Why Are Maine Coons So Noisy?


Maine Coons are not known for their shy and retiring natures. They are sociable cats who like to make themselves heard. I have two Maine Coons and they are chattier than any of my previous cats.

Why are Maine Coon cats so noisy? Maine Coons use their voices to attract our attention. These clever cats are quick to learn that when they talk we take notice. A few urgent meows result in food being provided, doors being opened and a fuss being made.

Why Do Maine Coons Make So Much Noise?

Maine Coons are rather vocal compared to many other breeds. They have various reasons for making a noise. They can be heard chirping, trilling, and meowing on a daily basis. Over the years, I have learned to decipher their intended messages.

Excessive use of vocals may be an indication that all is not well. Your Maine Coon may vocalize more than usual if it is bored, frustrated, injured, or unwell. Constant meowing from a distance may mean your Maine Coon is stuck somewhere. Check your closets and behind other closed doors.

Maine Coons Make Some Weird Noises

Why do Maine Coons make weird noises? Most of the time it’s their way of communicating. They are extraordinarily sociable cats and love to be involved in whatever you are doing. Some people say Maine Coons don’t often meow – they haven’t met my two then. Maine Coons don’t just meow, they have a much wider vocabulary range than that including but not limited to: ‘rrrrrrrr‘, ‘ow’, ‘mow’, ‘mow-wow’,  ‘eh’, ‘e’, ‘meh’ and often a very musical purr.

Cats have a wider vocabulary than any other household pets. They are clever little creatures and each noise they make has a unique meaning that you will come to understand when you live with one. They are quick to learn how you react to what they say. Here are some ways you might interpret Maine Coon talk:

Meowing

This is the classic vocal we all associate with cats. Some Maine Coons have very clear meows, often surprisingly high-pitched for their size. You are unlikely to hear cats meowing to each other because this is the sound they make almost exclusively to communicate with people. You are unlikely to hear an adult cat meow otherwise. Kittens meow to their mothers but this form of communication ceases once they leave her. Because we usually adopt kittens before this meowing stage is over, they keep meowing at us as if we are their mothers. As we react and respond to this sound, cats continue to meow at us for attention.

Here are four common reasons for Maine Coons to meow:

  • The ‘feed me now’ meow –  this is usually a persistent meow that emanates from the kitchen area of a home. Your Maine Coon will come to find you if you don’t drop everything at once and come running. It’s quite hard to ignore this pleading meow and you could be convinced that your cat hasn’t eaten for a week instead of a couple of hours.
  • The ‘let me in’ meow – your Maine Coon wants you to let it into a room. A Maine Coon doesn’t really like it when you close a door between you and it. Our Maine Coon, Harry, lets out a desperate meow to be allowed into the bathroom, usually just after I’ve just stepped into the shower. I have to step out to let him in because otherwise my shower is just not relaxing and I’m convinced passersby will hear and think I am torturing him. So if you like to close doors, make sure you are prepared to get up and down like a yo-yo. It’s great exercise but it wears a bit thin at 2 am when you have an early start. We leave our bedroom door open and now our two generally pop in at bedtime and then disappear when we’re asleep. They don’t seem to wake us up too early these days either, which is a bonus.
  • The ‘I want attention’ meow – this one often occurs just after I sit down with my laptop or when I’m intent on watching the TV. It basically means look at me, I’m bored, here I am and I’m much more interesting than whatever it is you’re doing. This is a good time to play with your cat and give it some quality time. After a bit of fuss like this has been lavished upon it, your Maine Coon will probably leave you alone and wander off to do something else, so you can continue with what you’d planned. On the other hand, it may just sit in the way of the TV screen or lie on your laptop.
  • The ‘hello I’m back’ or ‘hello you’re back’ meow –  a Maine Coon often meows on its return from an adventure in the garden (if it’s allowed out of course) just to let you know it’s back. Or it meows to welcome you home if you’ve been out. Quite often when our red tabby comes in, he tears around the house like a kitten meowing at the top of his voice. We’ve never quite worked out what this is all about but it is funny and he sounds like a herd of elephants thundering overhead, even though he only weighs 11 pounds. 

If you hear your Maine Coon meow and it doesn’t appear to be for any of the above reasons, it could be feeling unwell or have an injury. Check it for signs of a physical problem and watch out for any obvious health issues developing. Take a trip to the vets if you’re in any doubt. As Maine Coons get older they may start meowing more often. This may be due to anxiety. One of our cats likes to drink from the kitchen faucet but can no longer jump up on the counter. He meows until we come running to lift him up there and turn on the water.

Sometimes, Maine Coons meow incessantly especially if you don’t react immediately and see what they want. It can be a sign of a problem such as an injury so make sure you do check. Long, drawn-out meows may mean something is irritating your cat – you should attempt to discover what this might be, perhaps a strange cat has come into view through a window.

Yowling

Maine Coons yowl for all sorts of reasons including:

  • To communicate with each other.
  • Older Maine Coons yowl because of cognitive issues such as not recognizing where they are or wondering where you are at night, or if because they are losing their sense of sight or hearing.
  • Moving house and losing their territory.
  • If they are worried, in pain or feeling ill.
  • Another reason for yowling could be boredom or loneliness. Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and that you make time to play with it every day. Grown-up Maine Coons are always kittens at heart and playing with them keeps them happy and healthy of mind.

If your Maine Coon yowls incessantly,  again it may be ill so visit your vet as soon as possible if you are at all concerned.

Purring

The purr is a sound associated with a happy cat. It makes us feel happy too when a cat purrs contentedly on our lap. A purr can be soft and quiet or manically tuneful.

On occasions, it is thought that a cat purrs when it is worried or agitated. This is like a nervous reaction. A sign that your Maine Coon’s purr is not for pleasure can include a tense stance. If you notice this, something might be worrying your cat. Give it some attention to see if it relaxes.

Cats purr out of hunger. My Maine Coon, Harry, climbs onto me in bed and purrs like crazy in the mornings. There’s no way to stop him except by getting up to give him breakfast.

One other cause of purring can be for self-comfort. A cat recovering from illness will often purr to itself. There have been some suggestions that the vibrations caused through a cat’s body when it purrs are able to repair its health when it is feeling poorly.  If you are aware that your cat is very ill, sadly, it may begin to purr, almost as if it is making a recovery, when it is actually close to dying. All you can do ie stay close at hand to offer comfort if this doesn’t cause distress.

Chattering

Your Maine Coon might make an unusual chattering sound when it sees something it might usually prey on but can’t actually get at it. For example, you might hear this noise as a cat watches birds through a window. To make this sound, a cat slightly opens its mouth and its jaw opens and closes very quickly. This sound might be made because of excitement along with the stress of not being able to get at its prey.

Muffled mow

You’ll hear this sound from a triumphant Maine Coon as it attempts to meow whilst carrying something in its mouth. Usually, it is calling you to come and receive whatever it might be as a gift. Some people’s Maine Coons might be carrying a favorite plaything in their mouth but when my cats make this noise I’m afraid it’s usually a real mouse they have just caught in the garden. Remember, your Maine Coon is genuinely trying to please you by bringing you its quarry, so act pleased and dispose of it once your cat has left the area.

Chirping and trilling

Mother cats make these tuneful noises to communicate with their kittens. Our Maine Coons are siblings and make ascending and descending “rrrruh” sounds to each other. If you hear your cat make this sound it may be feeling happy or want you to follow it somewhere – maybe to the kitchen to give it some food. I hear my cats make these noises at one another before engaging in a play fight. One will appear and trill, the other will approach and trill back. They then give each other a wash and roll about on the floor together, like kittens. Sometimes this turns into growling and they nip each other.

Angry Maine Coon

Hissing and spitting

A Maine Coon’s hiss is a warning that it does not like what you’re doing. It definitely feels threatened and will lash out if necessary. If might also puff up its fur, arch its back and bare its teeth. Steer clear and take away any source of irritation. Maine Coons rarely behave like this unless provoked.

Growling

Growling usually accompanies hissing and snarling. A cat might emit such noises if a strange cat invades its territory. Cats often do this through a window at another cat in the yard. You shouldn’t intervene or your cat might show anger towards you. Be careful if you ever try to stop cats confronting each other as you may get injured. If you fear two cats are injuring each other, squirt or throw water over them and they should stop. Try not to let your cat see you do this though!

Caterwauling

Females in season caterwaul and it sounds quite like yowling. The noise comes from their throats and might be spelled arr-roo-uhuhh-roo. Unspayed female Maine Coons may try to escape from the house when they are in heat, so be extra careful.

Screaming

You may hear a female Maine Coon scream during mating and it’s quite a distressing sound. Fighting cats also scream because of the pain of being scratched and bitten. Having females spayed and males neutered can help to prevent either of these screaming situations from occurring.

Two particular noises my Maine Coon cats make

Our white Maine Coon, Charlie, makes a very distinct, deep ‘mow-wow’ sound. He usually does this at night when he enters a room and finds it is empty. We feel like he is calling to find out where we are.

Our red tabby Maine Coon, Harry, makes very clipped short-vowel sounds such as ‘e’ and ‘meh’ and ‘mow’. These are all high pitched and very cute.  He does this in a conversational way and if we speak back to him he does it all the more. The ‘mow’ is my favorite because it sounds like he’s being lazy and can be bothered to add the ‘ee’ sound to ‘meow’. 

Changes to Your Maine Coons Usual Voice

If you notice your cat isn’t its usual chatty self, sounds hoarse and is much quieter than usual this could be a sign that something’s not quite right. There can be several reasons for a Maine Coons voice to change:

Infection

Viruses such as herpes and feline calicivirus can cause an upper respiratory infection (URI) in a Maine Coon, which can turn into laryngitis. Symptoms of URIs include a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. If laryngitis develops the associated sore throat can make a cat sound hoarse. So if your cat sounds like it’s losing its voice and has the symptoms of a URI, it’s time to visit your vet.

Growths

Maine Coons can develop growths on their vocal cords or in other areas of their throat. Often these growths are benign tumors or polyps but occasionally can be more sinister. Symptoms include hoarseness, changed vocal sounds or even a complete loss of vocals, along with sneezing, coughing and ear infections. Again a trip to your vet for a full diagnosis is in order if you are at all worried.

Laryngeal Paralysis

it’s not common, but Maine coons can develop a condition known as laryngeal paralysis where nerve damage causes the larynx – or voice box – to stop working properly during breathing or meowing. Along with hoarseness or loss of voice, your cat may also develop a cough, lose weight, find eating difficult and struggle for breath. Laryngeal paralysis is a serious illness, so if your cat has symptoms of this condition go to your vet as a matter of urgency.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can often make a cat’s voice sound hoarse. It will also begin to lose weight. This often affects older cats but is not limited to them. A blood test by your vet will be able to diagnose this condition.

Rabies

Rabies can also cause hoarseness, so if you think there’s any chance your cat has come into contact with a rabid animal take it to the vets.

Meowing to much

Finally, if your cat has meowed a lot more than usual for any length of time, this may be the cause of its hoarseness. If you suspect this is a reason for your cat’s voice change, then with a little rest it will soon be back to its usual self. If it’s not then, check with your vet.

Conclusion

Maine Coons are talkative cats with a large vocabulary and they make wonderful companions. Once you’ve lived with one for a while, you will get to understand what it’s trying to say to you. You will soon find yourself holding conversations with a cat you never dreamt you would have – you will suddenly realize you are talking to one like you would a person who really understands what you are saying. You are not crazy, this is typical cat owner behavior. And it’s so rewarding when a Maine Coon responds to your voice. So make sure you answer your chatty cat whenever it speaks, and take the time to discover what it requires of you. Remember your Maine Coon is doing its utmost to make you understand it. And if your Maine Coon sounds hoarse or suddenly stops talking to you there could be an underlying medical problem so visit your vet for advice.

Find out all there is to know about Maine Coons in our Complete Guide To Maine Coon Cats.

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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