Cats are fun and playful animals who love playing with interesting toys and spending hours chasing after them.
But have you ever noticed your cat meowing while playing with their toys?
I have seen my cat does this with her mouse toy and a stuffed dinosaur she drags around the house at night.
She meows and chases after it relentlessly, sometimes even jumping around in circles.
But why does she do it?
1. Instinctual Hunting Behavior
I have seen my cat get entertained by hunting a fly in the house.
She will silently stalk the fly for hours and then suddenly pounce, meowing loudly, oftentimes swatting her paw in the air and on the floor.
Cats have natural hunting instincts, and carrying toys around and vocalizing can mimic the behavior of carrying prey.
It’s possible that your cat is expressing their hunting instincts and is trying to engage in play behavior with you or other animals in the house.
Also, mother cats in the wild will show their kittens how to hunt, bring back animals they caught, and give them to their kittens to practice hunting.
2. To Show Excitement
Cats can be very expressive when they are happy and excited.
If your cat meows while playing with their toys, it could be their way of showing their excitement.
They might be thrilled to finally have that toy in their possession or just happy to be playing with you.
Some cats are naturally more vocal than others, and they may meow during play as a way to express their excitement or communicate with their owners.
3. To Express Affection
Cats are very affectionate at times and use different methods to show it. One way your cat may show affection while playing with toys is by meowing.
Some cats meow while playing with their favorite toy, which could be a way of showing love and affection.
4. To Show Possession and Territorial Ownership
Think of this as I caught my prey, and it felt good.
Some cats may meow while carrying toys as a way of showing off their “treasure” or marking it as their possession.
This can also be true if you have multiple cats in the house, and one cat is trying to establish dominance over the other.
5. Relieving Frustration or Excess Energy
Cats, especially young ones, can become easily frustrated or have pent-up energy.
Meowing and yowling while carrying toys may serve as a way for them to release some of that energy or alleviate frustration.
It could be an outlet for their excitement or a means to channel their playfulness.
6. Habitual Response
Cats can develop unique habits or quirks that are specific to their individual personalities.
Your cat’s behavior might fall into this category, where she has associated carrying toys and meowing as a way to engage in play or express herself.
7. To Get Attention
Cats love attention, and they can be quite vocal when they don’t get it.
Your cat could be trying to get your attention, seeking interaction, or signaling that she wants to play.
It could be her way of inviting you to join in the play session or acknowledging her accomplishment in catching the toy (the prey).
Cats meow when playing with their toys primarily because they have learned that meowing gets them the desired response from us.
According to a YouTube video from Jackson Galaxy, when kittens are with their mother, they meow to communicate their needs and get attention, such as food or grooming.
This association is reinforced as they grow up and are adopted into new families.
Adult cats typically do not meow to communicate with other cats because it doesn’t serve a purpose within their feline social structure.
However, they continue to meow when interacting with humans because they have learned that it is an effective way to get our attention and meet their needs.
The Meaning Behind Cats Meows
The specific meow sound that cats make when playing with their toys may vary, but it serves as a form of communication directed specifically at humans.
Cats have a wide range of vocalizations, but the meow is unique in its focus on human-cat interaction.
We are more likely to respond to the meow because it mimics frequencies associated with distress in humans and resembles a baby’s cry, which triggers a natural response to provide care and attention.
Over time, this communication pattern has been perpetuated and reinforced through the interaction between cats and humans.
It’s important to note that excessive meowing can have various causes, including medical issues or stress.
If your cat is meowing excessively and it’s not a behavior they have done before, you should definitely consult a veterinarian to rule out potential health concerns.
Additionally, our responses and interactions with our cats may contribute to the continuation of their meowing behavior.
So, understanding the unique relationship between you and your cat is key to interpreting and responding appropriately to their meows.
If you are worried about your cat’s meows, it is important to talk to your vet. Don’t ignore it and hope that it will go away. It is better to be safe and make sure nothing is wrong.