Cats are quite unique; each having its own personality, quirks, and ticks. Sadly, no matter how much you adore your cat, there’s a slight language barrier.
You probably know by now your cat’s different meows; there’s one for when she’s hungry, and then there’s the all-too-familiar meow when she wants to play.
But what about that meow she utters when she has a toy in her mouth? What is that indicative of, exactly? Stick around to find out.
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10 Reasons Why Your Cat Meows with a Toy in Her Mouth
Here are the top 10 reasons behind your cat’s behavior. Let’s take a look.
1. To Signal Her Accomplishments
Almost all cats meow when they catch something. It’s associated with their hunting instinct. Their meowing is also a way for them to signal those around them that they’ve caught something tasty.
Your cat is naturally showing off and bragging about her prize catch of the day. In return, she’s hoping you’ll praise her for all her hard work.
The next time your cat brings you her “catch” of the day, take stock of the fact that she’s calling your attention to what she’s accomplished. All she wants from you is some praise, along with some hard-earned snuggles and cuddles.
2. Feeling Bored
Cats crave companionship, which the toy can be a stand-in for. So, when you hear your feline friend meowing with a toy in her mouth, you can assume that she’s carrying on a conversation with her toy to occupy herself. It's a way for her to kill her boredom, especially if there are no other animal companions.
You can help your cat stop feeling bored and lonely. Try to talk and play with your cat more often.
When your cat holds her toy in her mouth and meows at the same time, it could be a sign of anxiety. Track your cat’s behavior. Is she doing this randomly during all hours of the day or only when she’s feeling stressed and anxious?
4. Feeling Insecure
Your cat’s meowing could be because she’s feeling insecure. Try to find the reason behind her insecurities. It could be you introduced a new animal companion or you’ve moved to a new place.
5. Teaching You How to Hunt
Your cat comes from a family of mighty hunters. In fact, they’re one of the best hunters in all the animal kingdom.
On the other hand, we humans are terrible at hunting. What we’re trying to say is that it could be that your cat is trying to teach you how to hunt.
6. Playing Fetch
Because cats are amazing hunters, they love to play all types of fetch and interactive play. This is why you’ll often see your cat chasing after random things and catching them.
This is why your cat catches her toy and comes to you meowing. It could be she’s showing off her prize or her fetching abilities.
It’s worth mentioning that wand toys are a great choice. Laser pointers, however, are extremely frustrating for cats.
7. Calling for Entertainment
Cats are curious animals. Sometimes all they need is to have their interests and curiosities honed. Try to vary the types of toys as well as the types of play. Experiment with different activities to make sure your kitty is happy and content!
A good idea is to rotate her toys, climbing structures, and games every week. Then, every once in a while, buy her a new toy to satiate her natural sense of curiosity and keep her entertained.
Some good ideas include:
- Soft squirrel toy that you can fill with catnip
- Bouncing mouse cat toy that hangs on any door handle
- Sparkle fish cat toy with plastic crinkle sounds and vibrant metallic colors
- Stingray launcher comes with an elastic loop so you can fling it through the air
8. Maternal/Paternal Instincts
When both male and female cats meow when they’re carrying something in their mouth, it can be a sign of maternal/paternal instincts. This is even true if they’ve never had kittens of their own.
In the wild, this is how cats call their kittens when they’ve just captured something. So, it could be a throwback to one of those natural intuitions felines are born with.
One way to put a stop to this is to get your cat neutered. Spaying also reduces the risk of infections and cancer by more than 60%.
9. Lack of Training
One reason for your cat’s behavior could be a lack of proper training. So, if your cat meows while carrying her toys in her mouth, it could be because she doesn’t know any better. If this is the case, then it’s time to train her the right way.
If your cat is doing this behavior at odd hours during the night, try the following. This training technique will help teach her when’s the right time to “hunt” and when it’s not.
Another benefit of training your cat is to keep her entertained and not bored or lonely.
- Don’t take whatever your cat’s offering.
- Don’t pay attention to her in any way.
- The next day, play with her for a good 10 to 15 minutes, feed her, then play some more
10. Giving You a Gift
Like we already mentioned, your cat’s meowing could be to announce that she wants you to be proud of her accomplishments. Not only that, but she’s probably giving you her catch as a gift.
Our advice is to thank your little hunter. Pet her, rub her neck and ears, and give her a nice cuddle. They’re positive reinforcements to show her that she’s done a good job and that you’re proud of her.
Cats tend to vocalize only with their babies, their sexual partners, and their rivals. They have this innate ability to change the pattern, intensity, and volume of her meows. This way, they can convey a wide variety of intentions to other cats.
Yet, this happens mainly in the wild, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). So, since your cat has no one else to talk to besides you, she’ll gladly share all her communications with you.
The Importance of Play
The activities you do with your kitty aren't just all fun and games. They’re an important part of her physical and mental development. As soon as she’s a few days old, kittens begin discovering the world around them through play.
By playing a variety of games, your cat is learning everything she needs to know about hunting. Starting from the stalking to the chasing, your cat is slowly becoming the mighty hunter she was born to be.
Cats enjoy playtime more when they go through the complete play sequence. So, what happens when any of the stages, like pouncing or catching, are eliminated? Your cat will become annoyed, disappointed, and even angry.
While all the stages are important, it’s the chase that these felines love the most! They can’t get enough of it.
As a matter of fact, cats are known to torture their prey. Yet, to them, it’s their way of satisfying their natural killer impulses.
So, when they catch their prey, they toss it in their paws a couple of times. Then, they release their injured victim and wait until they’re nearby but out of sight. This is when their sense of anticipation and excitement really sets in.
You should try to hide your cat’s toy behind a chair or sofa for several seconds. Make sure you make some scurrying sounds to give your kitty that feel-good experience she loves so much.
Choosing the Best Cat Toys
Have you ever bought a toy for your cat only to have her completely ignore it? This is because cats’ hunting instincts fall into three distinct prey categories: rodents, birds, and bugs. According to the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, identifying what type of prey your cat prefers is important when choosing the ideal toy.
So, how do you know which one your cat prefers? One way is to set up several activities around your home. Use toys you already have or choose objects that move like any of the three types of prey. The one that keeps your cat occupied the most is the one that she loves the most.
Another idea is to hide all the toys for about 20 to 30 seconds. Bring out one type of toy for a few seconds to see how your cat reacts.
Then, hide it again before bringing out the second type of prey. Go through them one by one and see which one gets your cat’s attention the most.
Here’s a quick rundown of each type of prey and the best toy that matches it.
Does your cat like to stalk and pounce across the floor, even at small treats? Then, that means she craves hunting insects and bugs.
The best toys that mimic insects are those that move in a circular motion. Others are charged via USB to give a low-jumping movement that imitates grasshoppers.
All these choices are easy to manage and your cat can enjoy playing with them even when you’re not home.
Some even have a catnip tower in the center to add more excitement and fun.
How about feathers, faux fur, and other flowy objects? When you move one across the floor, does your cat stop and take notice? If yes, that means your kitty prefers birds as her primary prey.
Then, there’s the collection of stuffed animals, balls, and other objects. Try moving one of these items across the floor and keep an eye on your cat’s reaction. Does she run after it or sit back and do nothing? If it’s the former, then your cat likes to hunt mostly mice and other rodents.
Boy, Pixie and Mary's Story
Boy, Pixie and Mary all had their favorite toys and they were never far from their favorites. They were usually the simplest of items that cost next to nothing.
Mary's favorite toy was a small brown stuffed mouse (filled with catnip) that squeaked when she played with it.
For Boy, it did not matter. He would gift you anything that was handy. it could be his glove, a towel or even dirty clothes. Boy had no problem dropping my husband's dirty socks at my feet.
Pixie's favorite toy is her stuffed fish and it pretty much goes everywhere with her. I spend most weekday mornings at my desk in my office. There isn't a day that goes by that Pixie does not bring her fish into the office howling the whole way from the living room to the office.
Once I leave the office and go back to the living room, Pixie brings her fish back out and climbs up next to me. There are a number of reasons cats carry their toys around and meow.
From what I have observed, the cat is gifting their owners their favorite items...whether it be a cute toy or a dirty sweatshirt. Yes, Boy gifted a sweatshirt more than once and was very vocal about it.
We hope the 10 reasons we mentioned above help you answer the question: why does my cat meow with a toy in her mouth? It’s more common than you think. Still, you should keep an eye on your cat for a while to see which of these reasons are the underlying factor.
In the meantime, make sure that your cat gets at least two or three interactive play sessions that include pouncing, chasing, and stalking various objects. Choose toys that keep your cat fully engaged and allow her to go through the full sequence in order.
Then, when you’ve lined up the right type of toys, wait and watch. Your kitty will have the time of her life going in for the “kill” and fulfilling all her natural predator instincts.