My Cat Can’t Meow Just Squeaks – Why? [6 Top Reasons]

Just like humans, cats have different personalities. Every cat is different from other cats, and this is noticeable in their behaviors and habits. You can also see this in their voices. The difference in personalities of cats has reflected the difference between similar voices accordingly.

Similarly, cats communicate and share information about their world. If you try to listen closely, you will find a range of vocals.

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Even though the list is longer, few specific vocals to mention here are meows, hisses, purrs, and growls. Some of these voices are used to express anger, fear, or worry; others will let you know about ease and contentment.

Inability to meow is one of the concerns for people who have cats as their pets. In such cases, cats often communicate with people through squeaks.

Why A Cat Squeaks Instead Of Meowing?

As different sounds have a different meaning, you will find some cats that are unable to meow. These cats only squeak.

There can be different reasons behind this that you need to pay attention to or sometimes ignore. Here are some of the main reasons if your cat is not meowing but squeaking only.

1. Disorder By Birth:

Vocal cords are the primary source to generate sounds. Damage to vocal cords can be one reason for cats unable to meow. Damage to the vocal cords of a cat can be a birth defect. It is similar to some human birth defects that include blindness and deafness.

A check-up by an expert vet specialist can only confirm this birth defect. In some cases, it is true, but there are other reasons as well. So better to consider this as a possible reason but not the only reason for cats to squeak.

2. Improper Growth:

Another reason for vocal cords unable to produce sound can be their improper growth. When a child kitten develops into an adult cat, she has multiple needs for proper development. Proper nutrition and care of these kittens are critical for them, similar to any other organism’s growth.

A simple example of not taking care of a kitten properly is holding a kitten by children. Soon after the birth of a kitten, children want to express their love for kittens.

Unknowingly, they just squeeze and press the neck of the kitten tightly. It can affect the growth of vocal cords. All of this happens unintentionally and may lead to affect the ability of a cat to meow.

3. Disease Or Infection:

Another probable reason for cats to squeak instead of meow is an infection or disease to their vocal cords. An infection in the vocal cords makes it difficult for a cat to make any sound other than meow as well.

Hyperthyroidism, UPI (Upper Respiratory Infection), laryngeal paralysis, and tumor or polyps are few known diseases for cats.

All of these diseases can seriously damage their ability to meow, growl, purrs, or hiss. Cats might squeak when they are going through some condition. Other animal throat diseases are also the reason for squeaking instead of meowing.

4. Injury:

We have talked about diseases, infections, and birth disorders as a possible reasons for cats squeaking. Another possible reason for the cat being unable to meow is the injury of any cat’s organ other than vocal cords.

In some severe cases, they might be unable to speak as well. Cats are the same as other living beings, so any serious injury can affect their ability to meow.

Whatever the reason for cats to squeak instead of meow, always consult your veterinary consultant. It will help you to better understand the issues.

5. Weakness Or Hunger:

The reason we are talking here may not be a serious one. Sometimes, cats cannot meow and make any sound because they are hungry and too weak to tell you. If you find a stray cat that is squeaking only can be tired and too weak.

She needs something to eat before she starts making other sounds. Dehydration is another reason for the cats unable to meow.

my cat can't meow just squeaks – why

But this specific reason can apply to the cats who are unable to meow temporarily only. It is better to spend some time with cats if you see them squeaking.

Monitor the cat for a few hours after you have fed them properly. If they are still unable to make any sound except squeak, consult your veterinary doctor.

6. Feral Cats:

Meow is the sound that cats use to communicate with humans only and no one else. Based on this fact, we can say that meowing is a learned process. Only cats that live among humans learn it and able to generate this sound.

Feral cats are unable to meow but squeak only as they have never learned how to meow. So if you brought a new cat to your home and she is unable to meow, don’t worry. That cat can be a feral one and does not know the meow sound.


There are reasons for different sounds of cats and no sound but squeak only as well. If you love cats, just make sure you understand the meaning of these sounds. You should be able to understand the reasons if they are unable to communicate with you.

Yes, sometimes the squeak of a cat can be an indication of some infection or illness. But other times, it can be natural or a birth defect as well. You don’t have to worry all the time.

All you need to do is to consult your veterinary expert to get your cat treated professionally.