
think about different ways to minimize an overly communicative cat through
positive reinforcement.

When your cat is quiet, praise her calmly and peacefully. Make sure you’re lavishing
plenty of attention on your cat throughout the day and following a regular meal
schedule. The trick to this strategy is to avoid punishing your cat for being overly
vocal—that will only induce more fear, prompting more meowing. Ensuring your cat
isn’t neglected is the top tip to reducing your chatty kitty’s tendencies.

Eliminate the Negative

Try to determine what triggers meowing. Is your cat excited? Nervous? Anxious?
Scared? If you can pinpoint the cause, your veterinarian can suggest
ways to help disrupt excessive meowing.

While there are several reasons your cat may be vocally active, pinpointing the cause
can help you keep your cat healthy and happy, and you and your neighbors’ ears at
peace.

If you’ve found ways to encourage your vocal cat to be a little quieter, feel free to
drop a comment below with your tips and tricks!

How Many Breeds of Domestic and Wild Cats Are Out There?

Quick tips for identifying a cat’s breed, whether domestic or wild.

While many pet owners tend to know the general breed of their animals, cat breeds
can be particularly difficult to pinpoint. Why exactly are they so difficult to identify?

Overall, cat classifications vary from database to database, making it difficult to
determine just how many breeds of cats there are and what constitutes each breed.
Altogether, there are roughly 100 breeds of domestic cats and approximately 40
breeds of wild cats. Here are a few tips on how to tell your cat’s breed:

Coat length – Most of these beloved pets can be grouped into two categories: long
haired or short haired. From here, your furry friend can be placed into subcategories
based on coat color and pattern. Long hairs can include a variety of breeds such as
Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Maine Coon. Short hairs can consist of breeds such as Manx,
Bombay, and Bengal.

Fur pattern and color – Your cat’s coat pattern and color can be a significant
identifying factor when trying to determine the ancestral history of your pet.
Patterns can be displayed in a wide variety of colors, including calico, tabby, and
tortoise.

Tortoiseshell coats can include red, black, cream, orange, gold, and white colors.
Affectionately referred to as “torties,” this pattern can be found on a variety of breeds
such as Cornish Rex, Persian, and British Shorthair.

Calico cats have coats that are mostly white with patches of orange, black, cream
and gray. This pattern can include breeds such as Scottish Fold, Persian, and Maine
Coon.

Despite what some pet-owners may think, tabby is actually not a breed. Tabby refers
to the cat’s coat pattern which can display dots, lines, swirling patterns or stripes —
all of which come together to form a distinct “M” shape on its forehead. Its fur can
include brown, black, red, silver, red and cream colors. This pattern can be found on
breeds such as Siberian, American Curl, and Australian Mist.

Facial structure – For the most part, a cat’s bone structure will fall under three
categories: triangle, round, and square. Siamese and Cornish Rex can be identified
by their famously triangular face that gives them sharper features. Felines with
round faces can include Singapura, Exotic Shorthair, and Burmilla. Square faces can
be found on breeds such as the Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon.

While dogs have been bred for various purposes such as hunting, racing, and
herding animals, cats were not bred with the intent to serve humans. Cats were
primarily made to chase mice and look adorable. Due to this, although the exact
number of domestic and wild cat breeds is still unknown, there are still far fewer
recognized breeds of cats than there are dogs.

A recent study shows that cats actually came to domesticate themselves. Since mice
and other rodents were attracted to the agricultural crops created by humans, the
ancient ancestors of our beloved pets likely came into contact with humans daily.
Another lineage of cats from Egypt suggests that humans were intrigued by their
personalities and attitudes — just as we are today.

Cat-owners can agree that some of the most popular breeds include American
Shorthair, Siamese, and Maine Coons. However, if you fancy befriending a rare feline,
some of the more rare breeds include Burmilla, Peterbald, and Serengeti. However,
no matter how popular or unusual your breed of cat is — it will still come with its own
unique and quirky personality that you will be sure to love.

Cats May Be at Risk for Heartworm Disease

There’s a common misconception that cats are not affected by heartworm disease; we’re here to tell you that is false! So, if felines can get heartworm disease, is it the same as canine heartworms? Is it preventable? Let us help fill you in on the important facts surrounding how heartworm disease can affect our feline family members.

Feline and canine heartworm disease are the same in that they both are caused by a bite from an infected mosquito and can be potentially fatal. The difference is in the nature of the disease, and how it’s detected and diagnosed.

Heartworm Disease in Felines

Unlike dogs, cats are not a natural host for heartworms – which means the larvae will likely have a shorter lifespan. Fortunately, this makes it more difficult for heartworms to affect the larger organs, but can create significant heart, pulmonary artery, and respiratory problems. While it is less likely cats will get heartworm, this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Studies indicate that a solid approximation would be 10%; so, for every 100 dogs that are heartworm positive, there will be 10 positive cases of feline heartworm.

In the cases feline heartworm, many cats will not show symptoms ultimately making it a difficult disease to detect. Often times, the symptoms – including coughing, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even weight loss – mimic those of other common diseases. If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, please contact us immediately.

Here is an incredibly important fact: There are both oral and topical prescriptions that can help PREVENT heartworm disease from occurring; however, there are currently no approved drugs for TREATING heartworm in cats. So, if your cat becomes infected, any treatments to kill adult heartworms can cause incredible health complications for your pet. As the adult worms die and pass through the arteries to the lungs of your cat when attempting heartworm treatment, it can cause failure in the lungs and sudden death of your beloved feline companion.

Talk with us at your next appointment to review the risks for your cat, and to discuss prevention opportunities that may work best for your individual pet. As your trusted partners in pet healthcare, we want to help you ensure that your pet leads the healthiest and happiest life possible!

Preventative Care For Cats

We recognize that your pet’s preventative health care can be a bit overwhelming! Preventative medicine plays a crucial role in keeping your furry family member happy and healthy.  Listed below are the most commonly used preventative care practices utilized in our hospital and may be discussed in our upcoming appointment.

Annual Preventative Care Exam
Annual exams are so much more than just vaccines! During the exam, the doctor will assess your pet from nose to tail. The personal attention your pet receives in the appointment allows us to use their current physical condition, the history provided, and our professional experience to formulate recommendations that we believe will help your pet live the best life possible. Many chronic conditions can be caught and managed early when your pet is evaluated on an annual basis. Every stage of life brings a different set of challenges and as your trusted pet care provider, we will be here to help you every step of the way!

Vaccines
We are committed to the long-term wellness of our pet patients. Below are the primary vaccines we recommend depending on the pet’s lifestyle. We will discuss these with you at your pet’s appointment to determine which of these are recommended.

  • FeLV Vaccine – This vaccine is used to protect your pet from feline leukemia, a potentially fatal virus. We will want to run bloodwork the day of your appointment prior to the vaccine being administered to ensure your cat does not already have the virus.
  • FVRCP Vaccine – This vaccine protects your cat against three potentially deadly airborne viruses: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia
  • Rabies Vaccine– A vaccine that is highly recommended due to the risk to people and the disease being very fatal.

Make sure to ask us about our Free Vaccines for Life program which is designed specifically for adult animals.  After a one-time Enrollment fee, your pet’s vaccine costs will be free for the rest of their life. All you must do to keep the benefits going year after year is bring them in for their annual Preventative Care exam! Visit http://www.arizonapetvet.com/free_vaccines.php for more information on our program.

Fecal Testing
A fecal exam detects microscopic parasites found in the stool such as tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms. A yearly test is recommended to allow for proper treatment if needed. Make sure to bring a fecal sample in a bag with you to your pet’s preventative care exam.

Heartworm Testing and Prevention
Heartworm is a preventable parasitic disease in dogs and cats spread by mosquitoes. In the last 3 years, Arizona has seen a significant increase in positive cases throughout the state. There are multiple ways to protect your pet, all of which are much simpler, safer, and more cost-effective than treating the disease if it occurs.  We recommend annual blood testing and monthly prevention to ensure your pet is protected.

Flea/Tick Control
Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites found in dogs and cats. They survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick bites can lead to health problems including constant itching, hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), as well as infections and transmission of disease. Fleas and Tick prevention is as easy as a monthly flavored treat.

Nutrition
Proper nutrition is a key to keeping your pet happy and healthy! It is estimated that 60% of cats are overweight. Special diets are commonly used to help reduce the risk of conditions such as oral health, urinary related issues such as bladder stones and kidney disease, weight management and much more! There are many options available to you to help your cat companion fight these common ailments.

Dentistry
If you’ve had a whiff of your pets’ breath and said “Eeeewwww!” you’re not alone! Dental disease is one of the most common problems found during a pet’s annual wellness exam.

If left untreated, the bacteria can lead to issues such as gum disease, tooth infection, bone loss, chronic pain and infection of the kidneys, liver and even the heart. Veterinary dental treatment has evolved over the years. It requires general anesthesia so that the teeth can be thoroughly evaluated and cleaned. Dental x-rays are also taken to examine the health of the mouth. Talk with your doctor to see if dental treatment is necessary for your pet!

Annual Blood Work
As soon as possible, we would recommend doing annual blood work as a part of your cat’s preventative care plan. Annual blood work helps detect health problems, so treatment is begun before symptoms worsen. It also helps establish a baseline, which can be helpful in comparison with future testing if your pet becomes ill.

We hope this information clarified some of the things we may discuss in your pets upcoming preventative care appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your furry family member soon!