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Why Don’t Maine Coon Cats Meow?

Maine Coon cats have a wide vocabulary and they are happy to demonstrate this at every opportunity. There is a common belief that Maine Coons don’t meow. As an owner of four of these fabulous cats, I’d like to shed some light on this rumor. Is it true or not?

The good news is Maine Coons do meow. However, Maine Coons don’t meow all the time because they have a whole repertoire of other vocalizations to use. When a Maine Coon is not meowing, it is chirruping, trilling, chirping, and chattering to communicate with humans and other cats.

A cream Maine Coon meowing.

Some Maine Coon sounds are easy to interpret but with others, you need to evaluate the whole scenario to translate your cat’s meaning.

Why Maine Coon cats don’t meow

Maine Coons, like all cats, don’t meow at other cats once they become adults. Kittens and mother cats communicate with meows but this generally stops once kittens mature.

Instead of meowing at each other to communicate, cats tend to trill and chirp.

The reason cats meow at humans is because they have noticed it’s a sound we react to. As kittens, they still meow to us like they would their mothers and we react.

A Maine Coon kitten mews and we interact with it, either by talking back, providing food, playing with it, or petting it. Cats are clever, they remember these reactions and use meowing to invoke them.

A tortoiseshell Maine Coon with her front paws crossed.

7 Reasons why Maine Coons don’t meow

Certain conditions can cause us to lose our voices and the same is true of Maine Coons.

Maine Coon cats can lose their voice so if your Maine Coon suddenly stops meowing or making other sounds, here are 7 reasons why:

1. Upper respiratory tract infection

If your Maine Coon is suddenly unable to meow and this is accompanied by sneezing, a cough, noisy breathing, and difficulty swallowing, they may have an upper respiratory tract infection.

This can lead to laryngitis, an inflammation of the larynx (voice box), which results in an inability to meow properly.

If your Maine Coons seems otherwise well, a little TLC should set it on the road to recovery. Otherwise, a trip to the vet is a must for a proper diagnosis. If it’s a bacterial infection, antibiotics will clear it up.

2. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a term meaning overactive thyroid glands, a condition that usually affects older Maine Coons but sometimes younger ones.

If your cat’s meow is suddenly hoarse, and it’s losing weight yet still eating well, take it to the vet for blood tests.

3. Throat or vocal cord growths

Maine coons can develop growths in their throats and on their vocal cords. These are often benign tumors or polyps but occasionally may be malignant.

Along with the loss of its usual meows, other symptoms are different vocal sounds, coughing, sneezing, and ear infections.

To be safe, take your cat to the vet for a thorough examination.

4. Autoimmune disease

Autoimmune disease causes a Maine Coon’s own white blood cells to attack its nerves, causing damage.

If the nerves that control the vocal cords and larynx are damaged, they are unable to send nerve impulses correctly telling these to make sounds.

A cream Maine Coon meowing in a box.

5. Muscle strain

Your Maine Coon’s vocal cords are a muscle. If for any reason it overuses them they can become strained and this results in voice change or loss.

This reason for a lack of meowing can be overcome by resting the vocal cords.

An example of a cause of strained vocal cords is if your cat gets trapped somewhere and meows loudly to be freed for a long period of time.

6. Psychological disorders

Emotional upsets have been known to make a Maine Coon stop meowing. In this case, try to determine what is distressing your otherwise healthy cat.

Older cats can develop cognitive problems. Though these often result in excessive vocalization, they can also lead to anxiety and selective mutism.

7. Trauma

An injury to the vocal cords could be the reason behind a Maine Coons reticence to meow as usual. An example of this is swallowing something large or sharp.

In a multi-pet household, there’s a possibility that rough play or a fight with a furry housemate has caused some damage.

If you suspect this, especially if your Maine Coon is distressed, take it straight to the vet.

Does a Maine Coon cat meow?

A Maine Coon does meow but it also uses other sounds a lot of the time. If you are ever amidst a group of cats, you’ll witness them trilling as a method of communication.

If you ask a group of owners if their Maine Coons meow, you’ll get varying answers because all cats are different.

Though some will tell you their Maine Coons don’t meow, this breed is perfectly capable of meowing.

Do Maine Coons meow a lot?

Some Maine Coons meow a lot and some just don’t. We currently have four and the amount they meow varies from day to day.

In my experience, Maine Coons meow for 5 main reasons:

  • To be fed
  • To be let in or out of an area
  • If they are trapped behind a closed door
  • If they are trying to locate you
  • To announce their arrival in a room

Some Maine Coons meow in response to your voice, as if answering you. So if you always chat back when your Maine Coons meows, the chances are when you talk to it, it will talk back.

Are Maine Coon cats quiet?

Maine Coons are quiet cats a lot of the time. If a Maine Coon is exploring, playing, eating or resting the noise you are most likely to hear is purring.

Yes, Maine Coons are vocal but not all day long. So if your cat exhibits long spells of quietness and it’s not ill, don’t worry, this is perfectly normal behavior.

Maine Coons tend to react to interaction from you and may break a quiet spell if you talk to them – in this situation some can’t resist chatting back.

A red tabby Maine Coon kitten on a staircase.

Are all Maine Coons vocal?

Not all Maine Coons are vocal but when they are it’s because they need something. If you meet all of your cat’s needs without it making a noise, it might tend to be quieter.

Maine Coons tend to be at their most vocal if they want food, and then some are louder than others.

Why don’t Maine Coon cats meow? Conclusion

Contrary to some beliefs, Maine Coons can meow, do meow, but some just don’t meow that much.

If we had entitled this article, “Are Maine Coons noisy?” instead of, “Why don’t Maine Coons meow,” the answer would be yes and the sounds they are capable of emitting include meows, trills, chirps, and chirrups.

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