Why Do Cats Meow When Playing With Toys

Cats have their own strange behaviors. Some may charm you while others are sure to annoy you. It can be hard to understand why cats meow when playing with toys. Do they want to play? Are they happy with their new toy? Let’s take a closer look at this behavior to see what your feline buddy could be trying to tell you.

Why Do Cats Meow When Playing with Toys?

Your cat may have a hungry meow and a happy to see you meow, but why does your cat meow with a toy in his or her mouth? Your fuzzy friend is likely wanting you to notice it or how great he or she is for capturing it.

Just like when your cats flick their tail, they are trying to tell you something when meowing while carrying their toy.

Why Cats Use Their Voices

cats meows after playing
Cats are like children and like to show off or get you to play with them.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that when cats are in the wild, they generally only make noise when they’re with their babies, enemies or sexual partners. To communicate different intentions to you and other felines, cats modify the volume, patterns and intensity of their meows.

For instance, when your kitty spots a bird outside, he or she will make a different sound that when your cat is notifying you that the food dish is empty.

If your kitty were wild and caught that bird, then your furry friend would likely hold it in his or her mouth for a bit, emitting that same deep meow that he or she makes when holding a kitty toy. Your kitty is trying to get your attention so that you can praise him or her for catching a wonderful prize.

It’s sort of like when you call your friends to tell them about something great that happened to you like getting a raise or buying a new car.

Why Do Felines Make So Much Noise?

When mother cats are in the wild, they teach their babies how to hunt by capturing prey and returning it to their kittens alive. This gives baby kitties a way to practice their hunting skills. Mother cats call out to their babies to alert them that there is something to hunt.

When your kitty meows at you loudly with a toy in her mouth, your furry friend is trying to get you to notice it. She may even want to show you how to hunt. If you praise your kitty for her amazing hunting skills, then she will probably continue this behavior.

Other Instinctual Behaviors

male cat carrying toy and yowling
It’s a cats instinct to bring you their most prized possession.

Along with making a lot of noise, feline pets display other instinctual behaviors with their toys. For instance, if your pet leaves his or her toys in the water or food dish, your kitty isn’t trying to give them a drink or a bath. According to cat experts, setting toys and other nonfood items in a water or food dish is common feline behavior, and it means that your cat is putting something that he or she loves away in a safe place.

Your kitty considers food and water dishes to be his or her territory. By placing toys and other important items in areas that your kitty has claimed ownership of, he or she is putting them away for safe keeping. If your pet was in the wild, then he or she would be hiding prized possessions from possible predators.

When your animal friend stores toys in food or water dishes or another safe spot, then your pet is tapping into an instinctual collecting behavior, one that mother felines use to get their babies to return to their home shelter. Storing toys is a behavior that’s similar to a mother cat protecting her kittens in one location.

Learning Through Play

Cats enjoy their playtime, but this time is also important for a kitten’s development. Playing with toys and demanding your attention for them makes your kitty happier and healthier. Playtime teaches felines about the different stages of hunting that begins with searching for prey and stalking it to pursuing, pouncing and capturing it. Playing stimulates your cat physically and mentally.

Pet cats have an entire play sequence, and it’s important for them to go through each phase of it. If parts of it are eliminated, such as pouncing or capturing, then your kitty may become frustrated. This is why wand toys, strings, balls and mice are better toy options than laser pointers. Your kitty will never be able to capture a laser pointer.

Can You Stop Your Kitty from Waking You Up in the Middle of the Night?

cat meowing with a toy in his mouth
While cute, it can be annoying when your cat does this in the middle of the night.

Cats are famous for sleeping all day and playing noisily all night. If your kitty’s loud wailing is keeping you up at night, then there are steps that you can take to modify his or her behavior. To get your kitty to sleep at night, consider tiring him or her out an hour or two before your bedtime. Dangle a string around, toss a soft ball for your kitty to chase after, or get something motorized. Try to keep your kitty as active as possible during the day. You can also feed your cat his or her main meal close to your bedtime. Felines usually sleep following a large meal.

Final Word On Cat Meowing While Playing

Some cats get into the hunting mode when playing with their toys or they could be trying to show you their most prized possession. The next time your cat brings you their toy, take some time to play with them.

This will make their day and will help you unwind after a stressful day.

Related Articles

References And Further Reading

Cat Health & Behavior – Cat Carrying Toys

Pets WebMD – Nighttime Activity In Cats