Cats can be demanding animals to live with and it seems that they have a large selection of ways to make their presence known around the house. A combination of meowing and rubbing their bodies on humans and objects in the house can be cute at first, but can become distracting when they constantly do it. If they suddenly start this combo of behavior, it can also be confusing and you may wonder if there is something strange going on with your cat.
There are a few causes why you cat could be meowing and rubbing on things. These causes range from normal and even positive behaviour to medical concerns. We’ve summarised four of the most common reasons your cat could be meowing and rubbing on everything. Before we start, its worth going over why cats meow and rub on things.
Why do cats meow?
Kittens meow to call out to their mothers for attention and care. Normally, as cats grow up they will stop meowing to communicate with others. They will still vocalise with other cats through growls, hisses, and purring.
When cats are domesticated by living with humans, they will see their owners as their carers. They quickly realise that they can meow at them for attention like they would do to their mothers. This means that cats normally only meow at humans as a way to communicate with them.
The most basic thing a cat will meow at humans for is to ask for attention. They may also do it as a way to say hello, ask for food, or to see if you are in the house. If you respond to your cat’s meows though calling back to them or even just acknowledging their presence by looking at them they are likely to meow more as they know their communication is working.
Why do cats rub on things?
Cats rub on objects and people to mix their scent on to them. Cats have scent glands on their heads on bodies which contain pheromones which contain a smell that is unique to them. These smells are undetectable to humans but are a basic form of communication for cats. It lets cats know what belongs to each other and where they have been.
Cats will normally rub their scent onto objects to claim them as territory. They will also do this to humans that they see as part of their family. Its a compliment if your cat is boking their head on to you, they see you as somebody important enough they want everybody else to know that you
A cat that is less certain about their territory may feel the need to rub their scent on to more objects to make themselves feel more comfortable. Although the behavior would also be common to occasionally see in a happy cat at home.
4 Reasons your cat is meowing and rubbing everything
Now that we have covered why cats meow and rub on things as individual behaviours, lets look in to why they may combine the two.
1 They are happy and trying to show their affection
This is the ideal reason that your cat is meowing and rubbing themselves on everything around your house. If your cat is specifically brushing themselves up on to you, you may be dealing with a happy cat.
This means that your cat is feeling particularly confident and social with you today. They are expressing this by vocalising to communicate with you while also touching up their scent on you so everybody in the neighbourhood knows which cat you belong to.
Cats will commonly start this combo of behaviors around food time or when getting treats or maybe even pets. They understand that they are going to get what is in their eyes one of the best rewards throughout the day from you and are excited because of it. They will meow out of happiness and probably also to get you to hurry up with their reward. They will probably also worm their way between your legs as they are trying to show some affection to you as their provider.
2 They are bored and trying to get your attention
On the opposite end of the cat happiness spectrum, your cat may be excessively meowing and rubbing on objects in the house because they are bored, frustrated, and seeking out entertainment.
In this case, cats will rub on objects in the house as a self-calming behavior. Sort of how like you might pace about when feeling anxious. Cats can become stressed or anxious due to a lack of entertainment and stimulation.
When cats get bored or stressed it is quite common for them to become very vocal to their owners. This is a sign that your cat is either desperately seeking out your attention and wants some time interacting with you. Your cat may be bored if you don’t play with them enough or haven’t got enough spaces around the house for your cat to live in and make their own. There are other signs that your cat may be bored which you can read about in our article here.
3 They have gone into heat
Excessive meowing and rubbing on objects around the house are two of the many signs that your cat is in heat. It is normally very obvious when your cat is in heat. For one, they will a female that is unspayed and older than at least 6 months. They will also become very demanding. Their calls will be more like yowls as they are calling for a mate and they will probably try to escape outside to find them.
Cats in heat will raise their tail and become a lot more affectionate to everybody. Their calls will also normally become very loud and may constantly go on through the night. Other territorial behaviours like spraying will also be common during this time so you may need to take steps to protect your furniture and flooring by laying down protective layers of flooring.
The only way to stop your cat going into heat is to get them fixed. This has a lot of other benefits for your cat’s health and we recommend that you look in to it as soon as possible. Otherwise, all you can really do is wait out their heat cycle and try to protect them from going outside.
4 They are struggling and trying to calm themselves
Cats that have had a sudden traumatic experience around the house may feel scared and uncertain about their environment. Depending on your cat’s personality, they may try to self-soothe through claiming territory by rubbing up on objects and meowing to you for help. Rubbing themselves on objects and people is a way for your cat to calm themselves down and make themselves ore confident about their surroundings if they are scared.
This feeling may have been caused by a negative experience they had recently. Problems with territoriality in house cats can commonly be caused by other animals coming up to the window. Their visits stress out your cat as they perceive them as a threat. Your cat will like they need to be more defensive over their own territory and reassure themselves by leaving their scent around the area.
When cats call out to you like this, it may be because they want your attention so you know that there is a threat in the area. Scared cats may also just want some attention from you as their protector. This doesn’t necessarily mean pets as they are still agitated but they may appreciate being in the same room as you for assurance. If they are meowing out of the window aggressively, they may also be trying to deter whatever animal is outside from coming any closer.
Excessive meowing can also be a sign that your cat is in pain. Cats are normally pretty good at hiding injuries so this could be quite serious. If you can’t see any obvious injuries to your cat something may still be affecting them. Its best to get the opinion of a professional vet if you are concerned for your cat.
The best way to treat cats meowing because of territoriality is to make themselves feel more confident about the place they live in. Give them more places to safely hide in and rub their scent on. Enclosed cat beds and blankets are perfect for this. You can also try to deter other cats or animals coming up to your home with sprinklers or motion activated animal deterrents. You could also use certain plants as a natural way to deter cats from a specific area.
As you can see, there are a wide range of reasons why your cat could be meowing and rubbing themselves on everything in the house. The specific reason will depend on your cat’s experience of living inside of your house and their personality. You will be able to determine the reasoning for their behaviour by looking for contextual clues as to how your cat is feeling. All sudden behaviour changes in cats are concerning and can be enough reason to go to a vet. If you have concerns about your cat or they begin to show more odd behaviours, you should book an appointment with them as soon as possible.