Why Do Maine Coon Cats Talk So Much?


Maine Coons are the most vocal cats I have ever owned. Through chirping, trilling, and meowing, they love a chat with anyone who’ll listen and respond. The number of Maine Coon vocal sounds seems endless.

Have you ever wondered why Maine Coon cats talk so much? Maine Coons are talkative cats. They meow and make a variety of other vocalizations to communicate with us. A noisy Maine Coon may be expressing hunger, thirst or pain. On the other hand, it could just be craving some attention.

Why Do Maine Coon Cats Talk So Much? Tabby Maine Coon meowing

Why do Maine Coons chirp?

Maine Coons chirp to communicate with their owners. A Maine Coon chirps to say hello, it’s hungry, it wants its litter box cleaned, or it is just lonely. Chirping and trilling is a happy and affectionate way in which your Maine Coon talks to you.

These tuneful sounds are used by mother cats to communicate with their kittens. Our Maine Coons sound like they are rolling the letter R, a bit like a “rrrruh” sound which ascends and descends in pitch. 

If your cat makes a noise like this it might be excited, happy, want to show you something or want you to follow it somewhere, maybe to the kitchen to let it out or for food.

I hear my cats make trilling noises at one another before engaging in a play fight. One will appear and trill, the other will approach and trill back.

They might then give each other a little lick on the head and then roll about on the floor together, much like kittens might. Sometimes this gets a little out of hand and growl and a nip at each other.

Why Are Maine Coons So Vocal?

There is a wide variety of Maine Coon sounds. These cats will meow, chirrup, and trill with some persistence until they win your attention. Though they are often vocal, Maine Coon cats are not annoyingly noisy or loud.

Maine Coons talk to communicate. 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 mine then.

Along with their meow, they make a wide range of sounds that include: ‘rrrrrrrr‘, ‘mrrrrr’, ‘ow’, ‘mow’, ‘mow-wow’,  ‘eh’, ‘e’, ‘meh’ and often a very musical purr.

Do you know that cats, including Maine Coons, can make far more different sounds than any other household pet? They are chatty 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:

The Meow

This really is spelled as it sounds (onomatopoeia we call it) and it is the classic vocal we all associate with cats. Some Maine Coons have very clear meows, often surprisingly high-pitched for their size.

Now, ask yourself, “Have I ever heard cats meowing to each other?” Your answer should be, “No,” because this is the sound they use almost exclusively to communicate with people.

You will rarely hear an adult cat meow for any other reason. Kittens meow at their mothers and in a wild environment, this communication ceases when they separate from her.

Because we generally adopt kittens before this meowing stage is over, they continue to meow at us like they would their mothers. As we find this sound endearing and respond to it, most cats will continue to meow at us throughout their lives.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Maine Coon meowing

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

This meow means 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.

I often hear this desperate meow from our cat Harry when I’ve just stepped into the shower, having made the error of closing the bathroom door.

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 ‘give me some attention’ meow

This happens whenever I settle onto the couch with my laptop or am concentrating on something on 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.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Maine Coon on keyboard

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. 

Our Maine Coons

Rather than just talk about it – let us show you what we mean! The below is from our YouTube channel:

Other meows and noises

If your Maine Coon is meowing and it’s not obvious that it’s for any of the reasons above, it could be feeling unwell or have an injury. Check it for signs of a physical problem and keep an eye out for any deterioration in its health. Take a trip to the vets if you’re in any doubt. 

Also, speaking from experience, older Maine Coons seem to meow a bit more. This may be bought on by anxiety. One of ours does it to be lifted up to the kitchen tap for a drink even though he has fresh water in his drinking bowl. It’s as if he’s lost his confidence in his ability to jump up on to high surfaces.

Occasionally you might hear incessant meowing from your Maine Coon. This may occur if you don’t react to its first meows quickly enough. It can also mean your cat has sustained an injury so make sure you don’t just ignore it.

If a meow is more drawn out, it may be because your Maine Coon feels irritated by something – the reason might not be obvious but you should try to establish the reason.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Maine Coon yawning

Yowling

Cats yowl for many reasons. These include:

  • As a means of communicating with each other.
  • If they are worried, in pain or feeling ill.
  • Older cats sometimes yowl if they are suffering from cognitive issues such as not remembering where they are on waking up in the night,  or if they start to lose their senses such as sight or hearing.
  • Being moved to a new environment, such as a new house where it misses its old territory.
  • 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.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? White Maine Coon yawning

Purring

Purring is traditionally linked with a happy cat. There’s nothing more satisfying than a contented cat purring loudly on your lap. Purrs can be gentle and low and, if your cat is ecstatically happy, they can seem manic or even tuneful, varying between high and low pitches.

Be aware that there are rare times when purring occurs for a reason other than feeling ecstatic. Some experts believe that a cat can’t help but purr when it is agitated or worried about something, almost like an uncontrollable reflex.

You could compare this to how we have a nervous reaction where we try to pretend that something is not upsetting us when actually it is.

Signs that your Maine Coon is not purring with pleasure include a tense, unrelaxed stance. If this happens, try to establish the source of your cat’s worry.

For example, it could actually be purring because you have picked it up when it just wants to be left alone.

Cats are known to purr when they are hungry too. One of ours lays on my chest and purrs like an engine first thing every morning. It’s hard to go back to sleep in this situation and he knows this will get me up to feed him!

Finally, purring may also be a cat’s way of comforting itself. For example, when a cat is recovering from an illness it can be caught purring when no one is nearby.

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 is stay close by 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.

In order to make this sound, its mouth is held slightly open. Its jaw also opens and closes quickly at the same time. This noise is thought to be a sign of excitement partnered with the stress of not being able to get at the object of its desire.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Cat on a bird box

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 bring them a favorite toy but when I hear this noise it’s always a creature they have just caught in the garden.

If your Maine Coon brings you a small animal, remember it is genuinely trying to please you by bringing it to you, so act happy about it. Say thank you, make a fuss of your cat and then distract it away from the area so you can dispose of the “gift”.

Hissing and spitting

A Maine Coon’s hiss can be quite chilling and is a sure warning to cease what you’re doing. A hiss means your cat feels threatened and will fight if necessary.

Quite often a hiss is accompanied by puffed out fur, an arched back, and a display of teeth. If it’s not aimed at you, remove the source (dog or another cat?) as quickly and carefully as possible.

It’s extremely rare for a happy, domesticated Maine Coon to behave in this manner unless provoked.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Maine Coon eyes shut and yawning

Growling

A cat’s growl is usually accompanied with hissing and snarling. Generally, it makes these noises when another cat enters its territory.

Our cats do this at other cats through a window and it’s perfectly natural behavior so you shouldn’t interfere or your cat could turn its anger towards you.

In this situation, I try to lock the catflap to prevent a face-to-face confrontation occurring. 

If you find your cat having a confrontation with another cat outside, or involved in a fight, be very careful as you may be injured if you try to step in.

It’s better to squirt water or throw some from a distance and hope this separates them. Try not to let your cat see you throw the water as it may hold it against you.

Caterwauling

This is the classic female mating call that is very similar to yowling. It sounds something like a drawn-out, throaty “ahh-roo-uhuhh-roo”.

If you have not had your female Maine Coon spayed, she may try anything she can to escape from the house for a rendezvous with a male cat. You will probably find plenty of these loitering close by at this particular time,  responding with their own yowling.

Screaming

Female cats often scream during mating. It is also common to hear cats scream during a fight. Having females spayed and males neutered can obviously help to prevent either of these situations from arising.

Two particular noises my Maine Coons 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’. 

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Two maine coon cats

Changes to Your Cats 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 vocal along with sneezing, coughing, and ear infections. Again a trip to your vet for 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 cats 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 too 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.

Why Do Maine Coons Talk So Much? Maine Coo teeth

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.

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.

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Jane

Hi. I'm Jane Pettitt and I co-own petsKB with my husband, Matt. I've always been crazy about animals and have shared my whole life with cats, We currently live with 4 gorgeous Maine Coons and have 25 years of experience with this breed. There's not much we can't tell you about them. We've also owned dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, mice, and tortoises. All of our articles draw on the extensive pet knowledge base we've built up throughout our lives as pet lovers.

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